I was a little disappointed to read Rob Demovsky’s article earlier this week about Green Bay Packers third-string quarterback Graham Harrell.
According to Demovsky, Harrell has little chance of making the Packers final roster. The team kept only two quarterbacks on their opening-day roster last season and that appears to be the way they’re leaning again this season, which means Harrell is the odd man out.
Matt Flynn is the clear-cut No. 2 quarterback.
There is some hope for Harrell to continue his NFL career in Green Bay, though. His play has improved since the team opened training camp and the Packers seem to think they’ll be able to add him to their practice squad.
More than any other skill position player, Harrell has made the biggest improvement in camp. He began the summer playing tentatively, opting for the check-down pass or short throw whenever possible. But over the past couple of weeks, Harrell has exhibited a confidence that has transformed his play. He’s just as likely to throw down the field as he is to dump it off.
With his improved confidence, he has shown off arm strength that wasn’t evident when the Packers first signed him during the organized team activities.
The only problem with trying to get Harrell through to the practice squad is, once the Packers release him, any team can claim him. If Harrell has indeed improved as much as Demovsky suggests, other teams certainly have taken notice and he may be an attractive option for a team that isn’t happy with their quarterback depth — both the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants come to mind.
If Harrell does make it through to the practice squad any team can still put a claim in on him. In that scenario, the Packers would either have to add him to the active roster or let him go to the team that claims him, as they did with both quarterback Brian Brohm and tackle Jamon Meredith, last season. Both players were claimed by the Buffalo Bills.
It isn’t that Harrell is likely to make a huge impact with the Packers or any other team this year, but as a guy who set all kinds of passing records at Texas Tech and then went undrafted in 2009, you have to be pulling for him. Harrell isn’t going to unseat Aaron Rodgers as the Packers quarterback, but he’s shown he can play the game and his long-term potential could be a valuable commodity for the team.