UDFA. Short for undrafted free agent. The players that are essentially the final jump scare to the horror movie that is the NFL Draft (judging by Mel Kiper’s hairline, I am guessing it is a vampire movie). And like most horror movie protagonists, chances of survival for this group is slim. But, I would caution against taking UDFA’s lightly. Where would the Packers be right now without Robert Tonyan, Allen Lazard, and Yosh Nijman, all former undrafted free agents who have left their mark on the team over the last several seasons. You cannot tell the story of the Green Bay Packers without naming legends like Willie Wood, Johnnie Gray, Tramon Williams, or current team president Mark Murphy–all undrafted prospects themselves. So, I am here to take a look at the 11 UDFA’s set to join Green Bay’s robust 2022 Draft Class.
6’8″ 370 lbs
Caleb Jones is an absolute mountain of a man. Caleb was a three year starter at Indiana. Yes, he ran a 5.6 forty yard dash at last month’s NFL combine, but, I mean, c’mon–the dude is the size of Jeff Bezos’ new yacht (excuse me, superyacht). Caleb played both left and right tackle in his career at Indiana (we know how much Gutey loves versatile linemen!). He displays a wide base (again, 370 pounds), and has displayed excellent hand placement. He does struggle with speed rushers, and we will need to improve his footwork, but, size like this is unteachable.
Chances of Making the 53 Man Roster–16%
Fresh off a 1,151 yards, 7 TD season with the Iowa Hawkeyes is Tyler Goodson, a shifty and versatile running back with a well rounded offensive game. Tyler caught 31 passes last year, mostly out of the slot, and offers the Pack a joker piece to add to their offensive scheme. Tyler clocked a 4.42 forty yard dash at the NFL combine, and was also timed at 22.1 mph in Iowa’s first game last season. Tyler is not necessarily a strong back, and will need to work on his effort and consistency with pass blocking. Green Bay has a particularly crowded running back room at the moment, so Tyler will need to be pretty undeniable in the offseason to secure a spot on the Packers 2022 squad.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–15%
This Ragin Cajun comes to Green Bay riding the wave of a 10.5 sack senior season last year in Lafayette. Manac ran a 4.67 forty yard dash, highlighting his explosiveness off the edge. Chauncey boasts a unique sidestep rush maneuver that is difficult to counter, and navigates offensive line traffic with aplomb. He will be 25 next season. While quick off the line, Manac will need to work on his flexibility to make the roster, as he shows stiff hips on film. Green Bay is pretty thin at edge rusher, opening up an opportunity to secure himself a spot on our roster this upcoming season.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–24%
Akiai Byers is essentially a World’s Strongest Man contestant who decided to play football instead of carrying refrigerators on his back. He is a former high school wrestler (shoutout Kelly Gregg!), who boasts fantastic balance for a man his size, and is an ace at penetrating in 3 technique (I am more of a one technique penetrator!) Akiai ran a Toyota Yaris-esque 40 time (5.69), and definitely needs to work on his ability to shed blockers, but his strength and background gives him a fighting chance to stick around Green Bay beyond August.
Chance Of Making The 53 Man Roster–20%
This speedster out of Baylor scores a ridiculous 8.21 RAS score, which we know is music to Brian Gutekunst’s ears. Raleigh put up an impressive 15 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL combine (pretty astounding for a player his size). Texada excels in zone coverage and boasts impressive hip fluidity and silky smooth change of direction. He displays good awareness and solid instincts. However, he does have very short arms and has shown himself quite susceptible to quarterback fakes. Given how much Gutekunst values athletic testing, I could easily see Texada slotting in as a 5th corner/special teams ace on this Packer team.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–30%
Anthony Turner is a two time Heart Of America Conference (yes, I swear that’s a real thing) Offensive Player Of The Year. Turner’s size allows him to be extremely competitive on 50/50 passes. He is a tremendous blocker (LaFleur’s eyebrows just swooned). Turner is adept at using his large frame to shield off defensive backs. He is comfortable operating from outside or from the slot. He is not explosive and he does not seem to exhibit a second gear, which may prohibit him in the NFL. But, Green Bay does love them some big ass receivers, so I could see him on this roster with a strong camp.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–25%
B.J. Baylor was the PAC 12 rushing leader in 2021, becoming the first Beaver to hold that distinction since Steven Jackson. Baylor was a late bloomer who really only established himself as a senior. Last season he rushed for 1,337 yards while posting a sturdy 5.9 yards per attempt averaged, and rumbling for 13 touchdowns. Baylor is known as a great teammate and a hard worker. His timed speed is slightly below average, and he was not featured often in Oregon State’s passing game, limiting his versatility. As previously mentioned, Green Bay’s running back room is pretty crowded, so he will have to impress the coaches with a fantastic camp to secure his spot on the roster.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–15%
Ellis Brooks led Penn State in tackles in 2021, and was second on the team in tackles in 2020. Despite only weighing 226 pounds, Brooks has a strong lower body, and is a sure tackler. Brooks put up an impressive 23 reps of 225 pounds at last month’s combine and clocked a passable 4.77 forty yard dash. While he does not wow you with any one skill, Brooks has a lot of reps against top flight competition and is reliable. While his size does not fit in with what Green Bay typically looks for in off linebackers, I think Brooks may be a sneaky pick to fit on this roster, and possibly even contribute on special teams.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–36%
It wouldn’t be a draft season without the Packers bringing in a Badger. And what a Badger! Danny Davis overcame a truly atrocious quarterback situation to post a solid 15 yard per reception last season. Davis shows exceptional hands, and super route running. He is tough. He did run a subpar 4.62 forty yard dash, and does not display topflight athleticism. But, he is a gamer. He reminds me a lot of former Packer Jake Kumerow. So, I look forward to the temper tantrum Rodgers is gonna throw next summer when Davis gets unceremoniously let go. He just seems like a great fit for what LaFleur is trying to do.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–63%
Another tall receiver for Gute to fawn over. Chism didn’t run particularly fast at the NFL combine, but he did showcase some explosive athleticism in the vertical leap and broad jump, which, paired with his 6’4″ frame and long arms could make him a red zone threat in the NFL. Chism played at Missouri, regularly facing top notch defensive back competition, so you know he will be somewhat battle ready. He did not show a whole lot of growth from his junior to senior season, unfortunately. Obviously, the Packers have a need at receiver, so Chism will certainly be given a fighting chance.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–22%
Sterling ran a very slow 4.71 forty yard dash, which moved him down draft boards quite a bit. On film, he shows great eye discipline and rock-solid tackling. He occasionally takes bad angles. His lack of speed prohibits him from playing centerfield safety. Not sure a see a fit for him in Joey B’s scheme.
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–9%
I saved the best for last. Being a 30 year Utah season ticket holder, I have seen A LOT of Hauati Pututau. Hauati is a big bodied, exceptionally strong gap destroyer. Hauati is a menace against the run, despite seeing a pretty steady stream of double teams in his time with Utah. Pututau comes from an extensive football background (he has two brothers and a cousin playing at Utah currently). Pututau shows off a pretty wicked first step for someone his size. Utah does not ask much of it’s d linemen in pass rush, so Hauati’s has not showcased many pass rushing skills, and Utah also deploys a lot of linemen in game, so he has never been a true “Starter”, but I believe he could be a great fit on the Green Bay line. Utah’s pedigree of effective defensive linemen is long and distinguished (bonus points for the unnecessary Top Gun reference!) I have been waiting 3 decades for Green Bay to finally bring in a Utah defensive linemen. That time is now!
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster–31%
Chances Of Making The 53 Man Roster If I Were In Charge–110%
If you are still reading this after 11 player evaluations, please seek psychiatric help! Hopefully a few of these youngsters will catch the front office’s eye this spring/summer. Who knows–Maybe one of this group could be the next Sam Shields or Cullen Jenkins. In the immortal words of Herb Brooks–“These boys are not being guaranteed anything but an opportunity–that’s what this is–an opportunity”. An opportunity to play next to a legend in the Cathedral of Football. Who knows. Maybe they will make a bad movie about one of these guys one day–after all, Kurt Warner was a UDFA himself.
Timothy Preece has been a Packers fan since 1991 and currently lives in Utah because he makes bad decisions. You can follow him on twitter at @LegitimateTimP.