28

April

Tracking the Packers 2013 Undrafted Free Agent Signings (UDFA)

Ted Thompson on the Prowl

Must… Find… Hidden… Gems…

The 2013 NFL draft is in the books but this is when Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson’s dirty work is just beginning.  Thompson has forged a reputation for being a huge proponent of using undrafted free agency to find some hidden gems.  Some examples of those past finds are Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, M.D. Jennings, Don Barclay and Dezman Moses, to name a few.

Here is the complete list of the Packers’ 2012 UDFA (undrafted free agent) signings, complete with height, weight and 40 yard dash times. We will be continually updating the list with additional player information or adding new signings, so check back in throughout the day.

Matt Brown, QB, Illinois State – 6’3″ 223lbs, 4.87 40yd dash time -

Took over as the starter in his freshman season, compiling a 93.1 NFL passer rating across the next four years. Completed 928 of 1,456 passes (63.7%) for 10,596 yards, 78 touchdowns, and 36 interceptions. At his Pro Day, also had a 41.5 inch vertical, had a 10’10 broad jump.

Ben Ericksen, S, Illinois State – 6’1″ 194lbs, 4.51 40yd dash time -

Played all four years at Illinois State, starting out as a wide receiver before converting to a safety in his second year. Was also used as a kick returner each year. In his senior year, had seven interceptions. At his Pro Day, scored 16 bench reps, 36.5″ vertical, 10’02″ broad jump, 4.22s shuttle, and 6.85s 3-cone.

Patrick Lewis, G, Texas A&M – 6’1″ 311lbs, 5.30 40yd dash time -

Started 52 games in college and earned three All-Big 12 selections. Visited the Packers prior to the draft. At his Pro day, scored 25 bench reps, 29″ vertical, 8’0″ broad jump, 4.93s shuttle, and 8.01s 3-cone.

Andy Mulumba, OLB, Eastern Michigan – 6’3″ 260lbs, 4.82 40yd dash time -

A hybrid pass rusher with experience in both two and three point stance, Mulumba doesn’t have great burst or speed, but he shows good awareness vs. the run with some upside. – Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

Angelo Pease, RB, Kansas State – 5’10″ 211lbs, 4.50 40yd dash time -

Saw action in 10 games in 2011, including a start against Texas A&M… Rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns… Rushed five times for 33 yards and his first career touchdown against No. 15 Baylor… Set career highs in both rushes (8) and yards (61) at Kansas.  Pease did a little of everything during his collegiate career, playing quarterback in wildcat situations, running back and even a little wide receiver.  He’s listed as a running back, but theoretically could play any of those positions.

10

May

Packers Undrafted Free Agents: Running Backs

Duane Bennett

Minnesota Gophers RB and Packers undrafted free agent Duane Bennett.

If you’re looking for a position group on the Packers roster that might be infiltrated by an undrafted free agent, running back is a strong possibility.

Ryan Grant is likely gone, James Starks can’t stay healthy, Alex Green is coming off a bad knee injury and Brandon Saine is unproven. Here’s a look at the Packers 2012 undrafted free agent running backs and why they might have a shot at making the team.

Duane Bennett, RB, Minnesota
Height: 5-9
Weight: 213 pounds
Pro Day Results: 40-yd. dash — 4.62; 20-yd dash — 2.70; 10-yd. dash — 1.56; 225-lb. bench reps — 28; Vertical jump — 35.5″; Broad jump — 10’00″; 20-yd shuttle — 4.16; 3-cone drill — 6.92.
Career Notes: Finished with 2,126 rushing yards, 13th in Gophers history. … 639 rushing yards on 166 carries (3.85 avg.) senior season. … 96-yard kickoff return for TD against Wisconsin week 10 of senior season. … Blocked a punt and returned it for TD senior season. … Earned freshman All-Big Ten honors. … Sophomore season ended after two games due to knee injury.

Overview
Because I live in Minnesota, I get a chance to see the Gophers play on a regular basis. The Gophers are usually a chore to watch, but they had a few intriguing teams under Glen Mason. Using offensive lineman that were a bit undersized but extremely mobile, Mason built the Gophers’ offense around a running game that featured guys like Marion Barber III, Laurence Maroney, Thomas Hamner and Gary Russell.

After Mason left, the Gophers went from being a mediocre team that was somewhat fun to watch to a terrible team that is painful to watch. Those impressive offensive lines and dynamic running backs now seem like a distant memory, especially the offensive lines. Just ask Duane Bennett.

Bennett was recruited by Mason and kept his committment to the Gophers after Mason was fired. Because Bennett was a Mason recruit, and because Minnesota’s offensive line has been abysmal in the post-Mason era, I have some hope that Bennett might be a better player than his college stats indicate.

Bennett is strong, his 28 bench press reps at Minnesota’s pro day would’ve tied for the most among running back at the NFL combine. He’s also overcome a serious knee injury and makes an impact on special teams. He looked indecisive at times in college, but it was hard to tell if he was actually indecisivie or if the Gophers line was so bad that he just didn’t know what to do with himself.