Packers Linked to ‘Jermichael Finley 2.0’ at Tight End

Getty Could the Green Bay Packers find the next Jermichael Finley at tight end?

With the Green Bay Packers virtually out of playoff contention, sights are being set on the 2023 offseason. General manager Brian Gutekunst will have the opportunity to bring in playmakers at key positions, including tight end.

After suffering their fifth straight loss in Week 9 to the Detroit Lions, the Packers are now 3-6 with a sizable gap between them and the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings. Frustration is starting to boil over to the point that even Green Bay’s receivers are reportedly frustrated with Aaron Rodgers.

With the playoffs almost out of reach, Green Bay’s scouting department is hard at work evaluating college prospects. Despite needs at other positions, Chris Trapasso with CBS Sports thinks that Georgia Bulldogs tight end Darnell Washington could be the key to unlocking Green Bay’s offense in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Not a receiver but a colossal, do-everything tight end for Aaron Rodgers,” Trapasso said after mocking Washington 14th overall to the Packers. “Think Jermichael Finley 2.0.”

That’s high praise for the tight end prospect, but at 6’7″ and 270 pounds, Washington is an imposing piece of Georgia’s offense.

Who Is Darnell Washington?

As one of the largest human beings at the tight end position in college football, it’s easy to see why so many eyes are on Darnell Washington.

Coming out of high school in Las Vegas, it wasn’t clear what position Washington would play at the next level. However, his size and athleticism were evident, making him a 5-star prospect and the second-ranked athlete in the 2020 recruiting class. He drew attention from all of the top schools, particularly in the SEC, but ultimately decided to play for Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs.

Even as a true freshman, Washington was a regular at the tight end position, starting seven games. He’s continued to be a starter ever since, even with the electric Brock Bowers making highlight plays as the other tight end in Georgia’s offense.

Washington’s stats won’t blow anyone away. In 30 career games, Washington has just 36 receptions for 652 yards and a single touchdown. However, where Washington has a significant impact is in the running game, using his size and strength to work like a third offensive tackle on the field.

That kind of versatility would make him a great fit in Green Bay, catching passes from Rodgers while clearing the way in the running game for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.

Remembering Jermichael Finley

He may not have played for a long time, but Finley’s presence on Green Bay’s offense was felt often.

Coming out of Texas, Finley was a third-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, playing all six of his pro years in Green Bay. Along with being a Super Bowl champion, Finley was a playmaking tight end for Rodgers, catching 223 passes for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns over his NFL career.

Unfortunately, Finley’s career was cut short after suffering a serious neck and spinal cord injury. Although he had drawn interest from other teams, failed physicals and limited money kept Finley off of the field ever since that devastating injury occurred.

While Finley is now known as one of the players to often criticize Aaron Rodgers, his playing career is remembered fondly by Packers fans during one of the team’s most impressive offensive eras.

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