May 10, 2008
The Green Bay Packers signed three of their 19 tryout players this past week. RB Justin Beaver was not one of them.
If Beaver makes an NFL team, it will be a story worth telling. The 5-foot-7, 191-pound runningback out of Division III UW-Whitewater is stereotyped as too small to play runningback at the NFL level.
There aren't a lot of jobs around the NFL for backs that size and not many teams are looking at him because of it.
All of his other numbers from Wisconsin's Pro Day, however, match up favorably with the third overall pick in the draft: Darren Mcfadden. Beaver ran everything fast, with the biggest difference in the 40-yard dash where he ran a solid 4.45 to Mcfaddens 4.33.
He had quicker times in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone and the three-cone drill. Beaver's 25 reps of 225 pounds stand out compared to Mcfadden's 13.
"Kind of my whole life I've been given one shot and like I said, that's all I've ever asked for, is one shot. That and my preparation have put me in this spot where all I need is one shot to catch someone's eye. He (Ted Thompson) knows I'm a hard worker and give 110 percent. That's exactly what I'm all about and what I'm going to do. I'm going to try to make it impossible for them to send me home Sunday.”
Unfortunately for Beaver, he was sent home, but he still has Packers’ Head Coach Mike McCarthy pulling for him.
"I would love for him to have an opportunity because he's been impressive," McCarthy said.
Beaver, who rushed for a DIV III record 2,455 yards last season, might be in a better position in two weeks because NFL owners may increase the roster limit to 86 players.
"I have worked extremely hard for the ability that I have and put a lot of effort, a lot of pain, a lot of sweat and a lot of tears into things that I have right now," Beaver said last Thursday.
Here's hoping his work pays off.
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