The Green Bay Packers need an infusion of young talent at the tight end position. Robert Tonyan will be back on a one-year deal after suffering a torn ACL last season. The ageless wonder, Marcedes Lewis is back for another go around. Josiah Deguara is entering his third season in the league and is a potential breakout candidate.
If Tonyan is able to regain his 2020 form, the Packers have a formidable trio of tight ends. Even if Tonyan does regain his form, he’s likely not the long-term answer at tight end for the Packers. Green Bay needs to find the team’s long-term playmaker at the tight end position.
A player the Packers could target on day two of the 2022 NFL Draft is Greg Dulcich. The UCLA tight end checks in at No. 18 in the Unpacking Future Packers countdown.
Dulcich arrived at UCLA as a 210-pound walk-on wide receiver. He left UCLA as a 243-pound tight end and will likely be one of the first tight ends off the board in the 2022 NFL draft.
In seven games during the 2020 season, Dulcich recorded 26 receptions for 517 yards and five touchdowns. He proved to be a big-play threat by averaging nearly 20 yards per reception (19.9).
Happy birthday to me!
Here is Greg Dulcich (best TE in the draft) running leak for a touchdown. My official comp for him is a 240 pound squirrel covered in vasoline. pic.twitter.com/Dr2IJbchQo
— Mike (@bengals_sans) April 9, 2022
This past season Dulcich recorded 42 receptions for 725 yards and five touchdowns. Dulcich had 50 or more receiving yards in the last five games of the season.
Dulcich is an outstanding athlete. He showcased his quickness by clocking a 4.69 40-yard dash. He’s a big-play threat, who averaged 18.3 yards per reception over the past two seasons. According to The Athletic’s Dane BruglerDulcich had six catches that went for 30-plus yards this past season.
“Dulcich’s greatest asset is his athleticism, you just can’t coach it,” Jordan Pun, a contributor for Texansunfiltered.com said. “His quick feet help him block in space, separate before and after the catch and he’s got the home run speed to create explosive plays. The tight position is getting more and more athletic, Dulcich fits the bill to perfection.”
Dulcich is a smooth accelerator off the line of scrimmage. He’s able to find the soft spots against zone coverage and makes himself available to the quarterback. He bursts in and out of his breaks to create separation. The former wide receiver has natural hands. He has the speed to threaten the seam.
“He’s quite nuanced as a route runner from his in-line position at UCLA,” Pun said. “Versus man coverage, he understands how to attack his defender’s leverage to set up his break and create separation. Versus zone coverage, he understands rules and responsibilities which allows him to settle in the soft spots and give the QB a throwing window.”
Dulcich is the best YAC threat among tight ends in the 2022 NFL Draft. He catches the ball away from his body and quickly turns upfield. He chews up grass with his long strides. The former walk-on is able to pick up yards after the catch with his quickness and can be a load to take down for defensive backs.
“Many of Dulcich’s best moments have come after the catch,” Pun said. “He is so agile for a man of his size, it reminds me a bit of Travis Kelce. He’s graceful in the open field, making purposeful cuts to evade incoming tacklers.”
Dulcich is still growing as a run blocker. This is a player that has put on 33 pounds since arriving at UCLA. Effort isn’t the issue for Dulcich. The point of attack strength will show up against NFL-caliber players. He was able to get in the way, but unable to drive defenders in any direction to create movement. The effort is there and a team will have to be patient with Dulcich as his ability as a blocker catches up to his pass-catching ability.
“Dulcich was great at positioning himself to shield defenders away from the run,” Pun said. “His athleticism and competitive toughness shined as a blocker, even if he lacked some brute power and consistency to really drive defenders out of their gap. The next step is blocking while keeping his pads down, which will make him more consistent.”
Fit with the Packers
Who will be the starting tight end for the Packers to open the 2023 season? Only Deguara is under contract past this season. The Packers need to add a young playmaker to the tight end room at 1265 Lombardi Avenue.
Greg Dulcich to Green Bay would be nice. pic.twitter.com/dGuJuFCQeB
— Brennen Rupp (@Brennen_Rupp) March 21, 2022
Dulcich is one of the most dynamic tight ends in the 2022 NFL Draft. With Tonyan, Lewis and Deguara on the roster, the Packers could ease Dulcich in during his rookie season and then unleash him the following season.
“I would draft Dulcich because his traits translate to NFL success and he’s a proven productive tight end who can be a versatile weapon,” Pun said. “He’s a competitive blocker and big-play threat who can stretch the field. Dulcich’s best football is ahead of him. The former walk-on, wide receiver turned tight end has shown he’ll do whatever is necessary to help his team win.”
Dulcich is a player that improved each season during his time at UCLA. He’s a dynamic pass-catcher with the ability to create YAC. The UCLA product could provide the Packers with a much-needed playmaker at the tight end position.
Note: The Packers met with Dulcich before the 2022 NFL draft.