Packers Sign Rams TE Lance Kendricks

The Packers pounced on tight end Lance Kendricks, signing him less than 24 hours after his official release from the Los Angeles Rams on Friday afternoon. 

Kendricks had the most productive statistical season of his career in 2016, notching a career-high 50 catches for 499 yards. He was selected by the Rams in the second round of the 2011 draft, and spent six seasons with the team. 

The Milwaukee native played his college football for the University of Wisconsin. In his senior season with the Badgers, Kendricks and quarterback Scott Tolzien led the team to a narrow loss in the 2011 Rose Bowl to TCU. 

How Kendricks helps the Packers

As a complementary tight end to Martellus Bennett, Kendricks gives the Packers another sturdy blocker and an athletic, dependable threat catching the football.

Kendricks is a solid blocker, whether lined up in the backfield or as an on-line tight end. With the Rams, he regularly lined up on the line, split out as a wide receiver or in the backfield. At 6-3, 250, he's four inches shorter and 25 pounds lighter than new Packers tight end Martellus Bennett, but Kendricks is significantly more athletic. 

At the combine in 2011, Kendricks ran a 4.57 40 yard dash. In Ted Thompson's tenure, here are the tight ends he's selected in the draft alongside their 40 yard dash:

  • Lance Kendricks, 2011: 4.57 seconds
  • D.J. Williams, 2011: 4.59 seconds
  • Kennard Backman, 2015: 4.66 seconds
  • Andrew Quarless, 2010: 4.68 seconds
  • Ryan Taylor, 2011: 4.76 seconds
  • Clark Harris, 2007: 4.80 seconds
  • Jermichael Finley, 2008: 4.82 seconds
  • Richard Rodgers, 2014: 4.87 seconds

After his rookie season, Kendricks became a dependable weapon for Rams quarterbacks Sam Bradford, Nick Foles, Case Keenum and Jared Goff. In his past five seasons, he's caught about 65 percent of the passes targeted towards him. Here's how it in comparison to other familiar names:

  • Martellus Bennett, 2012-2016: 69% catch rate
  • Richard Rodgers, 2014-2016: 67% catch rate
  • Lance Kendricks, 2012-2016: 65% catch rate
  • Jared Cook, 2012-2016: 56% catch rate 

How Mike McCarthy will use Kendricks

His arrival also helps fulfill head coach Mike McCarthy's vision for the offense.

“I’ve talked about it since I got here: The fastest way to the end zone is through the middle of the field,” McCarthy said about the use of tight ends in his offense. “So the bigger target you have going down the field, the better it is for your quarterback, particularly (with players who are) more athletic, (have a) bigger (catch) radius and all of that.”

In an interview posted on the Packers' website, you can almost hear the excitement in Kendricks' voice about the team's offensive potential.

“I played in so many different formations," Kendricks said. "I kind of line up all over the place. I think they’ll find something I’m really good at or a few things I’m really good at and they’ll be able to utilize that and implement that into the system. I think (Bennett and I) both have our own assets. He’s a very good down-the-field catcher. He’s a big target and I can work the seams, as well."