Packers Sign Middle Tennessee LB Jamari Lattimore
Lattimore (6-2, 230 pounds) wasn’t invited to the NFL combine but ran a 4.71-second 40-yard dash at his pro day. He also posted 20 reps at 225 pounds and had a vertical leap of 31 inches.
Lattimore was a three-year starter at defensive end for the Blue Raiders, but he saved his best season for his senior year. He tallied 11.5 sacks in 2010, tying the school record set by the Packers own Erik Walden, and was named the 2010 Sun Belt defensive player of the year. A four-sack effort at Louisiana-Lafeyette and three more vs. Louisiana-Monroe helped his numbers. Overall, the 11.5 sacks were good enough for sixth in the nation and first in the conference.
Lattimore ended his collegiate career with 20.5 sacks, placing him second on Middle Tennessee State’s all-time list.
While a defensive end at Midde Tennessee, Lattimore is best suited for outside linebacker at the NFL level. Like any end making the transition, he’ll need to make the adjustment from rushing the passer with his hand down to standing up. Lattimore appears to have the body type and athleticism to make the switch.
There’s also no way you can count him out of the competition at outside linebacker, as the Packers aren’t afraid to play a young player if he can handle the position. Frank Zombo, Brad Jones and Erik Walden are all examples of that. You’d still have to assume he’s a long shot, but you just never know what camp will bring for that position. If he can show an ability to get to the quarterback at the NFL level, he’s obviously worth a look.
It’ll be interesting to see if linebackers coach Kevin Greene can shape another undrafted free agent into a NFL player. If he can’t crack the 53, then the practice squad would be a good place to stash Lattimore away while he hones his craft.
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2