Luke Musgrave

Packers Activate Two Rookies Off IR, Place S Rudy Ford On IR

The Packers have made a series of transactions ahead of their fateful Week 18 matchup against the division rival Bears. Green Bay opted to bring in some rookie reinforcements, activating tight end Luke Musgrave and running back Emanuel Wilson off injured reserve, while placing safety Rudy Ford on IR. The additional roster spot for the activations will come from the team waiving cornerback David Long. Lastly, wide receiver Grant DuBose will be elevated from the practice squad as a standard gameday callup.

Musgrave, the Packers’ second-round selection out of Oregon State, still leads Packers tight ends in receiving despite having missed the past six games. In his absence, fellow rookie, and third-round pick, Tucker Kraft has successfully picked up his production. Now, with the season on the line, having both available provides quarterback Jordan Love with two strong targets at tight end.

Wilson, an undrafted rookie out of Fort Valley State, was forced into a bigger role than expected this year after injuries in the running backs room. Aaron Jones has returned to the field in a big way in recent weeks, but with backup AJ Dillon out, Wilson could once again be stepping into a bigger role, should he play.

Ford earned a bit of a bigger role in 2023 after reeling in three interceptions during his first year in Green Bay. In nine starts this year, Ford leads the team with two interceptions. The Packers had developed a nice rotation to work Ford and the other starting safeties, Jonathan Owens and Darnell Savage, on the field. With Ford out for the remainder of the season, Green Bay may have to dedicate Owens and Savage a bit more to their safety positions and rely on linebackers to fill the role of that missing rotation.

Long was claimed off waivers from the Panthers a month ago and has yet to take a defensive snap for the Packers, solely appearing on special teams. This is the first gameday elevation for DuBose. The seventh-round rookie out of Charlotte may have a chance to make his NFL debut tomorrow.

Packers Designate TE Luke Musgrave For Return

Among the brigade of first- or second-year Packers pass catchers, Luke Musgrave has seen his rookie year stalled due to a lacerated kidney. But it does not look like the Packers view it as a season-ending injury.

Green Bay designated Musgrave for return Thursday, The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman tweets. Musgrave is not expected to be activated in time for the Packers’ Week 16 game, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Silverstein, but the second-round pick is on the way back to close out his rookie year.

Musgrave’s Week 11 injury required a hospital trip. While he was soon released, the Oregon State product needed extensive rehab time. Prior to going down, Musgrave had operated as the Packers’ top tight end. Fellow Day 2 rookie Tucker Kraft has worked in that capacity in the games since. In 10 games this season, Musgrave has 33 receptions for 341 yards and a touchdown.

The Packers drafted Musgrave with the second-round pick they received from the Jets in the Aaron Rodgers trade (No. 42 overall). Part of a deep tight end draft class, Musgrave entered the NFL after having missed most of his senior season with the Beavers due to a knee injury. Musgrave became a rather interesting prospect as a result; his 341 yards this season eclipse any of his college totals. But the Packers put him to work early, letting Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis rejoin ex-assistant Luke Getsy in Chicago.

Jordan Love has shown progress during the season’s second half, forming connections with the Pack’s high number of young wide receivers. All six of Green Bay’s wideouts are in their first or second seasons; all three of its tight ends (Musgrave, Kraft, Ben Sims) are rookies. It will be interesting to see how this group develops, and Musgrave (signed through 2026) is a key component of that plan.

Packers Place TE Luke Musgrave On IR, Sign RB James Robinson From Practice Squad

In a skill-position group flooded with first- and second-year performers, Luke Musgrave has operated as one of the cadre’s starters. The Packers will not be able to continue the rookie tight end’s development for a while, however.

The team moved Musgrave to IR on Wednesday, shutting him down until at least Week 16. This comes after Musgrave needed to be hospitalized for an abdominal injury sustained during the Packers’ win over the Chargers.

Released from the hospital, Musgrave will still need extensive recovery time. He did not leave the game due to the injury, but Matt LaFleur called the issue a “scary situation.” This adds to Musgrave’s run of injuries this season. After suffering a concussion in October, the second-round pick left a Week 7 game due to an ankle injury.

Avoiding moves for veteran pass catchers post-Aaron Rodgers, the Packers drafted two tight ends and three wide receivers. The team paired its batch of rookie weapons with NFL sophomores Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure. Chosen with the pick obtained from the Jets in the Rodgers trade (No. 42 overall), Musgrave has started nine games. He has caught 33 passes for 341 yards and a touchdown, playing 71% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps. Third-round pick Tucker Kraft stands to see more work now. A South Dakota State alum, Kraft has five receptions for 43 yards this season.

In addition to the Musgrave move, the Packers placed running back Emanuel Wilson on IR. A rookie UDFA, Wilson had resided as Green Bay’s third-stringer behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. The Pack will enter their Thanksgiving game without Jones as well. The standout back suffered an MCL sprain. This will leave Dillon atop the depth chart, with the recently reacquired (via the Patriots’ practice squad) Patrick Taylor in place as a backup.

The Packers will add James Robinson as more insurance. Rather than being a mere gameday elevation, the former Jaguars 1,000-yard rusher is now on the Packers’ 53-man roster. The former UDFA sensation’s career has not been the same since he suffered an Achilles tear late in his second season. Robinson has been with three teams — the Patriots, Giants and Packers — this year. The Jets nontendered Robinson as an RFA in March; he caught on with the Packers last month.

Green Bay also signed wideout Bo Melton from their P-squad and used gameday elevations on fullback Henry Pearson and safety Benny Sapp III ahead of their Lions tilt.

Injury Updates: Lions, Garoppolo, Giants

The Lions suffered a lopsided defeat against the Ravens on Sunday, but plenty of attention after the game was paid to rookie running back Mohamed Ibrahim after he exited the contest as a result of an awkward collision.

The 25-year-old Baltimore native was injured on a kick return – his first touch of the ball in his NFL career. He was placed on a stretcher before being carted off the field. Ibrahim immediately underwent surgery to repair his dislocated hip and he will remain in hospital overnight, as detailed by Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Head coach Dan Campbell said Ibrahim is expected to be OK as a result of the procedure, but he obviously encountered an unfortunate situation and will now face an unwanted recovery process. The Minnesota alum’s absence could be acutely felt on the RB depth chart given the Lions are already without veteran David Montgomery for the time being.

Here are some other injury updates from around the league:

  • The Raiders used both veteran Brian Hoyer and rookie Aidan O’Connell in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday in a game where the offense struggled en route to a loss to the Bears. The latter has already missed a pair of games in his debut season in Vegas, but a quick turnaround from his back ailment should be forthcoming. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Garoppolo is expected to be available for the Raiders’ next game, a Monday night tilt against the Lions in Week 8. The veteran hasn’t had the start to his tenure in Sin City that he would have wanted, so pressure will be on he and the team whenever he is cleared to return.
  • Still dealing with a number of injuries on offense, the Giants pulled off a win against the Commanders in Week 7, and a boost along the offensive line could be on the way. The team is eyeing a return for left tackle Andrew Thomas next week, Schefter reports. Such a development would mark an end to a six-game absence for the former first-round pick, something which has exacerbated injury and performance issues elsewhere along the O-line for the Giants. Thomas (who has been battling a hamstring issue) signed a five-year, $117.5MM extension in July, confirming his status as a franchise cornerstone for the foreseeable future, so his return will be welcomed.
  • Returning to injuries from today’s action, Packers tight end Luke Musgrave was in a walking boot as he left the locker room, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes. The second-round rookie was wearing it on his left foot, and testing on it will be worth watching in the coming days. Musgrave is one of many first- or second-year pass-catchers in place for Green Bay, a team which has struggled recently on offense. The Oregon State alum has personally carved out a role for himself, though, receiving 16 targets in the three games leading up to Week 7 and another five in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos. Musgrave has totaled 189 scoreless yards to date in his debut season, and any absence would be felt amongst the other inexperienced options available at the TE spot.

Luke Musgrave Likely To Open Season As Packers’ TE1

The Packers’ tight end depth chart is presently topped by two rookies, Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. Per Matt Schneidman of The Athletic (subscription required), Musgrave is likely to start the season as Green Bay’s TE1.

Given that Musgrave was a second-round choice while Kraft was a third-round selection, that does not come as much of a surprise. What is perhaps more notable is the fact that the Packers are apparently content to open the year with two raw talents, particularly since the blocking acumen of both players is currently unknown.

A quality blocking TE is a key component of head coach Matt LaFleur‘s offense, which is why the team continued to employ Marcedes Lewis — one of the game’s best blockers at the tight end position — during LaFleur’s four-year tenure in Green Bay. Lewis, 39, has expressed a desire to become the first tight end to play an 18th season, but the Packers are not expected to re-sign him, Perhaps the club’s views in that regard will change if Musgrave and Kraft should struggle to find their footing as blockers.

What both players definitely have is pass-catching upside and elite athleticism. As Schneidman notes, the Packers have not had an uber-athlete at tight end since Jermichael Finley was in the prime of his career, and with a bevy of talented but unproven youngsters at the top of the wide receiver depth chart, Musgrave and Kraft will have an opportunity to make their mark in the passing game right away.

Musgrave, an Oregon State product, did not deliver prolific stats with the Beavers, with his 304 receiving yards in 2021 representing his best single-season mark. But an early-season knee injury cut his senior year short, and he impressed at the Senior Bowl. ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rated him as this year’s No. 31 overall prospect.

Kraft, meanwhile, put up terrific numbers in his final collegiate season, though that came against FCS competition, The South Dakota State alum caught 65 balls for 780 yards and six TDs en route to consensus FCS All-American and All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors.

In addition to ushering in the Jordan Love era at quarterback and parting ways (presumbaly) with Lewis, the Packers also bid adieu to tight end Robert Tonyan and receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb this offseason. The extent to which Green Bay’ youth movement succeeds will have a major impact on the Wisconsin futures of Love and LaFleur in particular.

Packers Sign Round 2 TE Luke Musgrave

The number of unsigned draft picks is dwindling, as teams make their final preparations for training camp. Second-round Packers draftee Luke Musgrave signed his four-year rookie deal Wednesday.

Green Bay chose the Oregon State-developed tight end 42nd overall. This contract follows the Saints’ agreement with No. 40 overall pick Isaiah Foskey, with New Orleans’ terms breaking some ice for players chosen in the middle of the second round. As second-rounders keep making guarantee inroads, their respective negotiations have become more complicated.

The Panthers guaranteed three first three years of No. 39 pick Jonathan Mingo‘s deal, with additional guarantees in Year 4. Foskey and Musgrave’s agents undoubtedly pushed for the same terms. It is not yet known if either received them, but both are now signed. Musgrave will be expected to vie for immediate playing time, given the Packers’ tight end situation.

Green Bay let Robert Tonyan sign with Chicago in March, and Marcedes Lewis remains a free agent. A four-year Packers starter who remains one of the game’s best blocking tight ends, Lewis has said he wants to become the first tight end to play an 18th season. The Packers are not expected to re-sign him, opening the door for Musgrave and third-rounder Tucker Kraft as rookies.

The nephew of veteran NFL assistant Bill Musgrave, Luke Musgrave played four seasons with the Beavers. He was the fourth tight end selected this year, behind Dalton Kincaid, Sam LaPorta and Michael Mayer. Musgrave did not deliver prolific stats at the Pac-12 school, topping out at 304 receiving yards in a season (2021). But an early-season knee injury cut his senior year short.

ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rated Musgrave, who impressed at the Senior Bowl, as this year’s No. 31 overall prospect. The Packers saw enough from the small sample size — receiving-wise, at least — to make the 6-foot-5 pass catcher a key component of their first Jordan Love-directed offense. As of now, Love will be targeting a host of first- and second-year players, with Tonyan, Lewis, Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb out of the picture.

Dolphins Notes: Draft, Trades, TEs, Hill

With only four picks in this year’s draft (and none in the top 50), the Dolphins have received less attention than many other teams in the build-up to next week’s event. They, like their counterparts, have continued to do their homework on positions of need, however.

That includes taking a look at several tight end options, as detailed by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins have met with Georgia alum Darnell Washington, who has been one of the more popular prospects at the position and is likely to be off the board by the time Miami is on the clock at No. 51. Other options they have looked into include Tucker Kraft (South Dakota State), Sam LaPorta (Iowa), Brenton Strange (Penn State) and Luke Musgrave (Oregon State). The Dolphins are in need of a Mike Gesicki replacement after the veteran had a underwhelming 2022 campaign and departed in free agency.

Another spot which is receiving plenty of attention, per Jackson, is the interior offensive line. Miami has “given serious thought” to drafting a guard, and the position will be a target for undrafted free agents as well. The Dolphins’ o-line faces questions heading into the 2023 season, but Austin Jackson‘s future appears to remain at right tackle. Keeping him at that spot would create the need for at least a depth addition or two along the interior this spring.

Here are some other notes out of South Beach:

  • Given their lack of draft capital, the Dolphins would not represent a strong candidate to trade up. However, a number of teams have called them to discuss the possibility of moving into the first round, as noted (on Twitter) by Outkick’s Armando Salguero. With the Dolphins only owning one third-round pick in 2023 after No. 51, along with one sixth- and seventh-rounder, a package including 2024 picks would be needed for such a scenario to take place. As a result, it remains unlikely at this point that Miami will be involved on Day 1 next week.
  • Part of the reason the team is short on picks, of course, is the price they paid for Tyreek Hill. The four-time All-Pro wideout signed a four-year, $120MM deal upon his arrival in Miami, something which was driven in large part by the changes in the position’s market. As Hill recently acknowledged on a podcast appearance on Sports Radio 810 WHB, the lucrative nature of Christian Kirk‘s Jaguars pact (four years, $72MM) influenced his asking price. “He signed the deal and like he surpassed me, and I’m like, bro, I compete on the field, and I also compete on the business out of this, too,” Hill said. “So, I’m not going to let Christian Kirk have a higher contract than me. I’m just not” (h/t Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams).
  • Given their situation with only four picks, Miami is in line to be active on the UDFA market following the draft. As Jackson writes, the team could be eyeing a kicker addition to serve as competition during OTAs and training camp. Jason Sanders as been in place as the team’s kicker since being drafted in 2018, and has remained consistent from short and medium range during his tenure. Sanders has gone just 2-for-6 on kicks of 50 or more yards in each of the past two campaigns, however, which could open the door to a strong-legged rookie making an impact in the summer.

NFL Draft Rumors: Richardson, TEs, Wright

Every year come draft time there are prospects that divide scouts and analysts. Never has that been more apt than this year with Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson. We reported this dichotomy back when Richardson first announced his intentions in December, and nearly four months later, teams are still torn.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler went on NFL on ESPN to discuss first-round quarterbacks and the conversation eventually fell to Richardson. Fowler reported that he’s never seen “a bigger variance leaguewide on a feeling about a” quarterback, saying that while some talent evaluators have him as a first-round talent, others (sometimes on the same team) aren’t thinking to look for him until the fourth round.

Fowler believes that Richardson is a bit of a project who will need to find a situation in the NFL where he can sit for a year and develop but notes an NFL executive who calls Richardson a combination of Cam Newton and Justin Fields. Quoting NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 asserts that some teams have Richardson as the second-best quarterback on the board. I’ve personally seen a mock draft by Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports that has the Bears trading Fields and taking Richardson at No. 1 overall.

All this to reiterate sentiments from our breakdown of his initial draft announcement. Teams are evaluating Richardson off of 13 games of film of the one-year starter in Gainesville. That single season saw him complete only 54.2% of his passes for 2,631 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He added 680 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 115 rush attempts. He went 6-7 as a starter for the Gators. The college stats aren’t great, but there’s so little to work with that scouts are still betting on the potential he held as a four-star recruit coming out of high school.

Last year, experts predicted as many as four quarterbacks would be taken in the first round. Only Kenny Pickett actually heard his name on Day 1 of the draft. Evaluators are equally bullheaded this year on quarterbacks going early and often, but with nearly two months until Draft Day, there is still much that we don’t know.

Here are a few other quick notes on upcoming prospects:

  • Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer has long been thought of as the 2023 NFL Draft’s best prospect at the position. Well, according to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, one tight end made a strong case for himself at the Senior Bowl. Oregon State tight end Luke Musgrave made a lasting impression on scouts at the all-star event. Musgrave measured at 6-foot-5 and 255 pounds and impressed with his physicality, speed, route-running, and hands. Breer posits that Musgrave did enough to earn the top spot on position rankings.
  • Another prospect who may be higher than initially thought is Tennessee offensive tackle Darnell Wright. The O-lineman also attended the Senior Bowl with many believing that he had a lot that he still needed to prove. According to Matt Miller of ESPN, Wright may have already done enough. Miller claims Wright is a top-32 prospect and finds it hard to believe that he’ll slip past the first round. The Volunteers didn’t expect to keep the consensus five-star out of West Virginia for all four years and the fact that they did had many thinking Wright is not a first-round talent. An impressive performance at the Senior Bowl and a first-team All-SEC selection in 2022 should prove otherwise as Wright continues to work towards the goal of hearing his name called on the first night of the draft.