5 Undrafted Free Agents in Best Position to Make Packers' Roster
It happens just about every year in Green Bay with the Packers, especially since Ted Thompson has been running the front office starting in 2005. I'm talking about at least one undrafted rookie making the team.
The list is fairly long. Current members of the Packers who joined the Packers that way include cornerback Tramon Williams (2005), long snapper Brett Goode (2008), punter Tim Masthay (2010), cornerback Sam Shields (2010), linebacker Jamari Lattimore (2011), offensive lineman Don Barclay (2012), tight end Brandon Bostick (2012), wide receiver Jarrett Boykin (2012), safety Sean Richardson (2012), linebacker Andy Mulumba (2013), tight end Jake Stoneburner (2013) guard Lane Taylor (2013) and wide receiver Myles White (2013).
It's hard to say whether or not an undrafted rookie can make a team just based on scouting reports and tape. You also have to see the player in person, especially during training camp.
For instance, I kept my eye on Barclay in 2012, and I knew he had a real good chance of making the final roster of the Packers, which is exactly what happened.
Now it's time to look at the undrafted rookie class for 2014. Again, it's hard to say for sure whether a player has a chance to make the final roster currently based on what certain scouts say and looking at game tape but right now that's all we have to work with.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a nice piece about the 2014 undrafted rookie class for the Packers recently.
Based on the information I have to work with, I'm going to list the five players in this slideshow who I believe have a chance to make the final roster of the Packers, or at the very least the practice squad.
Some of these players will have one other undrafted rookie as their main competition to make the squad. I will list them in the appropriate slides as well.
Linebacker Adrian Hubbard (Alabama)
Weight: 257 pounds
It was a bit of a shock to see outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard of Alabama go undrafted. CBSSports.com for instance, had Hubbard rated as a possible fifth-round pick.
We later learned that the reason Hubbard did not get drafted was because of a minor heart abnormality that Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote about in this piece.
Hubbard had a nice career at Alabama, as he had 83 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles.
The former two-year starter for the Crimson Tide plays the run exceptionally well and has pass rush ability. He also has pretty good speed (4.69) for his size, which he showed at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The biggest competition that Hubbard will face among the undrafted rookies is from outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott of Toledo. The 6'3", 240-pound Elliott put up some pretty nice numbers his senior year at Toledo.
Linebacker Jake Doughty (Utah State)
Weight: 233 pounds
The Packers surprisingly didn't draft an inside linebacker in the 2014 NFL draft, but they did sign a couple of undrafted rookies who can play the position. One of whom is Jake Doughty of Utah State.
Doughty had a nice career at Utah State, where current Wisconsin Badger head coach Gary Andersen was his coach for three years. Doughty had 305 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
The former Aggie was named MVP in Utah State's win over Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl.
Doughty is very smart, as he was a four-time all-conference academic selection. He's also pretty fast, as he ran a 4.56 40 at his pro day.
Doughty's main competition from the undrafted rookie class will come from Joe Thomas of South Carolina State. Thomas was a tackling machine, as he had 272 tackles, 31 tackles for a loss, 11.5 sacks, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Guard John Fullington (Washington State)
Weight: 308 pounds
There always seems to be at least one undrafted rookie offensive lineman which makes the final roster of the Packers the past couple of years. In 2012, it was Don Barclay. In 2013, it was Lane Taylor.
In 2014, it could be John Fullington of Washington State. Fullington started as a true freshman for the Cougars and ended up starting in 43 straight games.
Like many of the offensive linemen the Packers look at in the draft, Fullington is versatile, as he had 27 starts at guard and 16 starts at tackle.
Fullington's biggest competition from the undrafted rookie class will come from guard Jordan McCray of Central Florida. The 6'3", 325-pound McCray is strong and is exceptional in run-blocking.
Safety Tanner Miller (Iowa)
Weight: 212 pounds
At the safety position last season, the Packers saw their safeties have too many missed tackles. Worse than that, the safeties also had way too may blown assignments that led to big passing plays.
That's why it's important to have someone in the secondary making sure that everyone knows what their duties are for a given play.
That's why someone like safety Tanner Miller of Iowa would have a chance to make the final roster of the Packers, or at least the practice squad. If nothing else, Miller would be a good guy to have in the film room.
Why? He's very smart, as his Wonderlic score of 25 would attest to. Miller did not have a bad career at Iowa either with his smarts, where he played with current Packer Micah Hyde for three years.
In the last three seasons with the Hawkeyes, Miller had 215 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, seven interceptions (one for a touchdown), 13 passes defended and three forced fumbles.
Miller ran a 4.59 40 at his pro day.
Running Back Rajion Neal (Tennessee)
Weight: 220 pounds
The Packers are extremely deep at running back. Right now the depth chart has Eddie Lacy, James Starks, DuJuan Harris, Johnathan Franklin and Michael Hill stacked at the position there.
It would take a monumental effort by an undrafted rookie running back to make the team based on the depth at the position. Still, one never knows about when injuries may occur or if the team might consider trading one of the backs. Any skills on special teams can also help.
Plus, there is always the chance to make the practice squad. That is why the Packers will give a running back like Rajion Neal of Tennessee a good look.
Neal had a nice career at Tennessee, as he had 2,163 yards rushing (4.9 average) and 19 touchdowns. Neal is also a very good receiver, as he had 66 receptions for 626 yards and five more touchdowns. Neal also returned kickoffs for a brief time his freshman year with the Volunteers.
Neal's main competition will come from fellow undrafted rookie running back LaDarius Perkins of Mississippi State. The 5'7", 195-pound Perkins also put up some nice numbers in the SEC, as he rushed for 2,554 yards, had 714 receiving yards and 25 total touchdowns.
Perkins also returned both kickoffs and punts for the Bulldogs.
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