12

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Demetrius Harris, TE Milwaukee

Demetrius Harris

Demetrius Harris

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: TE Demetrius Harris

Player Information:

Demetrius Harris, TE UW-Milwaukee
6-7, 240 pounds
Hometown: Jacksonville, AR.

STATS (Basketball)

NFL Combine:

Did not work out at the Combine.
*40 time: 4.45
*Vertical: 37″
*According to CBSSports.com

News and Notes:

Harris looks to be another college basketball player-turned-NFL tight end … Originally signed to play football at Arkansas State out of high school but didn’t meet the academic requirements … After spending time at a community college, Harris decided to focus on basketball before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee … Harris averaged 9.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a senior … He’s spending time at St. Vincent Sports Performance working out with Pro Bowl tight end Dallas Clark … Harris has a pro day set up in Milwaukee on April 20.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com: “As the draft approaches, there is a growing buzz among scouts about Demetrius Harris, who played college basketball at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and whose freakish workouts are generating a following. Harris hasn’t played football since high school, but at 6-foot-7, 241 pounds (he projects to play at around 250), he runs in the 4.45-second range in the 40 and has a 37-inch vertical leap.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • With no on-field video of Harris, it’s impossible to evaluate him on anything besides athletic ability.
  • He’s clearly a fluid athlete; long, fast, quick and agile.
  • Showed good hands, which he apparently showed during his workout with the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Forgiving pass target. Dude is 6’7″ with long arms.
  • Again, it’s hard to judge him as a football player. But he’s certainly an impressive athlete that would merit a look as an undrafted free agent.

If drafted by the Packers:

An interesting prospect with in-state ties, Demetrius Harris could be an intriguing player for the Packers at the conclusion of this year’s draft. Jason La Canfora just wrote a piece over at CBS Sports suggesting Harris has a chance to make it in the NFL.

The absolute earliest he’d be drafted is late in the seventh round. More than likely, he’ll go undrafted before signing with a team to compete for a roster spot in training camp. If that team is the Packers, he would compete with the likes of Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, D.J. Williams and Brandon Bostick behind starter Jermichael Finley. Coming to Green Bay would provide an interesting situation for Harris, as Finley is a former basketball player himself.

7

April

Packers News: Team reportedly adds TE Matthew Mulligan

Packers TE Matthew Mulligan

Packers TE Matthew Mulligan

Tight end Matthew Mulligan agreed to a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers, according to WCSH TV 6 in Portland, Maine.

Mulligan, a four-year veteran out of the University of Maine, played with the St. Louis Rams in 2012 after spending three years with the New York Jets. The Packers, having lost reserve tight end Tom Crabtree to Tampa Bay earlier this offseason, are looking for some depth at the position.

Mulligan was credited with 18 starts the past two years, catching a total of 13 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown over that span.

Behind starter Jermichael Finley, Mulligan will compete for playing time with the likes of Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor and D.J. Williams. If healthy, Quarless is likely the frontrunner to be No. 2 on the depth chart, but he missed the entire 2012 season after tearing his ACL and MCL in December of 2011.

Brandon Bostick, an undrafted free agent from Newberry College, stuck on the team’s practice squad last season after an impressive training camp. Bostick played wide receiver in college and could threaten for a spot on the Packers’ 53-man roster this season.

For depth and special teams purposes, the Packers typically carry multiple tight ends on the roster. Brining Mulligan into the fold is a minor move that could help mask the loss of Crabtree, while adding another capable veteran to a young group of tight ends.

——————

Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

——————

18

March

All Eyes on Jermichael Finley in 2013

Packers TE Jermichael Finley

Packers TE Jermichael Finley

Jermichael Finley carries himself with a swagger; he’s been the “big man on campus” ever since high school.

Before committing to the University of Texas to play tight end, Finley was offered a dual scholarship by the University of Arizona, which would have allowed him to play both basketball and football at the D1 level. But as a freshman at Texas, Finley, then just 205 pounds, redshirted and learned the tight end position behind David Thomas, who is now a backup tight end for the New Orleans Saints.

But when Thomas graduated, an opportunity presented itself for the redshirt freshman Finley. In 2006, Finley caught 31 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns–all three totals set new school records for a freshman tight end.

As a third-year sophomore, Finley improved upon his individual numbers, racking up 45 catches for 575 yards. The Longhorns went 20-6 in Finley’s two years in Austin before the talented tight end decided to declare for the 2008 NFL Draft.

The Green Bay Packers snagged Finley with the No. 91 overall pick, throwing a 21-year-old Finley into a close-knit locker room that was looking to rally around quarterback Aaron Rodgers in his first season as the starter.

But the confident, occasionally outspoken rookie was in for a rude awakening, as he barely touched the field. Incumbent starter Donald Lee was coming off the best season of his career, in which he caught 48 passes for 575 yards and six touchdowns; he remained the starter during Finley’s rookie year.

But in Week 9 in Tennessee, Rodgers called Finley’s number. Facing a fourth-and-one in the first quarter against the then-undefeated Titans, Rodgers went to Finley on a back-shoulder throw.

The two were not on the same page, the pass was incomplete, and the Titans took over on downs. Finley was asked about the play after the game.

“I think he should have led me a little more, well a lot more,” Finley said. “Really, he didn’t throw it good at all, to be honest. He knows my game, coaches know my game. I’m more like a run and jump (receiver). I’m really not no back shoulder or whatever he had going on back there. They just have to know what kind of player I am and use me in that aspect of the game.”

13

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Jordan Reed, TE Florida

TE Jordan Reed

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: TE Jordan Reed

Player Information:

Jordan Reed, RB North Carolina
6-2, 236 pounds
Hometown: New London, CT

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 yard: 4.72

Bench: 16

News and Notes:

Jordan Reed is one of the more interesting prospects when he joined the Florida Gators as a man with no position.  A high school quarterback that lead his team to an undefeated season, the Gators first tried him out at running back where he gained 335 rushing yards on 44 carries (4.4 ypc) in his freshmen year.  He then made the transition to tight end where he lined up everywhere including inline, in the slot and bunch formations.  While Reed offers up an intriguing skill set he also carries much personal baggage that may ultimately cause his draft stock to fall.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • CBSSports.com: “Reed is a fluid and flexible athlete with smooth body control and controlled balance. He flashes WR moves after the catch with quick, elusive feet and deceiving speed to run away from defenders.  Reed shows smooth athleticism in his routes, creating separation with sharp footwork and quick body movements. He has reliable hands and does a nice job holding onto the ball after a big hit, proving his ability and toughness over the middle of the field.”
  • NFL.com: “Used from a variety of spot along the formation: inline tight end, detached tight end, receiver, H-back, and even some running back. Adequate blocker when able to ride the shoulder and drive. Resets and gets after his assignment in the running game if missed the first time. Very smooth in breaks on outside breaking routes. Shines with the ball in hand, makes moves in space like a big running back with agility. Consistently makes oncoming defenders miss with hops, cuts, or speed. Flashes getting physical to earn the first down or extra yard at the end of runs. Good mix of hands catching and letting it into his body against tight coverage.”

 

Video:

 

Video Analysis:

6

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame

Tyler Eifert

Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: TE Tyler Eifert

Player Information:

Tyler Eifert, TE Notre Dame
6-6, 250 pounds
Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN

STATS: College statistics

NFL Combine:

40-yard dash: 4.68 seconds
Bench press: 22 reps
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
Broad jump: 119 inches
3-cone drill: 6.92 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.32 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.52 seconds

News and Notes:

Production was somewhat hurt in 2012 by having a freshman QB and constant double teams. … Still led Notre Dame with 50 catches for 685 yards and four touchdowns to win the Mackey Award as the nation’s top TE. … Caught 63 passes for 803 yards in 2011. … Son of former Purdue basketball player Greg Eifert.

 What they’re saying about him:

  • WalterFootball.com: “Eifert is an NFL-ready pass catcher. He has good speed running down the middle seam with excellent hands. Eifert is fearless leaping in the middle of the field to make tough catches despite knowing that massive hits are coming his direction. He showed real toughness for the Fighting Irish. Eifert is very good on third down to help move the chains. He gains separation on linebackers and is too big for defensive backs. Eifert should be a real contributor in the passing game early in his NFL career..”
  • NFL.com: ”Still growing as a blocker and needs to use better angles. Stronger linebackers will rip off his blocks and ride him off his route when he does not use his hands effectively. Allows throws into his body on occasion, will drop the ball when trying to run before securing.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • I like what I see when Eifert blocks on the second and third levels against smaller linebackers and defensive backs. He doesn’t lunge or whiff often.
  • Blocking DEs/OLBs is a different story. He doesn’t seem to have the size to hold up or the quickness to make reach blocks.
  • I really like what I see on his routes. He’s fast and works well in traffic.
  • I can also see Eifert doing some damage on seam routes against slower LBs and safeties, or even against small slot corners.
  • Uses his height and lanky frame well. Goes up and grabs passes with his hands.
  • His quickness off the line should help him get into his routes early against press coverage.
4

March

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford

TE Zach Ertz

Stanford TE Zach Ertz

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: TE Zach Ertz

Player Information:

Stanford TE Zach Ertz
6-5, 249 pounds
Hometown: Alamo, CA

STATS: College stats

NFL Combine:

40-yard dash: 4.76 seconds
Bench press: 24 reps
Vertical jump: 30.5 inches
Broad jump: 111 inches
3-cone drill: 7.08 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.47 seconds
60-yard shuttle: 11.92 seconds

News and Notes:

Ertz could have left Stanford after his redshirt sophomore season in 2011, but stuck around and was his teams top offensive weapon. … Caught a TD in five straight games to end the 2010 season and start 2011. … Missed three games in 2011 with a knee injury. … All-American in 2012 after catching 69 passes for 898 yards and six touchdowns. … Top tight end recruit in the nation out of Monte Vista High School.

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • NEPatriotsdraft.com: “His ability to be a play-making tight end and stretch the field vertically makes him a very attractive asset to NFL teams. He has sure hands and runs routes with an easiness that is tough to cover. Ertz has the frame and agility to exploit linebackers in man coverage and can always find the soft spot in zone coverage.”
  • CBSSports.com: “Weaknesses: Has done a nice job adding bulk to his frame, but needs to continue to develop his strength to sustain blocks at the line of scrimmage. Will round off some routes at times and needs to better control himself in/out of his breaks. Needs to do a better job coming down with contested throws and will drop some easy ones – seems to have at least one drop each game.”

Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Hate the drop early in the film. Based on everything I’ve read about Ertz, drops were a bit of an issue for him.
  • Not as explosive as he’s hyped up to be, but he’s got a knack for setting into open spots.
  • A willing blocker, but he’ll need to bulk up a bit if he wants to be known for his blocking in the NFL.
  • Seems most comfortable operating out of the slot where he can get some room to operate coming off the line.
  • I don’t know why Notre Dame isn’t jamming him at the line in this video. Ertz seems like a nightmare if he’s allowed to just run untouched to a soft spot in the zone.
2

March

Expect to see Jermichael Finley back with the Pack

Packers TE Jermichael Finley

Packers TE Jermichael Finley

Much has been made about the future of Packers tight end Jermichael Finley in Green Bay.

Finley, 25, is entering the final year of the two-year, $14 million contract he signed last offseason, and those close to the situation have been on both sides of the fence in regards to his return.

Longtime beat writer Bob McGinn wrote in December that the team appeared to be finished with Finley, but after the maligned tight end improved late in the season, ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde suggests it’s nearly impossible to think the team would release him.

Before the team’s bye week, Finley averaged 3.2 catches for just 30.1 yards per game in nine games. After the bye, those numbers improved to 4.5 receptions and 56.5 yards per game.

Finley is due a $3 million roster bonus next month and is owed a total of $8.25 million in 2013. In an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Finley suggested he would consider restructuring his contract but wouldn’t be willing to take a pay cut.

“I’d have to walk for sure, meaning I couldn’t take a pay cut,” Finley said. “Maybe I’d restructure if it’s a deal that I like and it makes sense, but I’m not the guy that’s just going to sign anything and let anything pass. I’m not that guy.”

Finley certainly has a unique way of wording things.

His comments to Anderson can be interpreted several different ways. The negative interpretation suggests that Finley is a me-first player unwilling to back out of a deal that he has yet to live up to. The other side of it is that Finley is willing to restructure his deal in order to remain in Green Bay beyond next season.

Early last season, his comments on the lack of chemistry between he and Aaron Rodgers elicited a similar polarizing response.

“I need the quarterback on my side, and I need to catch the ball when he throws it to me,” Finley said. “It takes two things to get that going. So, the chemistry, I feel like we need to get that going.”

One could read Finley’s quote and immediately rush to the conclusion that he’s publicly calling out his quarterback. On the other hand, Finley accepted accountability to a certain degree, citing the fact that he needed to make the most of his opportunities.