Tight end Jake Stoneburner made the Green Bay Packers' practice squad as an undrafted rookie last year and was promoted to the active roster in October, but he never did much with his opportunities and may not be back in 2014.
Packers tight end Jake Stoneburner played in 10 games last season -- only taking 10 total offensive snaps and catching no passes -- and finished with one special teams tackle, one missed tackle and two penalties.
Jeff Hanisch / USA TODAY Sports
By Paul Imig
FOX Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Looking live: Jake Stoneburner was one of the original nine undrafted players that the Packers signed on May 10, 2013. He was one of four of those undrafted players who eventually made it onto Green Bay's active roster, joining Myles White, Lane Taylor and Andy Mulumba. Stoneburner said at the time that he opted to sign with the Packers over other offers that he had because there was a recent history in Green Bay of undrafted players getting a chance to make the team. Early in training camp, Stoneburner struggled. His hands were the biggest issue, as he was one of only two players to fumble during a ball-security drill on Day 3 of camp and also dropped a couple passes in the first two practices. By the mid-to-late part of training camp, Stoneburner started to come around (at least for a few days). He caught a touchdown pass from Graham Harrell on a nice fade route on Day 15, and, on Day 18, he was recognized in FOXSportsWisconsin.com's Training Camp Report series as a player who had been impressive of late. Unfortunately for Stoneburner, that positive momentum didn't last. He fumbled in the red zone in a preseason game against Seattle and followed it up in practice two days later with two dropped passes from the JUGS machine. FOXSportsWisconsin.com accurately predicted that Stoneburner would not make the active roster out of camp, but it was noted that he would be a good addition to the practice squad.
Upon further review: Stoneburner did in fact make it onto the practice squad to begin the 2013 regular season. It didn't take long for Stoneburner to get his shot though, as he was promoted to the active roster on Oct. 15. "Getting called up, I got really excited," Stoneburner said that day. "Just like, 'Man, I was finally able to do it.' And then today, it was like, 'Oh, I've actually got to go out and perform.'" In his NFL debut, Stoneburner committed a major penalty on special teams, getting flagged for roughing the punter. Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum was upset with the result but not necessarily with Stoneburner's attempt on the play. "He had great effort and great extension," Slocum said. "Jake slid into the punter's plant leg and that's why they called roughing." After Jermichael Finley's season-ending injury, Aaron Rodgers listed Stoneburner among the players who have to "step up." Tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot thought Stoneburner would be able to do just that. "Stoney has actually made some very good progress in the run game," Fontenot said on Oct. 24. "He's been solid in the pass game and it's just really a matter of getting opportunities." However, Stoneburner didn't do enough to earn many in-game opportunities on offense. Not only did he perform poorly on special teams, but Stoneburner was only given 10 snaps on offense all season. With the number of injuries among the tight end group, Stoneburner would have had more chances had he done a better job proving himself in practices.
Status for 2014: Thirty percent chance of being on Green Bay's active roster to begin the 2014 regular season. Andrew Quarless was re-signed this offseason and the Packers are attempting to groom Brandon Bostick to become a major part of the offense. Plus, Ryan Taylor is dependable on special teams, and Green Bay still could add a tight end in the draft or in free agency. That means it will be an uphill battle for Stoneburner to be part of the active roster at the beginning of the 2014 season. He didn't do much to prove that he belonged in 2013, but the Packers have invested one full year in him and would prefer not to give up so early in Stoneburner's development. But, with Stoneburner already turning 25 years old before the 2014 regular season (that's old for a second-year player), Green Bay has to decide whether he's worth the time to continue developing.