The Green Bay Packers have always done pretty well with undrafted free agents. In a typical year, two or three undrafted guys end up sticking with the team.
Cornerback Sam Shields is the most notable of Ted Thompson’s undrafted free agent signings.
During the final rounds of the draft yesterday, one of the NFL Network’s talking heads noted that this draft being deeper than most, a lot of undrafted guys would have been sixth or seventh-round picks in most years.
So this group of undrafted free agents is probably one you should watch a little closer than most.
Here are the Packers 2014 undrafted free agent signees.
Mike Pennel, defensive tackle, Colorado State-Pueblo (6-4, 332)
2013: 36 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 forced fumbles. Well, this guy has had some problems. He was suspended twice while at Arizona State in 2012. Then he ended up Pueblo. This is probably the most intriguing prospect of the bunch because not many guys are 6-4 and upwards of 330 pounds. You’re not going to move this guy. The knock is he doesn’t get off blocks or split double teams effectively.
Adrian Hubbard, outside linebacker, Alabama (6-6, 252)
2013: 33 tackles, 3 sacks. Hubbard was actually more impressive as a junior, when he had 7 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He has some upside in that he’s still developing as a pass rusher. He has the size and strength and is solid against the run. He doesn’t have the speed though and as you can see by his stats, doesn’t always show up. Great potential if he’s coached up.
LaDarius Perkins, running back, Mississippi State (5-10, 195)
2013: 542 yards, 2 TDs. Not terribly impressive stats, but Perkins is a good blocker and receiver. Perkins is what you would call an all-purpose, change-of-pace back. That makes him intriguing because there aren’t a lot of those guys in the league anymore. Could be a better pro than he was in college.
Joe Thomas, inside linebacker, South Carolina State (6-0, 227)
2013: 116 tackles, 20 for loss, 7.5 sacks, 1 INT. Thomas was the MEAC defensive player of the year and it appears he was one of the guys the Packers coveted most among the undrafted. That being said, there’s not much information available about him. He’s still probably better than Brad Jones though.
John Fullington, guard, Washington State (6-5, 300)
Fullington started at both tackle positions and at guard for Wazzou. So obviously that’s what the Packers like. He isn’t a great athlete or the strongest guy and he played in a spread offense, but he has decent agility.
Rajion Neal, running back, Tennessee (5-11, 220)
2013: 1,124 yards, 12 TDs. Neal is a bigger back, who some thought could go as high as the fifth round. For his size, he’s quick. Also a good blocker and receiver. The knock is that he doesn’t finish and isn’t a competitor.
Jake Doughty, inside linebacker, Utah State (6-0, 234)
2013: 148 tackles, 13 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 INT, 2 forced fumbles. This guy had a flaming mullet at one time. What more do you need to know? Okay, so he’s good against the run, but can’t cover and gets overmatched at times.
Chase Rettig, quarterback, Boston College (6-3, 206)
2013: 1,995 yards, 17 TDs, 8 INTs. Rettig was a four-year starter, but played for five offensive coordinators for a pretty bad team during those four years. He’s got a decent arm and is noted for his toughness, but not particularly quick.
Ryan White, cornerback, Auburn (5-10, 194)
2013: 54 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble. White played cornerback early in 2013 and then moved to safety. White was a quarterback in high school, so he’s athletic. He needs to work on is his tackling.
Jayrone Elliot, outside linebacker, Toledo (6-3, 240)
2013: 70 tackles, 14 for loss, 9 sacks, 5 forced fumbles. Nothing really jumps out about Elliot, but that’s why he didn’t get drafted. Although his measurables aren’t off the charts, he’s demonstrated that he can get after the passer and will create turnovers.
Jordan McCray, guard, Central Florida (6-3, 310)
Has started at both left and right guard. Spent all of 2013 at left guard. He’s strong and physical, but not terribly agile.
Carlos Gray, defensive tackle, NC State (6-3, 296)
2013: 23 tackles, 2.5 sacks. This guy entered the draft early for some reason or another. He was a two-year backup for the Wolfpack. That’s right. Never a full-time starter and he declared for the draft.
Justin Perillo, tight end, Maine (6-4, 250)
2013: 39 catches, 480 yards, 4 TDs. There could probably not be any less information available on this guy. But hey, he went to the same school as Packers great Jerron McMillian, so there’s that!
Denico Autry, defensive end, Mississippi State (6-5, 273)
2013: 31 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble. Autry had a better junior season, registering 42 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 4 sacks and 2 forced fumbles. You’ve got yourself a tweener here. We’re guessing the Packers will look at him at outside linebacker. He’s strong with a good motor, but not particularly quick.
Tryout players, according to the Press Gazette: running back James Sims (Kansas), running back Chris Rycraw (Ouachita Baptist), inside linebacker Nate Dreiling (Pittsburg State), outside linebacker Jordan Stanton (James Madison), offensive lineman Jamal Ellis (Newberry), kicker Vincenzo D’Amato (California), punter Paul Layton (Temple) and defensive lineman L.T. Tuipolutu (Utah)
We needed Safety, Tight End, Center, Wide Receiver & Inside Linebacker. We got all but ILB.
Not a bad draft for need. But we still need an enforcer in the Middle. Brad Jones? I’m not buyen it. Watchen the Press Conference with TT, he was adamant that we stayed with the BPA strategy.
We got Carl Bradford, a fourth round steal. He was estimated to go early in the second round.
He plays outside linebacker, but virtually everyone agrees he’s an ideal fit to convert to a 3-4 ILB.
There’s also And Mulumba, there’s at least half a chance he’s our next Desmond Bishop.
Good points, Lundy. Also, Tyko, did you read the article? 2 ILBs my man. Sure it’s likely they won’t pan out, but this draft was pretty light on talented ILBs. If the 3 or so drafted don’t meet or wxceed expectations, there’s always next year. Although Hawk, Jones, and co. are anything but spectacular, they are solid and I believe can be productive if not stellar for another year or 2. Honesty, ILB is not the most pivotal of positions in any scheme, esp. the 3-4 (Of course this is coming form one who very much wanted the Pack to draft Mosely).
Yea, I read the article. We still didn’t DRAFT an ILB. We got a couple free agent dudes. Brad Jones is a former 7th rounder…yadda yadda yadda.
I like Lattimore & Hawk more than most people, yes. I liked Mosley, yes.
But still we didn’t technically draft an ILB. Needs look filled otherwise.
No Safety’s to challenge Richardson and Banjo? I guess we will be training Hyde at SS.
Joe Thomas looks promising. If he’s anything in the NFL like he was in college, we will improve at ILB.
I was hoping they might grab TE Marcel Jensen out of Fresno St (teammates with Davante Adams)… But someone else grabbed him. Also, it would’ve been nice to see Beau Allen picked up too but Philly actually drafted him in the 7th.
Like others mentioned Thomas and Pennell are intriguing prospects. Also, watch out for Raijon Neal, could be a tough roster cut or practice squad candidate.
Wonder why they take that many running backs.
We are pretty set at that position (Lacy, Starks, Harris, Franklin, plus FB Kuhn), and we don’t even rotate backs as much as San Francisco does (i.e., Harris and Franklin will be getting very few carries).
Plus, we don’t need any of our RBs getting too many preseason reps, with their injury history.
So, these guys will get the reps and lighten the load. They are basically disposable bodies.