Each year there’s always a candidate or two that end up making a big jump in year two, someone overlooked and unexpected. My “darkhorse” this season to make that unexpected jump is LB/Edge Rush Kendall Donnerson, 6’3″, 250 LBs, 4.4 40 yd dash, 40 inch vertical jump and a RAS score of 9.98 (exactly the same RAS as Rashon Gary #12 overall 2019, draft). If a certain “expected” player (Oren Burks) doesn’t make that second year jump, Donnerson may leap frog Burks on the depth chart.
For those who are unfamiliar with Donnerson, he was the #248 pick in the 7th Round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Packers 3rd and final pick in that 7th round. Coming out of Southeast Missouri State, he was a long shot to even make the team. He ended his college career having started 21 of 45 games, 144 Tackles (84 Solo), 1 INT, 9 Passes Defended, 6 FF, 1 Fumble Recovery, #3 in school history in TFL (34.5), #4 in Sacks (12), and First Team All OVC. His athleticism impressed the Packers so much that he signed to the Practice Squad on September 2, 2018. Donnerson was promoted to the Active Roster on December 2, 2018 when Ibraheim Campbell was placed on Injured Reserve.
During the pre-season, Donnerson appeared to flash some good defense, registering a TFL and a FF during his limited time on the field, approximately 20 plays. Once on the active roster for the final four games, it was expected he’d see some playing time. Donnerson hoped he would be able to showcase his athletic ability that jumps off the page. Unfortunately he never saw a game day active roster. With the Packers 2018 season in the tank by that time, it should have been an easy decision to get Donnerson on the field. I’m guessing with the Head Coaching change it just wasn’t in the cards and maybe promoting him was a way to keep him for 2019.
I know Kendall put in a lot of hard work in the off season back in Arkansas. He spent time working on his skills with a close friend of mine, who described him as a freak athlete. Kendall worked on speed, agility, coordination, core training and instinct training. He performed with exceptional success, which will now hopefully transfer to the field this off season and earn him playing time in the Fall.
Watch out for Kendall Donnerson LB Green Bay Packers in the 2019 season! My selection for dark horse improvement!
As Always, Go Pack Go,
PackerGregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter