How Will the Packers Incorporate Both Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft into the Offense? - Sport News

How Will the Packers Incorporate Both Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft into the Offense?

The Green Bay Packers selected two tight ends on day two of the 2023 NFL Draft and after one season, it looks like both players have the potential to be big contributors to the team’s offense.

Second round pick Luke Musgrave played in 11 games while missing six due to a lacerated kidney. Musgrave secured the starting tight end spot after a strong showing at training camp and in the preseason. He caught 34 passes for 352 yards and one touchdown. That tied the Packers franchise rookie record for tight ends set by Bubba Franks back in 2000.

GM Brian Gutekunst selected Tucker Kraft one round after Musgrave. While Musgrave won the job out of training camp, Kraft took over as the starter when Musgrave was injured.

Earlier in the season, Kraft was used primarily as a blocker and rarely was used as a receiver. But when he got his chance later in the season, he showed what he was capable of. Kraft finished his rookie campaign with 31 catches for 355 yards and two touchdowns.

Head coach Matt LaFleur loves to utilize his tight ends in the offense. But one thing we did not see often in the 2023 season was the offense with both tight ends on the field at the same time.

Early in the year, Kraft rarely ran pass patterns. In fact, he was only targeted twice in the team’s first eight games of the year. He caught both passes for five yards with both receptions coming in the team’s blowout Week 4 loss to the Lions.

Later in the season, Musgrave was limited due to his kidney injury. He missed Weeks 12 through 17 before returning to action in the season finale. In that game, he was on a play count and only played nine snaps on offense. He caught one pass on his only target of the game for 11 yards.

While both Musgrave and Kraft have outstanding potential, the two tight ends have different skill sets. Musgrave is more of a downfield threat who can stretch defenses and create mismatches against slower linebackers or smaller safeties. Kraft excels at running after the catch. He was often used by quarterback Jordan Love as a check down receiver when the quarterback was under pressure by blitzing defenders. The former South Dakota State star can easily turn a short pass into a longer gain. His elusiveness is impressive for a man of his size.

So, how will LaFleur utilize both Musgrave and Kraft if both are healthy and in the lineup? Will we see more formations with two tight ends on the field at the same time? That could create mismatches for one or both of the team’s tight ends.

Or will the duo be used to spell each other so that both see plenty of snaps but rarely are they on the field at the same time? This could keep both players fresh and allow both to be on the field at the time that maximizes their abilities.

Both Musgrave and Kraft proved themselves to be willing blockers although neither graded out as better than average. Musgrave had a higher blocking grade than Kraft which could get him on the field in more situations. It’s also possible one or both of the team’s tight ends improve their blocking technique in their second NFL seasons.

LaFleur is excited about the possibility of having both Musgrave and Kraft available at the same time and what that could mean for the offense. In January, when Musgrave was returning to the lineup, he told reporters, “When you have two tight ends that can complement, you’ve got two guys that you’ve seen the growth and development from over the course of the season and both those guys you can use in a variety of ways. It’ll be fun be able to scheme up things for those guys. They both have a little bit different play style, I would say. But I definitely think having those two guys on the field, they can complement one another in a really good way.”

Needless to say, there are lots of exciting possibilities for the offense in 2024 as both players gain more experience and hopefully make a second-year jump. These players will give Love and LaFleur some important weapons in the future.

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