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Tight end Ryan Griffin appears unlikely to provide the Bears with much more production than the average second tight end or role player.

That's OK, because it's exactly what they signed him to do. They acquired tight end James O'Shaughnessy with something similar in mind.

With Cole Kmet improving last year and expected to progress again, the Bears needed second and third tight ends. They decided against bringing back Jimmy Graham, Jesse James, Jesper Horsted and J.P. Holtz after they combined last year to be targeted just 34 times.

More than numbers, Grffin, the third-oldest Bear at 32 years, is expected to provide direction.

"Be dependable but at the same time, challenge a lot of these guys, these young guys who may not know what it takes to win in this league," Griffin said. "I think I can help everybody out here, coaches included.

"I think that's my purpose here on this team. It may change as we move forward, but right now, I'm focused on being the best teammate I can."

The quickest way it would change moving forward would be through injuries.

It's unlikely they'd get much more in terms of receptions or scoring from Griffin than they've had from second tight ends in the past because his level of play has been no greater than second tight end status, except for one season. That came in 2016 when he caught 50 passes with Houston while Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage played quarterback.

However, Griffin can provide all aspects of play required of tight ends, fill-ins or otherwse.

He was graded the 20th best blocker of 70 Pro Football Focus rated last season.

He has been a red zone threat at times, hauling in five TDs in that 2016 season and has 14 for his career.

While coaching in Green Bay, Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy had Marcedes Lewis available as a blocking tight end who could stop up for occasional catches on big downs. This appears to be the role the 6-foot-6, 255-pound Griffin is destined to perform in Chicago.

Overall, Griffin has never been a highly graded tight end by PFF, with only two grades higher than the 50s and none higher than the 67.0 he had as a rookie in 2013.

While Griffin does rate well as a run blocker, O'Shaughnessy's strength appears to be in the passing game but not just as a receiver. He had a 73.7 PFF pass blocking grade in 2021, 14th best in the league among tight ends. This despite being sidelined with ankle and hip injuries.

The former Illinois State and Naperville North player only once since 2016 has failed to attain a PFF grade in the 60s as a receiver and has reached 24 catches or more three of his last four years. Sure-handed with catch percentages in the 70s the last three years, O'Shaughnessy hasn't been able to consistently get downfield. However, he does pull down underneath throws while not being particularly effective in the red zone.

O'Shaughnessy's 34 targets in seven games last year easily rated as his highest pace per game in his five years with the Jaguars and two seasons in Kansas City.

There is little fantasy football face value for either of these two players, but an absence by Cole Kmet for any reason would thrust either into a larger role. In either case, it wouldn't be too big to handle based on past experience.  

Ryan Griffin at a Glance

Career: 10th year, 206 career catches on 316 targets for 2,158 yards and 14 TDs.

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2021: 27 receptions on 42 targets for 261 yards with two TDs.

The Number: 4. Griffin played more than 60% of his team's offensive snaps in four of the last five seasons and hasn't played less than 43% of the snaps since 2014 during his second year.

2022 FanNation Projection for Griffin: 30 targets, 23 receptions, 243 yards, 3 TDs.

James O'Shaughnessy at a Glance

Career: Eighth year, 112 career catches on 166 targets for 1,108 yards and three TDs.

2021: 24 receptions on 34 targets for 244 yards with no TDs.

The Number: 6. O'Shaughnessy made a career-high six catches in his first game paired with QB Trevor Lawrence but was injured in Week 2 and missed eight straight games before returning for 17 catches in five weeks.

2022 FanNation Projection for O'Shaughnessy: 23 targets, 16 receptions, 163 yards, 1 TD.

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