There once was a big, strong Packers running back who donned No. 42.
He had speed and power, and he even blocked well. What was his name? It was John Brockington.
Fast forward 36 years, and once again, the Packers have a big, strong, and fast running back wearing No. 42. What is his name? It's Deshawn Wynn.
His resume is beyond impressive.
Averaging 2,000+ yards rushing and 30 touchdowns during his last two years of high school, Wynn was a Parade All-American and was rated as a top-five running back.
As a freshman at Florida, he scored seven touchdowns and averaged nearly five yards per carry. Some scouts actually compared him to Emmitt Smith and Fred Taylor.
At 230 pounds, he squatted over 600 pounds, better than most college linemen.
Twice, he lead the Gators in rushing and capped off his college career with a good performance versus Ohio State, helping the Gators win the national championship.
Yet, in the 2007 NFL draft, he was still there in the seventh round when Packers GM Ted Thompson picked him.
How could such a talent drop so far? Many scouts labeled him as injury prone and lazy.
And it appeared that those pundits were correct. Despite occasional flashes of brilliance, Wynn was often injured and appeared to be soft.
After yet another injury in midseason of 2007, the Packers gave up on him and placed him on injured reserve.
In 2008 training camp, Wynn missed substantial time with a "bad stomach." The Packers again gave up on him and released him.
With his NFL career hanging in the balance, Wynn accepted an offer from the Packers to join the practice squad.
After having been a high school All-American and leading the NCAA national champions in rushing, suddenly, he was "Rudy," but without the movie rights.
Apparently, at this point, the proverbial "light bulb" turned on for Wynn.
Wynn impressed Packer coaches with his hard work on the practice squad.
When injuries hurt the Packers' running back corps in midseason in 2008, Wynn was re-signed to the active roster.
He has looked like an entirely different player ever since.
With an impressive ability to pick up the blitz from his tailback spot, he started earning playing time late last season. He then ended the season on a high note by notching his first career 100-yard rushing game in the season finale.
But, many still wondered which Wynn they would see during the 2009 Training Camp.
So far, he hasn't disappointed. After his playing weight ballooned to 245 pounds as a rookie, Wynn reported this season at 228 pounds.
Whereas his body looked soft as a rookie, it looks cut and big as a third-year player.
After the first week of camp, Wynn has drawn rave reviews from Packer players and coaches. "Great job of changing his body", said starting tailback Ryan Grant. Coach Mike McCarthy has also commented on the improved play.
Though currently third on the depth chart, Wynn may be the most talented all-around running back on the roster. He breaks more tackles and is a better receiver than Ryan Grant. He is a better blocker and more powerful runner than Brandon Jackson.
It is now all up to him. With a great first week of camp under his belt, it is clear Wynn has the talent to see playing time on the field for the Packers this season. With his versatility, he can give Grant a rest, and the Packers wouldn't lose much ability from their running back position.
If Wynn can stay healthy and maintain his hard work ethic, like Rudy, his story can have a happy ending. And nobody would benefit more than the Packers.
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