Last off-season, the Green Bay Packers opted to not re-sign tight end Jared Cook after a strong finish to the year, instead going for free agent tight end Martellus Bennett to give Aaron Rodgers a potentially elite red zone threat. That plan backfired as Bennett would go on to be released by the Packers due to a shoulder injury that ended up not being as serious as Bennett claimed. Without Bennett, the Packers were left thin at tight end, with only Richard Rodgers and Lance Kendricks getting regular playing time.
With the addition of Jimmy Graham this off-season, the Packers addressed that need at tight end. But with the coinciding departure of Richard Rodgers, that leaves the Packers relatively thin at tight end should Graham suffer an injury. To add depth, the Packers should seriously consider drafting Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli in the mid-rounds.
Troy Fumagalli Could Add Tight End Depth to the Green Bay Packers
Fumagalli was one of the best tight ends in the entire nation in his time at Wisconsin. For his career, Fumagalli recorded 135 receptions for 1,627 yards and seven touchdowns. While those numbers don’t exactly pop out, Fumagalli didn’t see consistent playing time until his junior season, where he broke out with 47 receptions for 580 yards in a run-heavy Wisconsin offense. Last season, he saw his numbers dip to 46 receptions for 547 yards, albeit in one less game of action.
He was the most reliable target for quarterback Alex Hornibrook last season and excelled as a run-blocker for freshman phenom Jonathan Taylor. Fumagalli uses his physicality and large frame (he stands at 6’6″ and weighs 248 pounds) to get open and rarely drops passes, even though he’s missing his index finger on his left hand. His lack of athleticism is concerning, but he makes up for it with his competitive nature and his physicality.
Fumagalli Could Learn Behind Veteran Jimmy Graham
The Packers, in an attempt to add a marquee free agent, signed Graham in the off-season. Since being drafted 95th overall in 2010, Graham has been one of the best tight ends in the NFL. In eight seasons, Graham has recorded 556 receptions for 6,800 yards and 69 touchdowns. If the Packers take a shot on Fumagalli in the mid-rounds, he would have an excellent mentor to learn behind. Not to mention, he would add much-needed depth to the tight end position as well.
Graham was a mid-round draft pick back in 2010 and developed into one of the best tight ends in the NFL during his time with the New Orleans Saints. Graham and Fumagalli have similar builds (Graham is 6’7″, 260 pounds) that allow them to play physical styles of football and give them an advantage against smaller defensive backs and linebackers who might try to cover them. With the right amount of development, there is a possibility Fumagalli could have similar success to Graham in the NFL.
Troy Fumagalli College Statistics and Awards
Career Statistics at Wisconsin (four seasons):
- Receiving yards: 1,627 yards
- Receiving Touchdowns: seven touchdowns
- Receptions: 135 receptions
- Big Ten Tight End Of The Year (2017)
- First-team All-Big Ten (2017)
- Second-team All-Big Ten (2016)
- Cotton Bowl Classic MVP (2016)
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