Green Bay Packers linebacker Andy Mulumba takes part in Friday's training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field. Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media
It’s almost a given at least one undrafted rookie will make the Packers’ final roster, and perhaps more – 11 have made final cuts at the end of camp the last four years combined. The best undrafted rookie so far this year is Andy Mulumba, who’s giving himself a fighting chance to make it as the No. 4 or 5 outside linebacker. Mulumba (6-feet-3 and 260 pounds) is making the transition from a hand-on-the-ground defensive end at Eastern Michigan to a standup player in the Packers’ 3-4 defense. He’s more of a power player for his new position, in the Nick Perry mode, but he’s also showing some athletic ability in coverage also. "I thought (Mulumba) jumped out in the spring,” coach Mike McCarthy said after practice Friday night. “It’s been no different since he put the pads on. I think he’s an excellent fit for our defense. He plays with excellent leverage with his long leverage. He has a nasty streak to him.” In Friday night’s practice, Mulumba showed decent coverage skills when he glued onto running back Eddie Lacy and forced a high incompletion on a swing pass on third-and-five. Mulumba hasn’t won much as a pass rusher in one-on-one drills – he’s 1-6, with his win over Marshall Newhouse and losses to Don Barclay (twice), Newhouse, David Bakhtiari (twice) and Kevin Hughes. But Mulumba overpowered Lacy in a one-on-one blitz pickup period Friday. The Packers’ roster locks at outside linebacker are Clay Matthews, Perry and Dezman Moses. Mulumba has been the next most impressive player at that spot, though sixth-round pick Nate Palmer returned to practice Friday night after missing two practices because of a shoulder injury. If Mulumba keeps this up and then he plays well on special teams, he could be in great position to make the final 53 instead of the practice squad.
So far in camp, the ball-security issues have been on shotgun snaps and fumbles by receivers after catches. But on Friday night Alex Green had the first fumble by a running back in a padded practice this camp when defensive lineman Johnny Jolly stripped him and the defense recovered. “Good play for the defense, bad play for the offense,” McCarthy said. “I thought it was a good play by Johnny. It’s unacceptable by Alex.” Green is in a battle for what could be four roster spots at halfback. Draft picks Lacy and Johnathan Franklin are locks, and the other two spots probably will come down to Green, James Starks and DuJuan Harris. Harris hasn’t practiced yet in camp, and if he ends up missing three or four weeks because of his knee injury, his chances will be in jeopardy. Green has looked a little faster and more explosive now that he’s in his second season back from knee-reconstruction surgery, but fumbles are a good way to move down the depth chart.
Did you notice?
• Davon House was the cornerback opposite Sam Shields in the Packers’ No. 1 defense Friday night, and Micah Hyde was the nickel back. With Tramon Williams out, Hyde had been playing the starting spot recently. House has practiced four days since returning from an ear infection.
• Defensive lineman Mike Daniels continues to stand out in one-on-one rushing. He went 3-1 Friday night with wins over Greg Van Roten and Kevin Hughes (twice), and he even had good push in his loss to Garth Gerhart. Daniels unofficially is 9-8 in one-on-ones for camp.
• Jolly had a tough night in one-on-ones. He went 0-for-5.
• When starting linebacker Brad Jones dropped out of practice because of a finger injury, rookie Sam Barrington replaced him in the base defense.
• In a two-minute drill that ended practice Friday, Aaron Rodgers led the No. 1 offense on a 70-yard touchdown drive in 36 seconds. The touchdown came on a 15-yard pass to tight end Jermichael Finley down the middle seam against safety Jerron McMillian.