3 Packers Undrafted Free Agents With a Chance to Make the Roster
By Guest Author, Pigskin Paul
Our friend Pigskin Paul takes a close-up look at three of the Packers’ undrafted free agents that are hoping to snag a roster or practice squad spot:
One of the free agent mystery men who won a contract after his audition as an unsigned invitee to the Green Bay Packers 2010 Rookie Camp, was SHAWN GORE, who played his prep and college ball north of the border. So who better to give us a scouting report on GORE than our good friend COLIN LINDSAY from The Great Blue North Draft Report. Here is his synopsis in evaluating GORE coming out of college.
When word leaked out that Green Bay had a WR in for a tryout from little Bishop’s University in Canada, just about everyone assumed it was Stephen Turner who put on a remarkable athletic performance at this year’s Canadian league draft combine where he ran the 40 in just over 4.30 seconds.
The former Gaitor signed by the Packers, though, was actually the less heralded, but ultimately more polished Shawn Gore. In fact, when the picks were in at the CFL draft earlier this month, Gore was selected 10th overall by British Columbia, whereas Turner lasted into the 4th round. And while he lacks the jets that put former teammate Turner on notice, Gore is no slouch.Indeed, Gore’s a pretty good athlete with a respectable 40 time of 4.50 seconds of his own run at the CFL combine.
What caught pro scouts attention, though, was the fact that the 5-11.5, 198-pound Gore was quicker than that with a 1.44 second time for the first 10-yards, while he also posted very athletic leaps of 39.5-inches in the vertical and 10-3 inches in the broad jump, both of which would have been among the top 5 figures at the position at the NFL combine.
Gore is also a decent receiver who had 37 catches in 9 games in 2010 despite playing in an offense that didn’t throw the ball all that well; he also has a 21-game streak with at least one reception.
Gore has good hands, but tends to let the ball get into his pads too often; he is also a decent route-runner who can find the soft spot underneath, but has never been asked to read coverages at the speed he’ll need to make it in the NFL. He also uses his body well to shield defenders away from the ball and is a physical receiver who wins his share of jump ball type situations.
Gore also has a quick first step after receiving the ball and averaged 16.5 yards per catch last fall while scoring 5 TDs, but lacks that extra gear when the ball is in the air. For good measure, Gore is also a solid special teams cover guy.
Certainly, Gore has the physical skills to play at the next level, including the NFL, but it is a very long way from the CIS to the NFL. College football in Canada is the equivalent of DIII or even NAIA. Teams play a somewhat limited schedule, there is no spring practice and the weight training and technical aspects of the game are very rudimentary compared with that which characterizes U.S. football programs.
Canadian players simply don’t face the kind of pure aggression and athleticism like their counterparts in the U.S. do every day in practice and on game days. Thanks a bunch to friend Colin for his insight.
To follow up on more of the PACKERS Rookie Free Agents, I put on the tape of the TEXAS Vs. NATION All-Star game and checked out several players who ended up signing with the PACK. So here are my observations based on their play in that game.
KNICKY was without a doubt the best overall performer of the new PACKERS, in this game. He played extensively, as a stand-up OLB for the TEXAS team. He is long and lean, looking taller and lighter than his listed numbers.
He has a BRYCE PAUP type body to my eyes. He also appears to have very long legs, which begs the question as to whether or not he can be tied up in knots, like a pretzel, trying to change direction multiple times to cover potential receivers in his pass coverage area.
Having raised that question, let me note that he seemed to be very fluid in his coverage duties during much of this game. He looked comfortable in his back pedal, and was able to change direction well. I was particularly impressed with the way he jammed the TE at the line of scrimmage several times knocking that player off his route immediately.
He also appeared to have a nose for the ball, and a willingness to pursue through the whistle. He stayed on his feet well, which is a big issue for a LB. He seems to have decent functional strength, but I am guessing he can add some muscle to his upper body in an NFL weight room.
This guy looks like a football player, and I can’t help but believe that more than a few other NFL teams had him on their watch lists. The challenge for the PACK may be figuring out how to hang onto this player and get some usefulness out of him this coming season.
My fear would be that if he is cut some team with a 4-3 scheme will sign him quickly with the thought of bulking him up a bit and putting him back at a DE position. In essence, I am saying he reminds me quite a bit initially of AARON KAMPMAN, and may indeed be best suited for a 4-3 scheme.
Only time will tell, but based on what I saw of KNICKY in this particular game he will be a guy well worth watching for his progress (or lack thereof) during OTAs and Training Camp in Green Bay.
CHRIS CAMPBELL/OT/EASTERN ILLINOIS/6’5/328
The first thing that struck me about CAMPBELL was his quick, agile feet for his size. He did a great job of getting to the second level for blocks on the LB/DB in the running game. His strength looks good, and his body certainly looks like he could add some additional functional muscle.
His arms are long and he uses them well… most of the time. He is not overpowering, but once he locks onto his man there is no way to escape. And I do not mean to imply he was holding.
His style of play, and size seem very well suited for the PACKERS zone-blocking scheme. He dropped very nicely into his pass pro stance, without standing upright immediately, most of the time.
He looks like a natural knee-bender. I think he gave a bit too much ground, too quickly on some occasions, but that should be a minor correctable coaching situation.
In essence, I saw a very athletic player, who looks to have the talent needed to clean up some of his minor technique flaws with pro coaching. It will be a matter of want-to, hard work and desire on CAMPBELL’s part in making the jump in competition from small school to the NFL.
Here’s an interesting dilemma for the PACK potentially: if CAMPBELL comes on strong, would the team part with all of their back-up vets at OT (BARBE & GIACOMINI) and go to war with both BULAGA and CAMPBELL as their OT back-ups.
Once again I am fearful that CAMPBELL may be too talented to risk losing if placed on the Practice Squad. Remember the team was burned twice last season when BROHM & MEREDITH were both grabbed by the BILLS. That stung, and the Personnel Department was not pleased by that development.
It is way too early for serious speculation, but give some thought to the following players actually being the 2010 OL group come September:
CLIFTON (T), TAUSHCER (T), BULAGA (T), CAMPBELL (T), SITTON (G), SPITZ (G/C), NEWHOUSE (G/T), WELLS (C), LANG (G/T).
That would mean cutting/trading the following players currently on the roster:
COLLEDGE (trade), BARBRE, GIACOMINI, DIETRICH-SMITH, DANIELS, McDONALD.
Just had to throw that last segment at you. It seems risky to be that inexperienced, but hey, TED THOMPSON loves that young, cheap talent to work with, doesn’t he?