Tyler Davis is the forgotten man in Green Bay’s tight end room

Tyler Davis is the forgotten man in the Green Bay Packers’ tight end room, in part due to his season-ending knee injury in the first preseason game last year. The Packers also return three second-year players at the position, all of whom had impressive rookie seasons and should continue to improve in their second year.

However, no one should overlook the impact Davis can have this season. One of the team’s weaker areas last season was the bottom of the tight end depth chart after Luke Musgrave missed five games with a kidney injury sustained during the Week 11 game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Green Bay received subpar results from others trying to fill the void, including undrafted free agent Henry Pearson, a FB/TE hybrid, and former third-round pick Josiah Deguara, who is now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jacksonville drafted Tyler Davis in the sixth round of the 2020 draft out of Georgia Tech, and the Packers signed him off waivers shortly after the start of the 2021 season. However, Davis was unable to play a major role on offense outside of the 1-2 duo of Marcedes Lewis and Robert Tonyan. Still, he managed four receptions on five targets for 35 total yards in 14 games. Last year, Davis’ receiving stats were almost identical to his 2021 stats: four receptions on seven targets for 26 yards and a fumble.

Davis wasn’t a team leader in any category, but he was able to stay on the field. He played in every game after joining the Packers until his unfortunate preseason knee injury in 2023. Given the lack of depth last season following Luke Musgrave’s injury and Tucker Kraft missing all OTAs and minicamp due to a torn pectoral muscle, the Packers need a reliable option outside of Ben Sims. Davis totaled 121 and 174 offensive snaps in 2021 and 2022, respectively — not bad as a team’s fourth option. His familiarity with Green Bay’s playbook and scheme makes him an immediate option to take on a larger role on offense at any time.

Davis made his mark on this team by playing a key role on special teams. In Davis’ first two seasons with the Green and Gold, he played a lot of snaps on all five special teams. In the 2021 season, Davis played 232 snaps on special teams, which is 64% of all snaps on the team. That number increased significantly in 2022, when he played 344 snaps on special teams, which is 81% of all snaps and makes him the No. 1 player on the team.

He was so important to the unit that special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said losing Davis would significantly impact the unit’s success. “I feel like we lost our right-hand man in some ways, you know?”

Bisaccia mentioned that Davis is an exceptional special teams player due to his ability to play multiple positions. He has all the core elements – the body type, running ability and tackling ability (double-digit tackles on teams in 2022) – of a successful special teamer. With the kickoff rules changing in 2024, having a trusted and reliable player out there will be crucial to keep points off the board and win the battle for field position.

While Green Bay’s two best tight ends, Kraft and Musgrave, are undoubtedly willing blockers, I don’t think anyone would mistake them for a modern-day Marcedes Lewis. This leaves Green Bay without a clear blocking tight end. The Packers have long valued tight ends who can contribute as blockers and have traditionally always had a “blocking” tight end on the roster.

During Lewis’ five years in Green Bay, he was often used as a sixth offensive lineman, and running packages were developed to fit that formation. While Davis is no Lewis, he is a more experienced and effective blocker than any of the other three tight ends currently on the roster. When the draft came and went without the Packers adding anyone of note to the roster (other than the undrafted Messiah Swinson), I thought that was going to be Davis’ role on offense.

It’s no secret that Green Bay struggled in the run game last season when everyone but Aaron Jones was carrying the ball, largely due to the blockage in the forward defense and open running lanes. Putting someone like Davis back on the field as a lead H-back or tight end in those situations instead of Deguara and Pearson can only help.

Davis could potentially be a valuable player for the Green Bay Packers in 2024. As a reliable blocker, key special teamer, and experienced player in this system, he is a great resource for Matt LaFleur’s team. He also has a team-friendly contract that costs the Packers just over $1 million.

As he continues to develop and carve out his role on the team, Packers fans should keep an eye on him as a surprise key player. If he can reach his full potential, he will give Green Bay one of the best tight end rosters in the NFL and help stabilize a shaky special teams unit. He could be a missing piece of the puzzle in an already dangerous offense.