Green Bay Packers: 8 Potential Sleepers to Watch for in Training Camp
Every year it seems as though a few players seem to make a splash during the summer and surprise us in training camp.
Training camp for the Packers is starting up and it's time for players seeking for new roles or on the roster bubble to step up and show the coaching staff what they've got.
No one truly knows how training camp will go, but there are some players who might just surprise big time.
Tori Gurley, WR
Last year during offseason practices, Gurley made a name for himself by blocking multiple punts in practice. A former UDFA, he used his 6'4" frame and college special teams experience to do that.
The Packers are prematurely expected to keep six receivers, with Gurley and fellow 2011 UDFAs Diondre Borel and Shaky Smithson in the lead and rookie free agent Dale Moss trailing after that.
The sixth receiver figures to play primarily on special teams, so don't be surprised if Gurley's punt-blocking prowess earns him a roster spot.
Marc Tyler, RB
A former 5-star recruit at USC, Tyler never lived up to the expectations of others coming out of high school.
Tyler is slow for a running back but got signed as a free agent this summer after going undrafted despite his high-profile name.
While Tyler isn't a great running back by any means, he should get a chance to crack the 53, as the Packers don't exactly have a great group of running backs.
He's off to a bad start, though, as fellow rookie free agent Du'ane Bennett reportedly showed more strength and athleticism than Tyler in offseason practices, according to Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel.
Dezman Moses, OLB
In one of the most surprising developments of the summer, Moses, a UDFA out of Tulane, was working with the first-team defense by the end of minicamp at right outside linebacker (when Clay Matthews was resting).
Moses reportedly showed an impressive first step and was labeled by the Green Bay coaches as a natural pass-rusher, according to Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel.
He's not overly athletic, but if he can get to the quarterback and continue during training camp what he started in OTAs, Moses should have the inside track to a roster spot.
Andrew Datko, T
A seventh-round pick, Datko likely would've been an early-round selection had he not dealt with injuries during his final year of college.
Though not particularly strong, Datko is a solid, smart tackle who looks to be about the fourth or fifth tackle on the depth chart.
Working in Datko's favor is the uncertainty ahead of him. Bryan Bulaga is locked in as the starting right tackle, but incumbent starter Marshall Newhouse was plagued with inconsistency and 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod is currently injured.
If things break the right way for Datko, he could be the third tackle on the depth chart if Sherrod is unable to recover in time and lands on the PUP list.
Davon House, CB
House was selected in the fourth round of the 2011 draft as a height-weight-speed prospect hailing from New Mexico State.
House was buried on the depth chart the whole season because of the shortened offseason due to the lockout and an early injury that never gave him the chance to showcase his skills.
Fast forward a year and House has a shot at major playing time.
Tramon Williams is still recovering from a nerve injury and Charles Woodson figures to see at least a little more playing time at safety after the releases of Nick Collins and Charlie Peprah. House will also be competing for the No. 3 job at cornerback.
Don't be surprised if House wins over the coaching staff with his preseason play and plays a big role during the season.
D.J. Smith, MLB
With news of Desmond Bishop failing his physical (h/t Tom Silverstein, the Journal Sentinel) and being placed on the non-football injury list, Smith becomes that much more intriguing.
Smith already showed well in a few spot starts last season, and you can expect to see him roll with the first-team defense as the direct backup to Bishop until we know more about Bishop's injury.
The other starting inside linebacker, A.J. Hawk, makes few impact plays and had a rough season last year.
So not only will Smith see valuable first-team reps, but he sees them next to the person he could be pushing for snaps during midseason.
While Hawk has the bigger contract, the coaching staff should soon see that Smith is the better talent.
M.D. Jennings/Jerron McMillian, S
OK, so maybe it's nine players. But both of these guys are competing for one spot, so it works out in the end.
Jennings was getting first-team reps during OTAs and minicamp and seems penciled into the starting job now that Charlie Peprah has been released. The former UDFA has gotten stronger and was impressive.
McMillian is a fourth-round pick out of Maine and an athletic beast who ran a 4.35 at his pro day but seems to be relegated to the No. 3 safety role for his first season.
Still, anything is possible now that it's a two-man competition for the starting strong safety job.
These two safeties aren't the most well-known players on the Packers' roster, but they're battling for a starting job.
Nic Cooper, FB
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn thinks that Cooper, an undrafted running back converted into a fullback, is a potential challenger to John Kuhn.
While that may be a bit far-fetched, Kuhn failed his physical and it seems as if Cooper will get plenty of snaps at fullback to open training camp.
The Packers like Cooper's athleticism for a fullback and will likely attempt to stash him on the practice squad.
He's one to keep an eye on in case Kuhn's injury keeps him out a while.
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