If the Green Bay Packers decide to part ways with tight end Jermichael Finley, the assumption is that GM Ted Thompson would either sign a replacement in free agency or draft one in April. But I’m not so sure about that. I think Finley’s successor, or should I say successors, might already be on the roster.
The more video I watch from the 2010 and 2011 seasons and the more I study my notes from last summer’s training camp, the more I’m starting to believe that the combination of veteran Andrew Quarless and young Brandon Bostick might be the answer at tight end. Let’s call this player Andron Quarlstick.
Quarless missed all of this past season while recovering from a torn ACL suffered in December 2011, but he’s expected to be fully healthy come July. If so, the former Penn State standout would provide the running game with a tight end capable of whipping a defender at the line of scrimmage – something neither Finley nor Tom Crabtree were able to do on a consistent basis in 2012. Quarless did that time after time prior to his injury. He’s also an adequate receiver, but catching passes wouldn’t be his top priority.
That’s where Bostick would come in. The former college wide receiver spent this past season on the practice squad after flashing intriguing raw potential on the practice field last summer. Bostick wasn’t ready for the NFL then, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be ready in six months, but he certainly has the physical skills needed to catch passes at this level. He runs well (4.6), and unlike D.J. Williams, he seems to have a knack for getting open. Bostick dropped some balls, but that might’ve been a result of thinking too much. He made enough difficult catches look easy to make me believe his hands won’t be an issue.
Would it be a gamble to release Finley and rely on a player coming off a serious injury and a player coming off the practice squad? Of course, but remember, the Packers raced to the Super Bowl in 2010 without a major presence at tight end. That offense was able to score plenty of points by running the ball, protecting the quarterback and relying on its three quality wide receivers. That formula could work again.
Plus, it’s not as if the Packers would be bereft of talent at the position should Finley be sent packing next month. Besides Quarless and Bostick, youngsters Crabtree, Williams and Ryan Taylor would still be around. And the draft is loaded with interesting tight ends who figure to be available on days two and three.