Post-spring position review: TE

Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll take a closer look at each of Georgia’s position groups at the end of spring practice. Today we examine the tight ends:

Returning players/stats: Arthur Lynch, Sr. (12 starts, 24 catches, 431 yards, 3 TDs); Jay Rome, So. (one start, 11-151, 2 TDs); Ty Flournoy-Smith, So. (no catches)

Newcomers: Jordan Davis, Fr. (ESPN No. 15 tight end, expected to enroll this summer)

Key storyline: As with Wednesday’s receiver to watch, Chris Conley, Georgia tight ends Lynch and Rome started to play a much larger role in the passing game in the second half of last season once injuries created opportunities for more balls to come their way. Now established in the passing game, Lynch and Rome could build on last season’s 582 combined receiving yards by getting off to a quicker start as receivers this fall.

Breakout candidate: Flournoy-Smith caught the coaching staff’s attention with his pass-catching skills late last season and during the spring. While Lynch and Rome are prototypical tight ends, the 6-foot-3, 237-pound Smith is a “Y” receiver/tight end like former Bulldogs star Orson Charles who can line up in the slot as well as attached to the line and create coverage mismatches against opposing linebackers.

Reviewing 2012: Lynch and Rome proved themselves as blockers from the start, but it took time before they became consistent receiving threats. Although Lynch had two early games with 70-plus receiving yards, he didn’t catch a pass at all in the other four in the first half. Down the stretch, they enjoyed larger receiving roles. Lynch caught three passes in each of the last five games and Rome went from making only two catches in the first eight games to catching at least one pass in five straight games -- including touchdown catches against Georgia Tech and Alabama -- toward the end of the season.

Projecting 2013: Lynch’s 431 receiving yards last season trail only wideout Malcolm Mitchell’s 572 among Georgia’s returning pass catchers. It’s possible that Rome and Flournoy-Smith will eat into that production somewhat this fall, although all three players stand a chance of playing active roles in the Bulldogs’ passing game. If Lynch becomes more consistent with his receiving skills, it would not be a surprise to see the group surpass last season’s totals for the tight ends.