Unlike the draft or regular free agency, here’s one area where the Green Bay Packers actually excel — signing undrafted free agents.
Each year under the Ted Thompson regime, the Packers end up keeping one or two (sometimes more) of these guys on the active roster. Last season, it was outside linebacker Dezman Moses, guard Greg Van Roten and tackle Don Barclay, who actually ended up becoming a starter.
The Packers nabbed Sam Shields as an undrafted free agent and he’s a starting cornerback. M.D. Jennings was also an undrafted free agent and he has a shot to start at safety this season. Of course, maybe that’s just as reflective of how poorly the Packers have performed in those other two areas of team building.
Anyway, you get the picture. Some of these guys will be sticking around. Here’s the Packers class of 2013 undrafted free agents.
Lane Taylor, guard, Oklahoma St.
Taylor is 6-3, 324 and was first-team All-Big 12 in 2012. Started 47 games in his college career. Only allowed four pressures in 2012 and didn’t allow a sack. Not considered terribly athletic, but can work well in small spaces.
Ben Ericksen, safety, Illinois St.
Ericksen is 6-1, 195 and was a two-year starter for the Redbirds. He was a first-team FCS All-American in 2012, when he had 67 tackles and seven interceptions. Ericksen ran a 4.48 40.
Matt Brown, quarterback, Illinois St.
Brown (6-4, 220) was a four-year starter for Illinois State. He was the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, when he threw for 3,370 and 27 touchdowns. He also ran for seven scores. Threw for 10,591 yards in his career and accounted for 87 touchdowns.
Gilbert Pena, defensive tackle, Mississippi
Pena is 6-4, 317 and recorded 34 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and two sacks in 2012. Decent stopping the run, but has limited range. Pena wasn’t even a full-time starter for Mississippi and he spent four years away from football to take care of his mother while she had cancer.
Jake Stoneburner, tight end, Ohio State
Stoneburner (6-4, 245) actually played a hybrid H-back/receiver in 2012, as Ohio State switched to a spread offense. He produced 16 receptions for 269 yards and four touchdowns in that role. He has good hands and ran a 4.5 40. If this guy can block and play special teams, he might have a real shot at making the roster.
Jeremy Vujnovich, tackle, Louisiana College
Vujnovich is 6-5, 290 and ran a 4.87 40, which is fast for an offensive lineman. You can probably see the issues here, though. He played against inferior competition and he obviously needs to add some muscle to his frame. This guy would get mauled in an actual NFL game.
Patrick Lewis, center, Texas A&M
Lewis is 6-2, 312 and I can tell you why the Packers like him. He’s versatile. He moved to center from guard prior to his junior season. He was also a four-year starter. The Packers had Lewis in for a pre-draft visit, so they obviously had their eye on him.
Andy Mulumba, defensive end/outside linebacker, Eastern Michigan
Mulumba is what you’d call a tweener at 6-3, 260. He’s played both as a down lineman and standing up. In 2012, he had 73 tackles, including seven for a loss. Mulumba is not a great pass rusher. Doesn’t have good burst or speed, but is solid against the run. The Montreal native is expected to be taken in the CFL draft.
Myles White, wide receiver, Louisiana Tech
White is 6-1, 185 and caught 56 passes for 718 yards and six touchdowns in 2012. Started his college career at Michigan State before transferring to Northwest Mississippi CC and then, finally, Louisiana Tech. He was suspended by MSU in December of 2009 after pleading not guilty to public urination and underage possession charges.
Angelo Pease, running back, Kansas State
Pease (5-11, 215) played two seasons at Kansas State as a junior college transfer, but didn’t get many opportunities. He had 60 carries for 333 yards (5.6 ypc) in 2012 and 144 yards on 36 carries (4.0 ypc) in 2011. He ran a 4.5 40 and has a 32-inch vertical.
James Winchester, long snapper, Oklahoma
What can we say about this guy? He’s a long snapper. Winchester is 6-3, 200 and was primarily used as a long snapper on punts.
Devin Willis, cornerback, Northern Arizona
Willis is 6-0, 178 and honestly, nothing about him really jumps out. In 2012, he had 41 tackles and one interception. He also knocked down six passes.
Kiper & McShay both gave Green Bay amazing marks.
B+ from Kiper
Kittens & Queens both got = B
Bears = C+
They coulnd’t praise Ted enough for taking Jones in the 1st round instead of Lacy…then accumulate more picks & still get Lacy.
Kiper also said that Charles Johnson was our best steal & McShay said J.C. Tretter was our biggest reach.
Three gripes with this draft:
Just made AR the highest paid QB in the league playing behind the worst protection unit in the league. Then just drafted two RB’s in the 2nd and 4th rounds. Running behind a <4yds per carry line – so what do you do? Don't draft any OL until the 4th or later.
Prima donna TE is gone after this year, rest of the TE's on the team are basically meat, so make sure not to draft one.
Back end sucks, so instead of a safety that might actually be able to keep this team off opponents highlight reels, let's draft some hemaphrodite CB from Cornhole U in the Nteemphf round. Forgot, Pack is "set" at that position.
Hope that there's something other than SPAM in this group.
Got to agree with you there. I was “somewhat” impressed with what Ted did with this draft but I’ve seen just as many Brian Brohm’s, Justin Harrell’s and Derrek Sherrod’s in his tenure as I’ve seen steals. One NFL scout compared TT to Adam Dunn — he hits a few homeruns but he strikes out a lot.
While I’m a big fan of taking Lacy and Franklin I was not big on either David Bakhtiari or JC Tretter. I thought Ricky Wagner, Barrett Jones, Eric Kush or Jeff Baca would have been better additions on the OL. I guess it’s a crapshoot when it comes to grading OL-men but I felt the more size and quickness the better protection for Rodgers.
Was also disappointing to see Thompson pass on safeties Bacarri Rambo (he would have made an impact and case to start in week 1), Shamarko Thomas and Duke Williams would have been good fits as well — anything to push Burnett, McMillian and Jennings — that’s a thin safety core but what do I know?
Desmond Bishop trade rumors? What’s up with this? I really hope that wasn’t the case because a Desmond Bishop at 60% health-wise is better than an AJ Hawk at 100%. Is there anyone who’s even comparable to Bishop on the roster?
Really wish TT would have took at chance on Da’Rick Rogers at WR — but this Charles Johnson is supposedly a freak athlete, high hopes for him.
OL, Safety were two areas I wish GB upgraded in the draft but for the most part this was adequate enough for me. First time TT has ever addressed RB in the draft, kinda exciting to see.
I’m with ya on Bishop and the intrigue of Teddy’s first RB selections. Ihave to disagree about Rambo somewhat, although I would have liked to have seen him drafted in the 3rd or later, Idoubt he could have been an immediate starter: outside of the big hits, the kid can’t tackle and he takes bad angles. Reminds me of Bigby; definitely think he’ll be an impact STer.
As for the linemen, Ithink they were drafted to be Gs or Cs, and I think they may turn out to be pretty solid at that.
I would like to believe that at least, E. Lacy (and possibly J. Frank) is better than any of the RBs currently on the roster. Also, don’t forget the p Packers ran all over SEA when they finally ran the ball in the 2nd half, and vs. SF in the playoffs (until they stopped running in the 2nd half and proceeded to get embarassed).
A-Rodg held onto the ball for too long on at least 10 of those sacks, of course he gets out of a number of potential sacks as well, that’s just who he is and how he reduces the number of INTs. Bulaga missed 2/3 of the season (yeah he got destroyed by STL in the first half, but that may happen when you run the ball twice in an entire half, and no that’s not hyperbole, in case you forgot)
The prima donna has to play lights out this year if he wants to get paid “Jimmy Graham and Gronk money”, or if he wants to be in the NFL next year. Granted I wouldn’t be too dejected to see the giant can of unfulfilled potential leave its or Packer ranks.
Packer DBs are probably one of the team’s greatest strengths, esp. on the D.
The Packers were 15th (that’s top half) in the league in rushing last year with a car salesman, A. Green (not the 1,800-yard rusher and multiple Pro-Bowler), and the Ghost formerly known as Cedric (The Entertainer) Benson (Acknowledgements to the one who coined the name).
Cant believe they passed on NT Jesse Williams 3 times in the 4th round? Also why did they pass on Barrett Jones? Those two picks would have helped out team this year! Instead he drafts projects?????
Mark it down, Patrick Lewis on the team next year. I know him, he’s a standup guy. Exactly the type of player we keep. Definitely Packer People.
I hope both he and Taylor make it: versatility and an immoveable monster on the inside, seriously 6’3″, 324lb GUARD in COLLEGE, no wonder he gave up only 4 hurries.
1. Galloping gargoyles, Lane Taylor is massive.
2. I find it interesting the Pack again selected 2 players from the same school, esp. lil’ ol’ Ill St.
3.Taylor, Ericksen, Pena, and Lewis all seem to be intriguing acquisitions, best of luck to them.
Pena looked good on the video that I saw. Took good angles, didn’t get fooled, kept on churning, decisive, plays faster than his times. Stoneburner also looked like a promising prospect who will make the team even if just for special teams. Real athlete. Vujnovich has decent fundamental technique, but needs (as remarked) to fill out. He can pull and get out to the second level. He’s a better developmental prospect than Datko.
Not impressed by anything I saw from the video on White (whispy) or Pease (not patient). Be nice if one of these O-line guys does convert to a decent NFL center.
Packers add SS Ryan McMahon from Sacramento St, transfer from USC. Looks good. Fast, good closing speed/change of direction/lateral movement. Hard nosed, wraps up well. Looks football smart. Can blitz. Can add 20 lbs upper body without losing any speed, I’d bet.
Wow, lots of catch phrases in that post.. you missed “Nose for the ball”, “Tough kid” and “Great Motor” and you would have hit them all.
Datone Jones, Franklin and Bakhtiari were all very good value choices and have “impact” potential. I think Stoneburner the TE we picked up after the draft was possibly an underrated steal. Outside of those mentioned, not that impressed by this class of draftees–yet. The rest are just “good football players” and I’m growing tired of the same old, same old. Especially disappointed about the safety need being largely ignored. Still need another ball hawk in that regard.
Like most people, I’m excited about DialTone, the Circle Button, and the Mayor. Otherwise, any draft is impossible to grade until a couple years down the line.
I am surprised the Packers ignored the safety position, discounting Micah. Obviously, TT + coaching staff think a lot of MD Jennings, McMillian and Sean Richardson.
I am surprised the Packers ignored the TE position. Apparently, the front office is either willing to entertain the idea of extending Finley, believe it or not, OR they think Quarless can come back or DJ Williams can emerge.
I was also surprised the Packers ignored the WR position until the 7th round. Even though, I am impressed with what Charles Johnson brings to the table for a 7th round pick.
Why did the Packers pass on Barrett Jones, Jesse Williams and Bacarri Rambo? For the same apparent reason they “passed” on Sylvester Williams- they didn’t think that much of them.
Thompson doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to “stock piling depth” — I heard two great statements about him during the draft, one scout compared him to Adam Dunn in that he hits some homeruns but he strikes out a lot and the second being that he trades down to accumulate more picks but look at his success ratio on those picks and who he’s passing on to get to those extra late round selections. Granted he’s pulled a few picks outta the later rounds before but he’s still passing on good talent.
I can live with FS Burnett and McMillian but the SS position is by far the weakest link on that defense. Just my opinion.
Is AJ Hawk really in line to start at LILB now that DJ Smith is gone? They really want that slow body covering the vertical TE and middle part of the field? A healthy Perry, Bishop and Matthews is solid but Hawk? Don’t see Sam Barrington or Nate Palmer making any noise here.
Could use one more WR to step up and it’d be nice to see Thompson step into a few trades to upgrade at certain spots but we all know that isn’t going to happen.
All in all your leaving a great deal of 2013 up to the coaching staff to improve the players that were already on this roster.
It was a good draft.
Please be kidding: the Packers won the SB with 15 plaers on IR (70% of the starting 22), how do manage that without depth? Deus ex machina?
You can afford to trade away a player like Tramon Williams. I’ll throw Alex Green, Starks (if anyone is dumb enough to take him)
Wasn’t replying vis a vis Green and Starks. Istill think Green could be a good implement player-he’s only in his 3rd year having played 1, that being the year after rehabbing an ACL, we all know the effect those have on athlete performance.
As for Starks, like the guy, pull for him, he runs hard and puts forth a great effort, but the truth of the matter is his time is likely up-oft-injured, sub-par blocker and redeiver.
Tramon is still recovering from nerve damage which can take years to fully heal, if it ever does, it may not. He’s essentially walking around with a dead arm just beginning to awaken and tingle (the walking dead arm, if you will). When he was healthy he was atop 10 CB with very good cover skills and elite ball skills (granted never a fantastic tackler, but certainly better than last year). I say give him another year or 2, and if he doesn’t return close to form, cut bait.
The Pack did at least attempt to address TE, safety, and OL (further) via free agency, usually 3 or 4 UFAs make the team/practice squad.
Ihave to think the Pack are relying mainly on Finley and Williams (it is his 3rd year, make or break time) for the pass attack. With how they drafted, the addition of Mulligan, and return of Quarless, one has to consider the Pack are ardent about running the ball more and more effectively; hence they didn’t feel it was urgent to acquire another pass-catching TE.
As for our current SS, they’re young, talented ballhawks who tackle well and held their own for the most part and should only get better. The D was 11th in the league overall last year, against excellent competition; they forced most opposing QBs to very poor performances.
My two (more like twenty) cents.
I don’t think McCarthy’s plan is to exactly “run” the ball more but to more or less add that “dimension” to the offense that sorely lacked this past year. For the most part, and in a west coast based offense like McCarthy runs, the Pack ran the ball a lot last year (14th most in the NFL I believe — which is a lot for an offense like ours). Part of that reason was an attempt to break the deep Cover 2 defenses would run against them and others were, in my opinion, just wasted plays in attempted to keep the defense honest.
I will say this, not one defensive coordinator was worried about Green Bay running the football in 2012, those safeties would play so far over the top and deep it was a joke. It hurts that Jennings was out for so long, he did add that extra element that really made our offense explosive but someone is still going to have to step up and be apart of the passing attack with Nelson, Jones, Cobb and Finley — I think you add one more guy into that attack and the offense is deadly with the additions of Lacy and Franklin. I really don’t think defenses can stop Rodgers when he’s on a roll much less when he’s got a back who can blast through the line.
Still would like to see one more WR step up, possibly Johnson???
I would say that the Packers excell in the draft as well? UFA’s are just the icing on the cake!