15

May

Packers Rookie Bio: LB Dezman Moses

Dezman Moses

Rookie OLB Dezman Moses

Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers have signed a total of 27 rookies to contracts within the past week. Eight of those were his 2012 NFL Draft picks, while the other 19 were undrafted free agents picked up immediately after the draft or brought in as tryout players during Rookie Orientation Camp. With the roster now at a full 90 players, it’s time to get to know some of these new faces.

First up is outside linebacker Dezman Moses.

Born on Jan. 4, 1989,  Dezman Mirrill Moses hails from Willingboro, N.J., where he played wide receiver and inside linebacker at Willingboro High. He was named first-team all-county, all-conference and All-South Jersey as a senior, when he hauled in 35 passes for 596 yards and 10 touchdowns as a wideout while recording 87 tackles and five interceptions – including two returned for touchdowns. Dezman is the son of Vernon and Valerie Moses and brother to two sisters, Lauren and Shaina.

Moses graduated with scholarship offers in basketball, football and baseball. He made the decision to play football at the University of Iowa, but transferred after two seasons to Tulane in 2009 and sat out that fall per the transfer rule.

Making an immediate impact as left defensive end with the Green Wave, Moses would go on to record 114 tackles, 24 1/2 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, six forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered across two season. In 2011, he led Tulane’s defensive line in total stops and ranked fifth overall in tackles. Moses ranked third among C-USA players and 17th nationally in sacks. His 15.5 sacks in two seasons ranks fifth among Tulane’s career leaders, and his sack total in 2011 ranks third all-time.

Moses was also suspended by Tulane coach Bob Toledo for the first two games of 2010 for a prior incident of public intoxication.

At 6-2, 239 lbs., Dezman Moses’ lowest recorded 40-yd. time was 4.82 on his Pro Day, and he benched 225 ponds 22 times. Based on his body type, he was projected as 3-4 outside linebacker, which is where the Packers currently have him.

29

April

Tracking the Packers 2012 UDFA Signings: Undrafted Free Agents

Packers GM Ted Thompson NFL Draft

Hmmmmm, how many wide receivers can I find?

Here is the complete list of the Packers’2012 UDFA (undrafted free agent) signings, complete with rankings, 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.

Dale Moss, WR, South Dakota St – 6’3″ 220lbs, 4.39 40yd dash time -

Was the 30th ranked wide receiver with a “preferred free agent” grade by NFL Scouting.  At his Pro day, also had a 41.5 inch vertical, had a 10’10 broad jump. In 2011, caught 61 passes for 949 yards and 6 TDs in 10 games.

 

Darius Reynolds, WR, Iowa State – 6’0″ 209lbs, 4.54 40yd dash time -

Was the 79th ranked wide receiver with a “camp invitee” grade by NFL Scouting. In 2011, caught 43 passes for 695 yards and 7 TDs in 11 games.

 

Marcus Rivers, WR, Buffalo – 6’0″ 212lbs, 4.61 40yd dash time -

Was the 73rd ranked wide receiver with a “camp invitee” grade by NFL Scouting. In 2011, caught 60 passes for 615 yards and 2 TDs in 12 games.

 

Nic Cooper, FB, Winston-Salem State – 5’10″ 249lbs, 4.73 40yd dash time -

Was the 51st ranked fullback with a “camp invitee” grade by NFL Scouting.

 

Marc Tyler, RB, USC – 5″10″ 219lbs, 4.70 40yd dash time -

Was the 39th ranked running back with a “free agent” grade by NFL Scouting. He battled a shoulder injury as a senior (seven starts in 10 games), finishing second on the team with 568 yards on 122 rushes (4.7) and four touchdowns, adding 11 catches for 108 yards (9.8). Tyler is a downhill athlete who runs behind his pads with balance and fluidity, but lacks the explosiveness and big-play ability needed for the next level. He entered a crowded backfield at USC and almost transitioned to linebacker, which is a credit to his natural size and body strength as he fights for as many yards as he can get. Tyler is a solid athlete with the frame, vision, toughness and determination to play in the NFL, but his durability concerns and inconsistent ability to give his team steady production will knock him down draft boards. Tyler looks like a late-round/free agent running back who will need to stay healthy if he has any hopes of playing professionally.

15

April

Bridesmaids of the NFL Draft: Late Round or UDFA Prospects to Keep an Eye On

NFL Draft Logo ImageFrom the end of the NFL season and through the draft we see the big name prospects dominating coverage.  Getting those top picks right or wrong impact teams for years.

Everyone wants the next Clay Matthews or the next Aaron Rodgers. Fans want to see that kind of player fall into place.

To be honest, by the time the draft comes around I have had enough of   those players.

You can only guess so many times where those top 20 or so players are going to go and it just gets boring.  So I am going to peek at the bottom of the draft instead.

When you review the rosters top to bottom in the NFL, starters, backups, practice squads there are hundreds of undrafted players. Last year 61 new undrafted players made NFL rosters.

Every year teams sign ten to fifteen UDFA’s in feeding frenzy that takes place the minute the draft ends to try get the best of the rest.

The Packers at this time have twenty seven UDFA’s on their roster, with eight of them starting games last year.

I admit I’m a big fan of the late round pick and UDFA’s.  If you are lucky enough to get to a practice, Packer family night or a pre season game it might be the only time you get to see some these players.

Some you see are not going to make it at all. Others you see how bad they want it. And some you wonder why that player was not drafted.

You don’t know who that next Donald Driver or Tramon Williams is going to be. Ted Thompson has four picks in the 7th round this year. That gives him a leg up on signing the best of the late rounder’s and UDFA’s.

For all the draft prospects I look for there are a few simple rules that I go by.  I like seniors more then prospects coming out early. I like prospects with a minimum of 2 years starting experience and stats that show continued improvement in production. And last do they have the god given physical talents to compete at the NFL level.

Taking into account the defensive performance this last year…

I’ll start with a few prospects for the defensive side of the ball:

9

August

Will Any of the 2011 Undrafted Free Agents Make the Packers 53-Man Roster?

Green Bay Packers 2011 Undrafted Free Agents - UDFAs

It probably goes without saying that the 2011 Green Bay Packers should have a deep, talented roster.

That was likely the case before the last season begun, too, and it was proven time and time again during the course of the season when 15 players went to IR. Because of that talent and depth in the roster, the Packers were able to overcome the injuries and win the Super Bowl.

Heading into this season, the Packers only lost a handful of players from that run. The list of players from 2010 playing elsewhere this year: Cullen Jenkins (Eagles), Nick Barnett (Bills), Brandon Jackson (Browns), Daryn Colledge (Cardinals), Jason Spitz (Jaguars), Korey Hall (Saints) and Brady Poppinga (Rams). Brandon Chillar, Mark Tauscher, Anthony Smith, Atari Bigby, Matt Wilhelm, Justin Harrell and Derrick Martin are currently free agents without a team.

From those names, only Jenkins, Jackson, Colledge, Spitz and Hall were with the team the entire season. All the others were either mid-season pickups or went on IR at some point during the year. The point here is that the Packers found adequate replacements for the rest of the players listed, somewhat nullifying their impact on this year’s roster.

It’s a testament to GM Ted Thompson and his team of scouts, as they have done a terrific job of identifying talent, regardless of which avenue they’ve taken to acquire it.

However, the impressive depth of the Packers 2011 roster could mean that Thompson has to back off a strategy he’s used so well in recent years: keeping an undrafted free agent or two on the 53-man roster.

The lockout robbed many of them of valuable time during summer practices, but it’s also forcing both the UDFA’s and Thompson to make quick evaluations during training camp.

The players have had to learn an entire playbook quickly and still impress coaches with their play on the practice field. As if they were already behind, who do you think lost out the most from Saturday’s rainout at Family Night? These guys. Only the No.1 offense and No. 2 defense got any reps in team action. Typically, the scrimmage is just another critical evaluation period for the bottom of the roster. But that didn’t happen Saturday night, as storms called off the practice just 30 minutes or so in.

25

July

Packers Sign South Carolina WR Tori Gurley

The Green Bay Packers signed South Carolina wide receiver Tori Gurley Monday night, following up their acquistion of Utah kick returner Shaky Smithson.

Gurley didn’t make an official visit to the Packers before the draft. At 6-4, 220 pounds, Gurley is an imposing receiver who surprised some by coming out after just his redshirt sophomore season. At the NFL combine, Gurley ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, the 20-yard dash in 2.67 and the 10 in 1.62. He also benched 225 pounds 15 times and had a vertical leap of 33.5 inches. He chose not to run at his pro day in March.

College summary

Gurley certainly didn’t light up the stat book in his two years at South Carolina. He caught just 31 passes for 440 yards and two touchdowns in his redshirt freshman season, and he followed that up with 44 catches for 465 yards and four touchdowns the next season. Joe Schad of ESPN did state that Gurley was “one of the most sure-handed receivers in the nation with no drops the entire season.”

During the 2010 season, Gurley had one of the best games in South Carolina’s receiving history. He caught 13 passes (one short of the school record) for 109 yards and a touchdown. But for most of his career at South Carolina, Gurley was stuck behind likely 2012 first rounder Alshon Jeffrey and his production lagged behind.

Commentary

From a purely physical standpoint, Gurley looks the part of a NFL receiver. At 6-4 and 220 pounds, Gurley would appear to be a size mismatch for any cornerback and a legitimate red zone threat. He’s trimmed down from his playing weight of 233 pounds, and at the combine, he told reporters that the lost weight helped him increase his speed. If that’s the case, he could be a scary option down the road.

But even with the physical traits, it’s hard to look past the lack of production at South Carolina. He had one of the premier receivers opposite him, and he wasn’t able to take advantage of the mismatches that likely created for him. And though he’s almost 24 years old, Gurley had just two years of playing time with the Gamecocks.

25

July

Packers Sign Utah WR/KR Shaky Smithson

The Green Bay Packers have signed Utah wide receiver and returner Shaky Smithson to a deal Monday night, kicking off the undrafted free agent signing period that followed today’s agreement on a new CBA.

Smithson was scouted throughly by the Packers pre-draft, as he was one of 12 players who made an official visit with the Green Bay before April’s NFL draft. At his pro day in Utah, Smithson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, the 20-yard dash in 2.71 and the 10 in 1.65. He also put up 10 reps at 225 pounds and had a vertical leap of 30.5 inches.

Shaky Smithson College summary

Smithson is listed as a receiver but he made his name at Utah as one of the more dynamic returners in the NCAA. While he started just four games on offense and caught only 25 passes for 383 yards his senior year, Smithson’s 19.1 yards per punt return and four 100-yard punt return games led the nation.

He also returned two punts for touchdowns and was 24th in the nation in kick return average (24.1 yards). His 2010 totals on punt returns broke the Mountain West record for a season. For his efforts, Smithson was named second team All-Mountain West in 2010.

Commentary

Smithson is an electrifying return man, but the Packers drafted Randall Cobb in the second round and it’s widely believed that he’ll be the main returner on both punts and kicks. If Cobb has a larger role in the offense than previously expected, Smithson could be asked to be the primary returner. The Packers have been desperate to help their return game for the better part of a decade.

But like any undrafted free agent, Smithson has to be considered a long shot to make the team. He won’t contribute much as a slot receiver, and the Packers haven’t generally kept players who are one dimensional on the roster. Unless Smithson has developed some kind of offensive game, that’d be exactly what he is.

In all likeliness, Smithson will need a terrific camp and some errors from Cobb in the return game to warrant a roster spot.

Video highlights

 

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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.

24

July

Top Ten 2011 Undrafted Free Agents on Offense NFL Teams will be Targeting – (Whenever that happens)

World Champion Packers and Other NFL Teams Will be Eying these Rookie Free Agents

In anticipation of a new CBA being in place by the end of this week, I wanted to give you all a reminder of some good players who never heard their name called in the April NFL DRAFT. Much of the attention in the next couple of weeks will be on Veteran free Agent signings, as 1/4 of the league’s players are eligible to sign wherever they can find work offers. But for a lot of teams like the PACKERS, STEELERS, BENGALS, etc. the search will be on for a few good men who probably should have been drafted, and will scratch out an NFL career the hard way.

If you doubt the effectiveness of finding good players through this process please remember that the Super Bowl champion PACKERS were starting 2 such rookies at the end of last season in SAM SHIELDS & FRANK ZOMBO. A little luck, some patience, good coaching & skilled eyes in the Personnel Dept. can bring good value to an NFL roster at very little initial cost. And it appears that there will indeed be a Salary Cap to struggle with in the new CBA.

 

PAT DEVLIN/QB/DELAWARE/6’3/225 Yes, I had him ranked way down at slot 243 on my prospect list. Which means i didn’t see him as an immediate prospect to start in the NFL. But he has some attributes that make him worth a roster spot in a training Camp. Some recent performance institute testing has revealed that he has a quick release, and a very accurate delivery. He may be more than the dink-and-dunk QB he appeared to be for the Blue Hens much of the time. He needs some TLC from a QB guru, but if he can be stashed on a Practice Squad for a couple of years he might develop into an NFL player. And don’t discount the fact that he fits the physical norm for an NFL QB.