Green Bay Packers 2017 Undrafted Rookies

Every year the Green Bay Packers seem to find a hidden treasure from their undrafted rookies. This year there are 15 players who didn’t hear their names called in the draft, who will fight to become the next Sam Shields, Kentrell Brice, or Geronimo Allison. One or two of these players may make the opening day roster, and we know several will make the practice squad.

Here are the players I believe have the best chance to succeed:

 

CB David Rivers III – Youngstown State

Rivers possesses great size for a CB (6’2” 185 lbs) which allows him to fit in with Dom Capers scheme. He has good short area quickness and smooth hips. He transitions well out of his backpedal. Rivers also does a good job of locating the ball and times his pass breakups well.

He was not drafted because he’s a slower CB (40 yard dash was in the mid-4.5s) and did not create turnovers in college. He will also need to improve his physicality in the run game. Rivers faces an uphill battle to make the roster in a very deep secondary, but I think he has a good shot to make the Practice Squad. He has the potential to be a similar player to LaDarius Gunter.

 

QB Taysom Hill – BYU

Hill is likely QB #4 on the depth chart, so he’ll get reps in the preseason games. Hill has great ability as a runner because of his speed and strength. He needs a ton of work in the throwing game. He lacks anticipation and typically looks to take off and run when his first two reads are covered. Joe Callahan will occupy the 3rd QB or Practice Squad QB position, so Hill has a very small chance of sticking with the Packers. However, his skillset should provide for some entertaining plays late in preseason games.

 

P Justin Vogel – Miami (FL)

Vogel was one of the better Punters to come out of the draft this season. He has great hang time and is a fantastic directional kicker. Vogel can also the emergency guy on kickoffs. He needs to improve his consistency and leg strength. I think he has a great chance to unseat Jacob Schum as the Packers’ Punter.

 

OG Adam Pankey – West Virginia

Pankey is a guy who played three different o-line positions in college. Ted Thompson loves position versatility, and Pankey has it. He combines good size and strength, with good feet to move inside. He’s super powerful in the “phone booth”, and fortunately that’s all the Packers will ask him to be. He’s going to struggle to get to the second level in run blocking. The Packers actually have a lot of depth on the o-line, so Pankey will fight with the other undrafted rookie free agents to make the Practice Squad. I think he develops into a good player down the road.

 

WR Aaron Peck – Fresno State

Peck has zero chance of making this team as a WR. However, I include him in this list because he wants to make a position change. He’s listed at 6’2” 239lbs which is a bizarre measurement for a NFL player. He wants to play Tight End, but I think he would have to make it as a H-back. He doesn’t have explosive speed, but his receiving skills could be a major asset coming out of the backfield. Peck could be a developmental guy for the future.

 

OLB Johnathan Calvin – Mississippi State

Calvin is a powerful player with a little bit of burst. He has incredibly strong legs to drive defenders back and hold his ground in the run game. He showed good play recognition and even has experience dropping in coverage. Calvin seems to lack agility on tape, and needs to develop more pass rush moves to be a contributor. He’s a strong candidate for the Practice Squad, who could develop into a poor man’s Nick Perry with some seasoning.

 

Other confirmed signings:

CB Donatello Brown – Valdosta State

It’s easier to find tape on a teenage turtle, than on Donatello Brown. Small-school guy with decent size and questionable speed. He’s actually Cardinals WR John Brown’s uncle.

CB Lenzy Pipkins – Oklahoma State

Another great name. Pipkins is a pretty good athlete.

G Geoff Gray – Manitoba

Gray was a pre-draft invite of the Packers, and played alright at the East-West Shrine Game. My guess is that he becomes one of the Practice Squad o-linemen.

G Thomas Evans – Richmond

Rich What? Richmond! Evans was a key part of a pretty good Richmond rushing attack. Should be able to play Center too.

OT Christian Schneider – UC Davis

Schneider may have the athleticism to stick at Tackle which would make him pretty valuable as a developmental guy.

WR Montay Crockett – Georgia Southern

Crockett has sub-4.4 speed. He’s going to have to show he can be a great returner to have any chance to even make the Practice Squad. The Packers have ridiculous depth at WR after the draft picks.

DL Izaah Lunsford – Bowling Green

Lunsford plays with an edge. He could be a good run defender, but is very limited in pass rush. He’s my guess for the D-line guy on the Practice Squad.

DL Imarjaye Albury – Florida International

Albury is too small to play d-line and too slow to come off the edge. He’ll have to show some great pass rush moves to make it to the 3rd preseason game.

ILB Cody Heiman – Washburn

Heiman played Linebacker in college, but I’m guessing the Packers will project him as a Fullback and Special Teams player. He’s got the physicality to play Fullback, but Green Bay has two pretty solid FB options in front of him.

 

This doesn’t seem to be a great year for the Packers to get an immediate contributor out of the undrafted free agent pick-ups, but they should make things interesting in the preseason and perhaps get a chance to contribute as the season goes on. The releases of Christine Michael and Don Jackson also open up two more roster spots, so we may see some names added to this list before Rookie Camp. I project that a few of these guys could be contributors in 2018, but Green Bay’s depth will prevent most from making an immediate impact.

Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig
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  • David Schimpf

    I don’t think they drafted Taysom Hill ultimately as a QB. He’s an incredible athlete with an amazing burst. Maybe a 3rd down back/returner?

    • Andrew

      The early indications are showing the Packers will give him a shot at QB. He probably has the ability to switch to RB, but it would be a longshot to make Green Bay’s roster with Montgomery and 3 drafted RBs.

  • pobodysnerfect

    LOL. Speaking as both a Packers fan and a Professor at VSU – it’s Vadosta State University. Not Valdesta. VSU’s football team has won 2 FCS national titles in the past 10 years, and Brown is one of the better players to come out of VSU in that time.

    He’s got a shot.

    • Andrew

      Thank you. I’ve updated the article to correctly reflect Valdosta State (I’m assuming it was a typo on my part).

      He’s got an uphill battle making the team at CB. With House, Randall, Rollins, Gunter, and Kevin King the Packers may already have their 5 CBs.

      • James C. Drumheller III

        Don’t forget Kentrell Brice. He’s a hitter and with Josh Jones at strong safety our secondary has a nastiness to it.Play physical but play smart.There’s great secondaries in Seattle.Arizona,Denver and now Green Bay is moving in the right direction.Good secondaries help the front seven get pressure on the QB.

      • pobodysnerfect

        Yeah. He certainly does have an uphill battle. I’d be surprised if he made it. But you never know with HWS UDFAs. Most of the time, the don’t hold up to the higher competition in the pros. But once in a great while you get a Sam Shields. A James Harrison….. GB is due.

  • James C. Drumheller III

    Adam Pankey was just arrested for a DUI over the weekend. He’s stuck on STUPID!!!

    • MDPackFan

      Again? I could only find info on the arrest back in August.

  • James C. Drumheller III

    I’d like to see a new punter if this guys better then Shum.