The Green Bay Packers are adding some more competition to their tight end room for the 2022 offseason.
According to the NFL’s transaction wire, the Packers claimed third-year tight end Eli Wolf off the waivers from the Indianapolis Colts on May 12 and waived wide receiver Chris Blair to clear the necessary space on their 90-man offseason roster.
Wolf spent the majority of the 2021 season on the Colts’ practice squad and signed a reserve/future contract with the team back in January, but his standing on their roster was put into jeopardy when they added two more tight ends — third-rounder Jelani Woods and sixth-rounder Andrew Ogletree — during the 2022 NFL draft. Now, he will try his luck at making things work in Green Bay with OTAs starting at the end of May.
Prior to his stint in Indianapolis, Wolf was also with the Baltimore Ravens for his first 15 months in the league. He signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia in 2020 and played his first — and only — preseason game last summer against the New Orleans Saints, catching both of his targets for nine yards.
As for the now-released Blair, he held a spot on the Packers’ practice squad for the majority of the 2021 season, but he was passed over for multiple game-day elevation opportunities in favor of Juwann Winfree. The former Alcorn State standout only saw action in Green Bay’s preseason opener and was unable to catch either of his targets.
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Can Wolf Become More Than a Camp Body?
The Packers already had six more experienced tight ends on their roster before claiming Wolf off the waivers, so it would seem likely they view him as more of a camp body who can help them get through offseason workouts and training camp than someone who will contend for a spot on their active roster next season. If Wolf wants to change that perception, though, it is possible he can do so with his blocking ability.
Wolf, who is 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds, showed he could be an adept blocking tight end during his final collegiate season at Georgia in 2019 when he helped former teammate D’Andre Swift rush for a career-high 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns. He also possesses the speed to quickly take his blocking beyond the first level, which he showed when he ran a 4.43 hand-timed 40-yard dash time prior to the 2020 NFL draft.
Right now, the Packers count on Marcedes Lewis and Dominique Dafney as their blocking tight ends, but the latter struggled with injuries in 2021 and could be in danger of losing his roster spot if he has an underwhelming 2022 offseason with the team. Wolf will also be competing for attention with Tyler Davis — who the Packers signed off the Colts’ practice squad during the 2021 regular season — and Alize Mack.
The good news for the bottom-roster guys is that the Packers are most likely going to take things easy with Robert Tonyan Jr. and Lewis leading up to the regular season. Tonyan is still recovering from an ACL tear he sustained on October 28 in Week 8’s win over the Arizona Cardinals and might not even be ready for the start of the season. Meanwhile, Lewis has typically followed a veteran-rest schedule for practices and isn’t expected to hog a ton of the reps from the younger guys trying to make it.