Packers Think They "Really Have Something" in Tyler Davis

One under the radar name to keep your eyes on is tight end Tyler Davis, who Brian Gutekunst and the Green Bay Packers are excited about this season.

Prior to the draft, the tight end position is one that I almost expected the Green Bay Packers to address at some point over the three days. The main reason being that, as of now, Josiah Deguara is the only tight end under contract in 2023 and beyond--and as we all know, the draft is about planning ahead.

However, that isn't how things played out. Of course, a big contributing factor to that is likely how the board fell. The Packers simply may have never had the opportunity to select the tight they wanted where the value matched. Another reason could be because of Tyler Davis--yes, Tyler Davis.

Following the draft, Brian Gutekunst was asked about not adding to the tight end position and had this to say:

"TD -- Tyler Davis -- we picked up early in the year, and as his opportunities grew not only in the games but in practice, think we really have something there. So I'm excited about that."

Davis was a 2020 sixth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars after spending three years at UCONN and his final season at Georgia Tech. During his college career, he was targeted 98 times, catching 65% of those attempts at 10.0 yards per catch with eight touchdowns. He spent 41% of his career snaps lined up in-line and 39% from the slot, according to PFF

Last season, Green Bay signed Davis, who had just 40 career NFL snaps, off the Indianapolis practice squad, and he saw his role begin to increase towards the end of the season with Robert Tonyan sidelined and the Packers looking for more steady production at tight end.

Davis was on the field for 132 total offensive snaps in 2021, with 99 of them coming after Week 14, including a season-high 32 snaps against Minnesota and 11 in the playoff game against San Francisco. 

Davis is a willing and high-effort blocker, which we know is an important element to earning more snaps in Matt LaFleur's offense. For what it's worth, he finished the season ranked 17th among all tight ends in PFFs run-blocking grade. 

As a pass-catcher, Davis caught four of his five targets for 35 yards, including a 22-yard reception up the seam against Baltimore. Aaron Rodgers was under pressure and held on to the ball as long as he could before finding Davis, who had a few defenders around him. It may be easy to brush this play off, but it does illustrate that there is at least some level of confidence that Rodgers has in the young tight end.

Davis also finished the season ranked fifth on the team in total special teams snaps and sixth in tackles, so we may continue to see him quite a bit in that role as well. 

Now, of course, these are all small sample sizes, but in addition to the game film, LaFleur and Co. see Davis every day in practice which is also going to be a key contributor at this point to the confidence that the team has in him.

Davis certainly isn't the sole reason that the Green Bay Packers didn't select a tight end in this year's draft. Even if he does contribute, tight end will still be a need in 2023, and Davis is still going to have to earn his playing time over the summer--not to mention once Tonyan returns and the tight end room gets a little bit crowded. 

But every year, there are players who seemingly come out of nowhere and take on much larger roles than expected. This season that player could be Tyler Davis, who brings a well-rounded skill-set to the tight end position.

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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11 points

Comments (19)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
BirdDogUni's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:07 am

That was a pretty slick little seam route, and Tyler plucked that ball nicely. Looking forward to see him progress and maybe becoming a fixture in the offense. I remember seeing it at the time and wondering, "Where has this guy been?"

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PatrickGB's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:59 am

Very small sample size. Yet the accolades from Gutie is encouraging. What I thought was interesting was that they liked his blocking ability. So he may be more of a complete TE and less of an H back like the others not named Lewis. He may take on more of a Tonyan role in the future.

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PeteK's picture

May 06, 2022 at 12:24 pm

I also wonder if Dafney could develop further. It took Tonyan 3 yrs, so there is hope.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 06, 2022 at 06:49 pm

Scrub talk.

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Stroh's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:20 pm

Dabney and Deguara are carbon copies of one another, they are the Hback types, half FB and half TE. That's unique to those 2. Tonyan is the pure reciever. Lewis is the pure blocking TE. Davis is probably more like Tonyan, but may have some Lewis in hum too. We'll see in the coming months.

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mnbadger's picture

May 06, 2022 at 12:35 pm

I love the article Paul, based on statistics not emotions. PFF's top five blocking tight end with hands and willingness is an excellent non-addition to the TE room. Good luck TD, you're bound to be a player. GPG!

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splitpea1's picture

May 06, 2022 at 12:40 pm

Nice attention to detail here. I completely forgot about Davis. It's probably why Gute didn't figure TE was a pressing need this time around, and let's hope he's right. It'll help our offense greatly if Davis can pick up the slack in Tonyan's absence, especially with new receivers aboard.

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Coldworld's picture

May 06, 2022 at 02:50 pm

This is a sentiment that was rumored during the season. They also picked up Alize Mack, who was very productive in college. They may well feel that both, having had time in the NFL, are better prospects than most in the draft at least at this juncture.

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Bure9620's picture

May 07, 2022 at 06:07 am

Yes, I liked Mack coming out of Notre Dame. He is my under the radar player that could really have a shot at the 53 with a strong camp.

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PeteK's picture

May 07, 2022 at 10:32 am

He has moved around from numerous team's practice squads, but unless there is a change in attitude, I don't expect much.

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Coldworld's picture

May 07, 2022 at 11:40 am

Not uncommon with TEs these days. They take time to adapt to the NFL. More time than most positions because of the range of tasks required of them.

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:56 pm

I hope Gutey is right because he had a chance to add athleticism to the group, even from the list of UDFAs. That TE room could look very barren next year if one of the lower guys doesn't ball out and there probably won't be near as much depth in the 2023 class.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 06, 2022 at 07:03 pm

Dafney is what he is! He will never be a move TE like Tonyan. I wish the writer of article had done a deep dive on Davis. I thought somewhere I had read that at one point he was a WR like Tonyan prior to transitioning to TE. Couldn't find anything. However, if that is the case it would explain a lot in terms of his abilities. If no other TE steps up this year be nice for the Packers to resign Tonyan. He is a heck of a player who with the WR situation being the way it is will have a monster year.

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Coldworld's picture

May 06, 2022 at 11:29 pm

He was a QB in high school, moved to TE on arriving at college after seeing a logjam ahead. Graduate transfer from UConn to Georgia Tech in his last year. They we installing a new Offense and used him primarily to block, which hurt his draft status having previously played for a small school. 7.89 RAS, so not a bad athlete. He is a traditional TE, not an H back type like Deguara and Daffney.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 07, 2022 at 05:38 pm

Thx CW!
Always struggle balancing my work life with how much time available for all things Packers.

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WestWi_Packfan's picture

May 06, 2022 at 09:38 pm

After watching replay footage of the Packers playoff game, Davis was wide open on at least a couple routes but Rodgers had tunnel vision on Adams and never gave Tyler a look. This year could be different and Rodgers is better anyway if he spreads the ball around.

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pack69go's picture

May 06, 2022 at 10:03 pm

I agree, Rodgers had extreme "Adams tunnel vision in that game!"

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 07, 2022 at 05:40 pm

Frankly....most games!

Our offense should be better from this regard...defenses can't cheat as much now.

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rempel's picture

May 28, 2022 at 11:32 pm

I'm also curious about Dafney's potential. Tonyan took three years, so there is yet hope.

https://krunkerio.io

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