20

January

Packers Sign AFL QB Nick Hill, All 8 from Practice Squad

The Packers signed star AFL quarterback Nick Hill Friday.

Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers announced the signings of nine different players, including all eight on the practice squad and former Arena Football League quarterback Nick Hill.

Thompson brought back the eight players that ended the season on the practice squad, which includes T Chris Campbell, FB Jon Hoese, C Sampson Genus, WR Diondre Borel, WR Tori Gurley, DL Johnny Jones, S Anthony Levine and CB Brandian Ross.

The first move from outside the organization was the signing of Hill, who last season played for the Orlando Predators and tossed 97 touchdowns in 16 games. He made his entrance into the NFL in the summer of 2008, when the Chicago Bears signed the undrafted quarterback from Southern Illinois in May. Chicago released Hill (6-3, 215) in July of that year. At Southern Illinois, Hill set school records for passing yards, touchdowns and completions during his senior year.

Hill throws left-handed and will wear No. 17.

While looking into roster moves made in January doesn’t mean much for down the road, bringing in Hill is just the latest sign on a long list that says free agent quarterback Matt Flynn is leaving Green Bay this offseason. Most expect Flynn to receive offers from several teams this summer to be their starting quarterback. I wouldn’t guess that Hill is the last quarterback that the Packers bring in to compete for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.

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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.

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20

December

Packers Sign T Herb Taylor; Derek Sherrod to IR

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson announced Tuesday that the team had signed tackle Herb Taylor to replace first-round pick Derek Sherrod on the Packers active roster. As expected, Sherrod was placed on IR.

Sherrod, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2011 draft, broke his leg Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs and remained in Kansas City to have surgery. It was learned yesterday that Sherrod broke both the tibia and fibula in his right leg, which means he’ll miss the rest of this season and potentially some of the next. Recovery time for such an injury is obviously extensive.

Taylor was drafted in sixth round by the Chiefs in 2007 and appeared in 18 games, including one start, from 2007-08. Taylor made the Denver Broncos active roster at the end of ’09 before training camp stints with the New York Giants in ’10 and Broncos again in ’11. Taylor had a work out with the Packers in early December, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In college, Taylor (6-4, 305) started 48 games at TCU and twice earned First-Team All-Mountain West honors.

He’ll wear No. 72.

It was interesting that Thompson choose Taylor, a player without a regular season home for two years, to be the guy that replaces Sherrod. Names such as Mark Tauscher and Chris Campbell, a member of the Packers practice squad, have been thrown around since Sunday’s game as potential short-term replacements.

At this point, however, Thompson has earned the benefit of the doubt when selecting players. In just the past 12 or so months, Thompson has found street free agents such as Erik Walden and Howard Green, both of whom have contributed. And Thompson has plenty of tape available on Taylor from the past two preseasons, so the fact that he hasn’t been on a team in two years isn’t as troubling.

Besides, there’s no guarantees that a player like Tauscher, a veteran who can’t stay healthy, or Campbell, a young player still learning the ropes, were any better selections.

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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.

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.

11

April

2011 Draft Prep: Green Bay Packers Needs by Position – Offensive Line

In this next installment of our 2011 Draft Prep series looking at the Green Bay Packers’ needs by position, we are going to analyze how the offensive line positions currently stand. Strengths, weaknesses, depth, and uncertainties will all be examined to determine the urgency of need in regards to next season.

This series is meant to help us figure out the needs of the team and how the draft could be used to improve the weaker areas. While Ted Thompson largely uses the “best player available” (BPA) approach, his decision to trade up or down the board is affected by what position players he would prefer to have. Additionally, the picking up of players in the later rounds and in undrafted free agency is often based on need, since the talent is less defined.

CURRENT PLAYERS:

#63 Scott Wells [C]
30 yrs. old / 7 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#62 Evan Dietrich-Smith [C/G]
24 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#67 Nick McDonald [C/G]
23 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2012

#72 Jason Spitz [C/G]
28 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (no tender offered)

#71 Josh Sitton [G]
24 yrs. old / 3 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#64 Adrian Battles [G]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#73 Daryn Colledge [G]
29 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (tender offered)

#74 Marshall Newhouse [G/T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed through 2013

#70 T.J. Lang [T/G]
23 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#76 Chad Clifton [T]
34 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#65 Mark Tauscher [T]
33 yrs. old / 11 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#75 Bryan Bulaga [T]
22 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2014

#69 Chris Campbell [T]
24 yrs. old / 1 yr. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

* Contract information acquired from RotoWorld.com

POSITION STRENGTHS:

The offensive line as a unit has come a long way from its dismal 2009 performance. It still has its weak points, but overall the unit does a good job in pass protection.

26

July

Packers Undrafted Free Agent OL Nick McDonald & Chris Campbell Vying for a Roster Spot

In the third of this multi-part series, I will examine the  Green Bay Packers 2010 undrafted free agent offensive linemen (Nick McDonald and Chris Campbell) and their chances of making the 53-man roster or practice squad.

You can find Part 1 of this series (Wide Receivers) HERE
You can find Part 2 of this series (Running Backs) HERE

Will one of these offensive linemen spin the wheel of fortune and land a big jackpot or will they hit bankrupt and go away empty-handed?

In each of the last five  years, at least one UDFA has made the Packers’ 53-man roster. In 2009, it was offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith. Lets look at the 2010 UDFA OL candidates and evaluate their chances…

Part Three – OFFENSE – Offensive Linemen

Nick McDonald: Grand Valley State, 6’4”, 316lbs,  5.21 40yd time, 1.85 10yd time, 27” vertical, 27 reps@225lbs, and a 8’6” broad jump. He pulled a hamstring during his 40, so he could not participate in the short shuttle or cone drills.

Video:

Scouting Report: Quick and strong – often leads ‘around the corner’ on sweeps. 300+ pounds but still agile and able to get position on LB/DBs. Makes solid contact and destroys his opponent. Great footwork and mechanics in pass protection against some of D-II’s best pass rushers.
McDonald played special teams and multiple positions along the line during his career, making him a versatile player that should make a roster because of his versatility and ability to help in multiple positions.

Signed by Green Bay as a non-drafted free agent on April 30, 2010… A four-year letterman, he played in 44 games with 29 starts during his career at Grand Valley State (Allendale, Mich.)… Started all 15 games at LT for the Lakers as a senior, and was named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Lineman of the Year… Was named Division 2 first team All-American, Helped the Lakers rush for 227.5 yards per game (11th in the country) and have two RBs eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the season… Anchored a line that allowed only 0.6 sacks per game, which ranked No. 3 in the nation… Earned second-team All-GLIAC honors as a junior in 2008 when he started all 12 games at RG… McDonald had a better 40 time then top guard prospects, Iupati, Petrus, Johnson, Beadles.  Only Iupati had a better 10 yard time at 1.84 seconds.

17

May

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.

SHAWN GORE/WR/BISHOP’S U/ 6’0/200

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.