Packers Annual Checkup: TE Ryan Taylor
Today is the 47th day of FOX Sports Wisconsin Packers writer Paul Imig's offseason evaluations of every player on Green Bay's roster. Click here for all of Paul's previous evaluations and come back every day through mid-March for Paul's in-depth film and statistical analysis. Coming up soon:
Saturday, March 16: G Greg Van Roten
Sunday, March 17: TE D.J. Williams
Monday, March 18: CB Tramon Williams
Tuesday, March 19: DL C.J. Wilson
Wednesday, March 20: DL Jerel Worthy
Thursday, March 21: OLB Frank Zombo
RYAN TAYLOR, TIGHT END / SPECIAL TEAMS
Season stats: 18 games (16 regular season, two postseason); 143 offensive snaps; two targets, two catches, 11 yards, zero touchdowns, zero dropped passes; one QB hurry allowed as pass-blocker; seven tackles on special teams, two missed tackles on special teams
Best game: Week 13 win over Minnesota (six offensive snaps, one special teams tackle; 1.1 PFF offense rating; 0.5 PFF special teams rating)
Worst game: Week 4 win over New Orleans (nine offensive snaps; one special teams missed tackle; minus-0.4 PFF offense rating; minus-0.4 PFF special teams rating)
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 0.9 offense; 0.0 special teams
Expectations at the start of the season: Low
Expectations were ... Met
Looking live: Taylor, a seventh-round pick out of North Carolina in 2011, was not a part of the Packers' active roster the past two seasons for his offensive skills. After playing just 32 snaps as a rookie, Taylor was only up to 143 snaps last season (11.3 percent). Catching three passes in two NFL seasons is a pretty clear sign Taylor isn't going to develop into the next Rob Gronkowski. But that's not Taylor's role in Green Bay, and those aren't the expectations for him. Every team needs dependable role players, and Taylor has fit that bill. He was a solid special teams player, finishing seventh on the team in tackles. As a tight end, the Packers have plenty of players at that position who can catch passes. When Taylor -- whose 143 snaps was by far the least of anyone in that group -- was on the field, 75 percent of the time it was as a run blocker.
Upon further review: Taylor is a hard-working player who fits the Packers model. His aggressive attitude is welcomed on special teams, even though it did cost him $21,000 last season. It was during the Week 9 game against Arizona that Taylor dished out one of the most punishing blocks of the year. The Lambeau Field crowd reacted with cheers, but there were also a few appropriate groans as replays showed what looked like a player being absolutely flattened. Taylor brings that no-nonsense, physical approach to the field. The question going forward will be, how many years will the Packers hang onto Taylor if the team feels he'll never contribute much on offense? It's unlikely that part of his game will develop enough to compete with the likes of Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams.
Overall 2012 grade: C
Status for 2013: 95 percent chance of being on the Packers' Week 1 active roster. Given the depth at tight end, Green Bay's decision on whether Taylor makes the team again will come down to his impact on special teams. Taylor has been good in that area, which is why it's a near certainty that he'll be back next season, especially with a cheap $555,000 salary for 2013 and two years left on his rookie contract.
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