Category Archives: 2010 OTAs / Mini-camp

9

July

Players on the Packers Roster You May Not Know – Part 3

This third and final look at some lesser-known Packers were all signed as Undrafted Free Agents (UDFAs) after the 2010 NFL draft. All three spent parts of the  season on the Packers practice squad and were signed to futures contracts after the Super Bowl. I guess you could call them the “veterans” of the Packers’ lesser-knowns. Without further ado…

 

Chris Campbell, Eastern Illinois, 6’5”, 328lbs.  Pro day Stats: 5.28 40yd time, 1.77 10yd time, 4,14 20yd shuttle, 8.08 3-cone, 25” vertical, 14 reps@225lbs, and a 8’0” broad jump. Ranked 18 out of 96  Wide receivers by NFLDraftScout.com.

Scouting Report:  Campbell has the talent to become a good starting left tackle, but he has a lot of work to do first. He is a tall, well-built prospect with the long arms, quickness and athleticism to slide out and block edge pass rushers. He also has the agility to move outside and block effectively in space. Despite these positives, Campbell won’t be a high pick because his technique is very raw and he gets beaten too often. He won’t be able to contribute any time soon, which is why he’ll most likely be a seventh-round pick or a free agent.

Signed by Green Bay as a non-drafted free agent on April 30, 2010… Came to Eastern Illinois as a walk-on and finished his career as the starting LT… Played in 30 games with 12 starts during his senior year.  Earned second-team All-Ohio Valley Conference honors as a senior… Played in the Texas vs. The Nation all-star game following his senior season… As a junior in 2008, played in all 12 games on special teams while also serving as a backup LT… nickname is ‘Big Baby’… Born in Chicago.

High school and college coaches have always talked about Campbell’s “potential”, but not until senior year in college did the player nicknamed “Big Baby” start to realize his potential. Even then, his college coach was unsure if he could play at the next level. In stepped agent Joe Linta.

Linta’s reputation in 20 years as an agent has been made by identifying unknowns and turning them into knowns. He’s located the likes of Pro Bowl center Matt Birk from Harvard, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco from Delaware, Steelers starting offensive tackle Willie Colon from Hofstra and Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher from Maine.

6

May

Bryan Bulaga vs. Derek Sherrod: Battle for Left Tackle!

With the 32nd pick, the Super Bowl Champions selected Derek Sherrod, offensive tackle from Mississippi State and raised one big question, where is he going to play?  The question stems from the 2010 NFL draft, where the Packers used their 1st round selection to nab offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga from Iowa.

Bulaga and Sherrod seem to have a lot in common; both players were predicted to be drafted far ahead of where they actually ended up and both were technically sound and athletic offensive linemen who weren’t as highly touted as some of the other offensive linemen in their respective drafts (such as Russel Okung and Trent Williams in 2010 and Gabe Carimi and Tyron Smith in 2011).  Both are considered more technicians than maulers and were considered left tackle prospects.

The Packers have claimed after drafting Sherrod that both will get a chance to battle it out in training camp, but lets see how they compare to each other and who fits the mold of a left tackle.  Below is a side by side comparison of Bulaga and Sherrod.  I don’t claim to be a evaluator of talent, so I’ve used analysis from CBSports.com (most likely written by Rob Rang), Doug Farrar (of Yahoo’s Shutdown Corner and Football Outsiders) and Kevin Seifert (of ESPN).

 

Name Bryan Bulaga Derek Sherrod
Pass Blocking Takes a strong angle on kick slide, keeps knees bent, head up, and arm extended to keep defenders at bay. Very difficult to get off his blocks if he’s mirroring. Has a strong punch. Tends to lunge against inside moves, lacks great recovery speed and can be beaten by secondary rush. Slow to recoil once extended. Hesitates when defenders let up. Gets bull rushed into the pocket by strong ends because he allows their hands into his chest, but typically anchors before reaching the quarterback. Must improve his arm-bar to keep rusher out of the pocket. Inconsistent quickness after the first step in his kick slide makes him susceptible to giving up the edge to quicker pass rushers.-NFLDraftScout.com 

 

Good initial quickness. Eases out of his stance and has the lateral agility and balance to mirror the defender. Good hand strength and has long arms that he uses to latch onto and control his opponent. Generally plays with good knee-bend and leverage, but can lose his anchor when he tires. Can become fundamentally lazy and lean into the defender; gets knocked off-balance and gives up the inside lane. Should improve in this area with greater focus on his technique, but has an upside-down triangle build due to broad shoulders and relatively narrow hips, making him top-heavy and susceptible to being overpowered. Among his better attributes is his recognition. Recognizes the blitz coming and gets a good initial pop on his primary target (defensive end) before passing him off to the guard and working his way outside to catch the rushing linebacker or stunting defensive tackle.-NFLDraftScout.com
20

August

Weekly News From the Packers Twitterverse and Beyond – 8/19/10

Weekly Packers News from Twitter and other sources by Al Bracco and Jayme Joers. (As heard on Cheesehead Radio. 8/19/10 )

Packers News – 8/13/10 – 8/19/10

AL: Rumors were swirling this week that Al Harris could be cleared to start practicing with the team this upcoming Monday. Although no one from the Packers or the NFL would confirm that, Harris was seen working out on his own during practice for the first time.

Jayme: That’s sure a good sign Al…   And another good sign was the return to practice of the only real punt returner the Packers have, Will Blackmon. After resting his knee for the last week, Blackmon said his knee felt better so he decided to get back out there to work on his transition to safety. Blackmon also worked on catching punts, which everyone agreed, he looked very good at. Afterwards, Blackmon remarked that he can return punts “in his sleep.”

AL: Hmm, as opposed to some other returners that seemed to be asleep…    Certainly not asleep last Saturday was the Packers first team offensive line. They graded out very well, according to head coach Mike McCarthy. Despite a preponderance of blitzes from the Cleveland Browns, they managed to keep Aaron Rodgers unsacked and untouched. The second team line did not fare so well, testing Flynn’s manhood as he absorbed some really hard hits.

Jayme: Flynn wasn’t the only one that took a hard hit… Ryan Grant was knocked woozy on a first quarter play and barely made it off the field. He suffered a concussion, but was back at practice on Tuesday, after having been cleared by team doctors and an independent neurologist, as per the new NFL policy. Grant had an interesting comment about the new policy. While saying it’s good overall, Grant speculated that it may result in fewer players admitting to having symptoms to not have to miss any games.

Al: I think there’s probably some truth to that Jayme… And speaking of telling the truth, or not, the Brett Favre – Vikings charade thankfully came to an end.  The Vikings three amigos flew down for a sleepover at the Favre’s house, where they convinced him to once again go make out with the ugly Viking chick. Or was that Brad Childress? In any case, Brett flew to Minnesota, where once again, the Vikings were too cheap to hire a car service to pick up Favre.

13

August

Weekly News From the Packers Twitterverse and Beyond – 8/12/10

Weekly Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Holly Phelps. (As heard on Cheesehead Radio. 8/12/10 )

Packers News – 8/5/10 – 8/12/10

Al: Packers coach Mike McCarthy was pretty vocal this week in giving out both praise and criticism. He talked up AJ Hawk for his scrimmage performance and for having an excellent camp in general. At the same time, he was unusually candid about Jarius Wynn, saying Wynn has just been OK and needs to step it up. Not surprisingly, Wynn was seen winning a lot of his one-on-one matchups during the next practice. And thanks to Greg Bedard, you can watch it after the show on jsonline.com, including Wynn’s pancake of Chris Campbell.

{Holly:I guess he got the message.}

Holly: And speaking of motivational factors, Donald Driver has a lot more to play for these days, as in another two years on his contract. The Packers extended Driver’s deal through the 2012 season, prompting Driver to say he wants to prove the Packers right and then retire as a Green Bay Packer.

{Al: That will certainly be a bitter sweet day when Donald hangs up the cleats.}

Al: But what won’t be bitter sweet is when the Packers line up this Saturday for their first preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. Having rolled over the Browns in the first preseason game last year, the Packers will be hoping for more of the same. With most first team players getting about a quarter of work at most, the spotlight for this game figures to be on special teams play. Has all the extra work they’ve supposedly put in had the desired effect? We’ll get our first real look on Saturday.

{Holly: Looking forward to that Al. And here’s something else to look forward to …}

Holly: …This Saturday’s game will be the 61st Annual Packers Midwest Shrine game. As they do every year, the Packers will contribute a significant portion of the night’s gate to the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The Shriners hospitals provide free medical care to needy children with birth defects or who are suffering from serious injuries. It’s a great cause and a great thing that the Packers organization does.

{Al: That’s just one of many things that makes you proud to be a Packers fan.}

11

August

Jersey Al’s Film Study: Running with the 2’s at the Family Night Scrimmage

While the Green Bay Packers are still in the early stages of training camp, I usually like to pay more attention to the second units. This seems especially true this year, as there aren’t many starting spots up for grabs (left guard and fullback, maybe).

So my interest then turns to who will be called upon to save the day in case of injury to a Packers starter. To that end, I fired up the Family Night scrimmage on the DVR and put the old slow motion remote to use. Time for a little dissection by DVR.

Some observations…

Bryan Bulaga: I can see why Mike McCarthy is giving Bulaga a chance at a starting job. Bulaga was almost perfect in his Packers debut. He wasn’t beaten once. Whether out on the edge with a linebacker or further inside battling the likes of Cullen Jenkins, Bulaga stood his ground and neutralized the pass rush. He showed quick feet, a good punch, excellent balance and proper body position. I can’t say enough about how solid he looked. the Packers didn’t run enough with the twos to make an evaluation on his run blocking.

Marshall Newhouse
is going to have a hard time making this team. He displayed a lack of strength and was easily thrown off balance, but in his defense, he was given reps at left tackle, which is not a position he’ll play in the NFL. Newhouse needs to build a lot more strength and then be used at guard, where his football smarts will help him more. As I have written previously, I believe Newhouse is destined for the practice squad, at best.

Breno Giacomini was not very far behind Bulaga in performance. His feet look infinitely faster than during his brief pre-season trial last year. He showed excellent positioning, always keeping that big body between the rusher and the QB. He even handled rushing linebackers, which was his undoing last year. maybe I’m starting to see why the Packers have carried him for 2 years. When Bulaga and Giacomini were the tackles, they looked like a very good pair and the thought crossed my mind that in a year or two, they could be the Clifton / Tauscher of their day.

9

August

Green Bay Packers Sam Shields – The Florida Flash

Call him the Florida Flash.  By now, most Packers fans know that Sam Shields can outright fly. Shields himself knows that putting that speed to use on the playing field will be his ticket to outpace other candidates for a spot on the 53-man roster. Let’s just say that after his 98 yard interception at the family night scrimmage, Shields has made a good first impression.

I generally like to do my undrafted free agent evaluations before training camp starts, so I can make more of a “blind”  evaluation uninfluenced by camp performances (I like the challenge). While in the previous weeks I covered the wide receivers, running backs and offensive linemen free agents, there just hasn’t been time to get to the defensive UDFAs.

But there are a couple of defensive UDFAs in camp that are worthy of a “better late than never” evaluation, and we’ll start with Sam Shields.

Shields was born in Sarasota Florida and played football there for Booker High School. After a senior year where Shields caught 67 passes for 1,201 yards (17.9 avg.) and 22 TDs, as well as two TDs on punt returns and a 44 yd average on kickoff returns, Shields was a top-20 nationally ranked WR recruit. Shields chose the University of Miami over Florida, LSU and other suitors.

Shields contributed immediately as a true freshman at Miami. He started 7 of 13 games at WR, caught 37 passes with 4 TDs and was named Honorable Mention Freshman All-American. His production as a wide receiver dropped the next two seasons as he caught 27 passes as a sophomore and only 11 passes as a junior. He excelled as a gunner on special teams, however, and was named Special Teams Player of the Year as a junior.

With Shields having lost playing time as a wide receiver because of too many drops, Miami head coach Randy Shannon looked for another way to get Shields and his speed on the field more often. So they moved Shields to CB, where he started 10 of 12 games as a senior and was named the team’s most improved player.

Fast Forward to March 18th, about a month before the NFL Draft. After arriving at his grandmother’s house to pick up his daughter, Shields was caught in a police raid on the house and charged with possession of marijuana. Sarasota police raided the residence shortly after he arrived because they suspected drugs were being sold there. Shields said he was not using marijuana and was falsely arrested.

8

August

Packers Family Night Scrimmage Video – Rob Demovsky

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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