Malachi Dupre: Draft Steal or Just Another Seventh-Rounder?
Receiver Malachi Dupre didn’t put up huge numbers at LSU. He put up a single-season high 696 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore.
His junior-year numbers were slightly down (593, three), but he still decided to enter the NFL Draft early. That didn’t work out too well for Dupre. He lasted until the seventh round, where the Green Bay Packers selected him at No. 247 overall.
Normally, you wouldn’t expect much from a receiver chosen in the seventh round — ever. However, Dupre could end up being a steal for the Packers.
Many people blamed his collegiate numbers on LSU’s run-first offense. Dupre didn’t have much to work with at the quarterback position either.
Coming out of high school, Dupre was a five-star recruit. He was ranked as the top receiver in his class by ESPN.
Prior to the 2016 season Todd McShay had Dupre ranked as a first-round prospect.
Things have seemingly gone downhill for Dupre since high school, but it appears he has a legitimate chance to turn things around with the Packers.
The guy has plenty of athleticism and he’s already turned some heads this offseason, both with impressive catches and his ability to pick up the offense.
“He’s definitely an accomplished receiver coming out of college,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s done a lot of good things. Mentally, he’s probably picked it up the quickest of the perimeter group. He’s having a good offseason.”
Dupre still has a ways to go. It will be tough to move up the Packers’ depth chart, so his main goal this year has to be just to make the roster at a crowded position.
Plus, as you might imagine, seventh-round receivers haven’t done much with the Packers. This is the fifth time Ted Thompson has taken a receiver in the seventh.
Here’s a look at those players.
Brett Swain (2009)
Played two seasons with the Packers. Swain didn’t have a reception as a rookie and ended up with just six catches for 72 yards. He played one more season with San Francisco, where he had just two catches, and then was out of the league.
Charles Johnson (2013)
Johnson didn’t make the team as a rookie and was signed to the practice squad. He was poached by the Browns, who put him on their non-football injury list. He was then put on Cleveland’s practice squad where he was poached by the Vikings. Johnson started 17 games for the Vikings over three seasons. Totals: 60 receptions, 834 yards, two touchdowns. In March, he got a one-year contract with the Panthers.
Kevin Dorsey (2013)
Dorsey spent 2013 on injured reserve. He didn’t make the team in 2014 and was added to the practice squad. Dorsey was promoted to the active roster in October, caught one pass, went on injured reserve in November and was released in February.
Jeff Janis (2014)
You know the story here. Some people think Janis has a lot of potential. If that’s the case, he certainly hasn’t reached it. Fifteen receptions, 188 yards and one receiving touchdown in three seasons. Sure, there was the magical playoff performance in Arizona following the 2015 season, but that’s really been it.
He wasn’t a Ted Thompson pick, but Donald Driver was drafted in the seventh round in 1999. After 14 seasons, Driver walked away as the Packers’ all-time leader in receptions and yards. Still, he didn’t really do much until his fourth NFL season. Driver had just 37 receptions in his first three seasons combined. He only had three for 31 yards as a rookie.
We would be blown away if Dupre did much of anything this season. He’ll be in a battle to even make the roster. If he does make it, it will be tough to get playing time. Plus, history tells us a contribution isn’t likely.
That said, stranger things have happened. Geronimo Allison went from undrafted rookie to the Packers’ No. 4 receiver in 2016. He was an important contributor down the stretch and into the playoffs.
Dupre and Allison have similar builds. They’re both 6-3, with Allison coming in slightly heavier than Dupre (203 to 196).
As is, the key to anything with the Packers’ receivers is earning the trust of Aaron Rodgers. While Dupre may be turning heads at minicamp, Rodgers isn’t there.
He’ll need to keep making plays while establishing a rapport with Rodgers during training camp.