5. Robert Tonyan, TE
If you don’t know Robert Tonyan‘s name yet, you better get to know it now. In case you don’t remember, Tonyan had a beautiful 54-yard touchdown grab from Aaron Rodgers against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 11 last season. A former undrafted free agent out of Indiana State, Tonyan is now entering his second year as a pro. As a rookie in 2018, he recorded just four receptions for 77 yards and one touchdown.
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But don’t let those numbers fool you. Tonyan is primed for a huge leap in Year 2 in new head coach Matt LaFleur’s offense. We saw during the preseason how LaFleur’s passing attack worked to scheme open tight ends. And Tonyan is an athletic specimen who effectively serves as an oversized wide receiver.
He’s also improved in his run blocking based on what we saw in training camp and preseason. In fact, he’s probably the most complete tight end on the Packers depth chart, all things considered.
Tonyan may not usurp veteran starter Jimmy Graham, but the snap counts between the two could be closer than we think by midseason. Graham has never been adept at run blocking and he’s another year older. Set to turn 33 years-old in November, Graham will likely serve exclusively as a red zone threat.
The Packers could work to give Tonyan the majority of his reps in between the 20s, perhaps to the tune of 15-20 snaps per game. It’ll be up to Tonyan to take advantage of his opportunities.