Profiles: Packers' undrafted free agents
GREEN BAY – Here is a look at the rookie free agents for the Green Bay Packers. There has been no announcement from the team. In each case, players must pass a medical examination before signing a contract.
An unlimited number of rookies also have been invited by the Packers to try out for the team during its three-day rookie orientation camp that begins Friday. Those players probably will be competing for a couple berths on the 90-man off-season roster.
DONATELLO BROWN, CB, Valdosta State
Basics: From Homestead, Fla. Played 10 games in 2011 before being declared academically ineligible. Worked a series of jobs (fast food, auto repair) in Atlanta for two years before returning to school in 2014. Three-year starter for the Division II Blazers with 45 tackles and 3 interceptions. Needs three classes to graduate.
Measurables: 5 feet 11½ inches, 190 pounds, 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds. Vertical jump of 33 inches, broad jump of 10 feet, 2 inches. Bench-pressed 225 pounds 12 times. Score of 14 on the 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test. Arms measured 31 7/8 inches, hands were 8 7/8 inches. Age is 25.
Brown: “There was another team, the Redskins, but they really weren’t sold on another tall corner. They wanted more of a nickel back guy so we went ahead and took the offer with Green Bay. … I didn’t take school serious my first part of college so I had to sit out two years. It was the worst two years of my life. I was working at Little Caesar’s, a place called Smash Burger. I had something taken away that I loved. … I’m just a genuine guy who has faced a lot of adversity and is just thankful for another opportunity to play football. Not a troublemaker. Just an overall good guy. I play the game with passion. I’m more of an in-your-face, bump-and-run guy.”
NFC scout: “Interesting guy. Long journey in college. Older guy. He runs 4.5.”
JOHNATHAN CALVIN, OLB, Mississippi State
Basics: From Jackson, Miss. Played two seasons in junior college before joining the Bulldogs. Started one of 13 games as a DE in a 4-3 defense in 2015, then 10 of 13 games as both a DE and an OLB in a 3-4 defense in ’16. Also used extensively as an inside rusher on passing downs. Finished with 82 tackles (17 for loss) and 8 ½ sacks, including 7 last year. Green Bay was one of four teams that he visited. Said about 15 clubs called during or after the draft. Worst injury was a stinger suffered Oct. 22 that he said “caused me to lose strength in my arm. I kept playing (but) things kind of went downhill from there.” Signing bonus of $5,000.
Measurables: 6-3, 275, 4.88. Vertical jump of 34, broad jump of 9-7, 19 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 11. Arms were 33 ½, hands were 9 3/8. Added nine pounds since pro day March 22.
Calvin: “I was teammates with Beniquez (Brown). He went to Green Bay last year. He was telling me how things were, that the guys were cool and helped you with things. Every place is not like that. It’s a good (place) for me coming in and making the team … They’re definitely getting a pass rusher. I’m going to get after the quarterback. They’ll see that if we do one-on-one’s this weekend. I can take the edge, and I can bull rush. I can stop the run, too. Just because I feel I have an advantage over tight ends when I’m outside because of how big I am.”
NFC scout: “Above average athlete. He still is learning. There’s some uncertainty and lack of urgency in his play that comes off as slow twitch. There’s some times where he shows you good closing burst and twitch when he’s at outside backer. It just wasn’t enough. Plays with good enough toughness. You really don’t see this kid unleash any violence on the field.”
NFC scout: “Straight-line athlete. He (played) up and down there. Might have a chance.”
MICHAEL CLARK, WR, Marshall
Basics: From St. Petersburg, Fla. Quit football two weeks into his sophomore year of high school to concentrate on basketball. Played 12 games on the court for St. Francis (Pa.) in the 2014-15 season (6 points) before deciding to play football at Marshall. Spent 2015 as a walk-on redshirt before catching 37 passes for 632 yards (17.1) and 5 touchdowns in ’16. Declared for the draft a year early. Only pre-draft visit was Minnesota.
Measurables: 6-5½, 215, 4.53. Vertical jump of 33, broad jump of 10-6, 17 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 15. Arms were 32 7/8, hands were 9 3/8.
Clark: “I’m still very, very, very raw. I haven’t played a lot of football, obviously. The upside, I guess, is what my appeal is. My height is very rare. I can move. I can play inside or outside. … I’m a big fan of LeBron (James) and I guess that was my inspiration for choosing basketball. I dropped everything and gave football another chance. … It’s everybody’s dream to be a professional athlete. In Green Bay, I get a chance. It’s like the Yankees in football. They’re always winning. Just a great organization to start in. I had options but the situation at Green Bay was bar none.”
NFC scout: “Looks pretty, runs OK and can catch. I don’t think he’s got the mentality. He’s got no chance.”
AFC scout: “Very raw route runner. Will need to be more consistent off the line. Likes to leave his feet catching the football, especially in the middle. Does a good job tracking the ball downfield. Makes some impressive catches for only playing college football for one season.”
MONTAY CROCKETT, WR, Georgia Southern
Basics: From Rock Hill, S.C. Redshirted in 2012 before backing up from 2013-15 in a triple-option offense. Started as a senior in a new shotgun spread offense and had by far his best season. Finished with 32 receptions for 535 (16.7) and 3 TDs. Also returned 30 kickoffs (21.3) and 12 punts (10.4).
Measurables: 5-11½, 193, 4.39 at pro day March 30. Several weeks earlier, he reportedly clocked 4.25 at a regional pro day in New Orleans. Vertical jump of 38, broad jump of 10-11, 18 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 9. Arms were 31½, hands were 8 5/8.
Crockett: “My mom (Mary) passed away from stomach cancer (summer, 2015) and I didn’t want to play football anymore. I dedicate everything to her. This is what she would want for me. … I understand Randall Cobb is up there. Jordy Nelson. (Davante) Adams. I feel they’re guys I can learn from. … As far as my stats, the opportunities I got, I took full advantage. I had no drops, I promise. Everything that was thrown my way I looked it in. Like you don’t get too many opportunities in that Georgia Southern offense. … I feel like I’m a dynamic player. Team leader on and off the field. Great ball skills, great route runner. This is my passion. This is the opportunity I want and this is the opportunity I’m going to go get.”
AFC scout: “Little tight in his ankles. Bit of a linear build. Has very good speed down the field. Smaller built with good quickness and change of direction. Average body control.”
THOMAS EVANS, G, Richmond
Basics: From Franklin, N.C., described by Evans as “being in the middle of nowhere.” Redshirted in 2012, backup and goal-line TE in ’13, had about 50 percent playing time at RG in ’14 and started at RG in 2015-’16. Played in a variety of offenses. Made no pre-draft visits. Grandfather, Frank Lasky, was drafted in the second round as a tackle by the Giants in 1963. Signing bonus of $5,000.
Measurables: 6-3, 310, 5.15. Vertical jump of 30, broad jump of 9-4, 27 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 18. Remarkable weight lifter. Bests include 525 bench press, 690 squat and 425 power clean.
Evans: “I’m actually considered the strongest guy to come through the University of Richmond. I say that in the humblest way possible. I’m a big fan of the weight room. … I know I’m not the tallest guy or perhaps the quickest guy. I think I’m decently athletic. I think the strength I bring is my strength. I’m just a driven guy. I love getting down, particularly in the run game, just trying to bash some heads around sort of deal. … You don’t have to worry about me getting into trouble or anything. Coming from a small school, none of us really got in trouble. Never have to worry about an arrest record or anything like that.”
NFC scout: “Limited athlete. Stiff. Very smart. Small-area player. Just tries to grab on defenders and wrestle them. Just doesn’t have enough length and size to hold up. Very tough kid who plays hard but doesn’t have enough traits to stay alive.”
GEOFF GRAY, G, Manitoba (Can.)
Basics: From Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada). Enrolled as a defensive lineman and redshirted before being shifted to the offensive line. Played mostly guard in 2013-14, RT in ’15 and RG in ’16. Only pre-draft visit was Green Bay. Never has undergone surgery. Never had a major injury. Played in the East-West Shrine Game. Expected to be an early selection in the Canadian Football League draft Sunday but is committed to a career in the NFL.
Measurables: 6-5½, 315, 5.34. Vertical jump of 31, broad jump of 9-6, 25 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 29. Arms were 34, hands were 9 ¾.
Gray: “The 49ers were coming on strong at the end but I just went with my gut and here I am with the Packers. Going on a visit there definitely factored into my decision. … I’m definitely an aggressive player. X’s and O’s are one thing; you need to know what you’re doing. But if you’re not playing to dominate the guys across from you then you’re not going to have that extra edge as an offensive lineman. … I felt like I belonged physically (at the East-West). Obviously, I had stuff to learn. It was the first time I ever played American football. I felt like I improved as the week went on.”
AFC scout: “Combination of size and length. Seems to have outstanding lean mass in carrying his weight. Very good athlete. Shows feet, quickness and overall agility. Questionable balance and body control at times. Shows good pass set. Good anchor on power. Good ankle flex. Can bend and sink his weight and lose ground slowly. Has position flex. “
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CODY HEIMAN, ILB, Washburn
Basics: From Baileyville, Kan., where his high-school graduating class was 16 and he played eight-man football. Four-sport prep standout with a 6-8 high jump. Suffered a mid-foot sprain in 2012 and took a medical redshirt. Started two of 11 games for the Division II Ichabods as a RB. Started every game at ILB from 2014-16. Finished with 251 tackles (16½ for loss) and 5 picks; also rushed for 426 yards in ’13. Made no visits but was worked out on campus by Alonzo Dotson, a Packers scout. Signing bonus of $5,000.
Measurables: 6-1½, 235, 4.63. Vertical jump of 36, broad jump of 10-2, an outstanding 31 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 33. Arms were 30¾, hands were 9¼.
Heiman: “I think I’m great sideline to sideline. I feel like I’m athletic enough that I have good drops, too. Those are two of my biggest strengths. … If I didn’t think I could do it I wouldn’t be here trying, I can tell you that. … About half the teams wanted me at fullback and half wanted me at linebacker. I’ll just do whatever is best for the team. …. I had a couple teams call me but all in all I felt the best situation for me was in Green Bay. I know their history with undrafted free agents. I was kind of looking at the Vikings, too.”
NFC scout: “Like him. He’s athletic. Not real big but he’s got some length. He can run. Needs to get more physical. Questionable instincts. Might be a guy you can convert to fullback because he is athletic and he’s tough.”
AFC scout: “We projected him to fullback. He’s an undersized player who had a great workout. He’s very stiff in his hips. Lacks change of direction to get off the spot against the run. He’s a chase-the-ball kind of guy. Struggles to diagnose. Doesn’t play downhill. Will get engulfed by blockers.”
TAYSOM HILL, QB, Brigham Young
Basics: From Pocatello, Idaho. Will turn 27 in August. Served an LDS mission to Sydney, Australia, before enrolling. Started in 2012 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Returned to start all of ’13, rushing for 1,344 yards in a zone-read spread system with Packers draftee Jamaal Williams at RB. His ’14 season was ended in Game 5 by a broken fibula and ligament damage in his ankle. His ’15 season was ended in the opener by a Lisfranc foot injury that required surgery. Started all of ’16 before suffering a triceps tendon injury in his elbow in the regular-season finale that required surgery. Finished with an NFL passer rating of 79.5 (58.2% completion mark) and 2,812 yards rushing (5.3) and 32 TDs. Played in a pro-style offense in 2016 coordinated by former Packers QB Ty Detmer. Made pre-draft visit to Green Bay.
Measurables: 6-2, 225, 4.45. Vertical jump of 38 ½, broad jump of 10-2 and Wonderlic of 17. Arms were 31, hands were 8 7/8.
Hill: “I refused multiple calls when the draft was over. Green Bay was at the top of my list. I sat down with (Alex) Van Pelt for about an hour. I think he’d be a really good guy to play for. … I’m very confident in my ability to throw the football. That’s not a concern of mine. … I’ve caught a lot of grief because I’ve had a number of injuries because I’m a mobile guy and I do run around a little bit. My answer was I’ll always do what it takes to win games. I’ll lay it all on the line. … “The Lisfranc was the most time-consuming to come back from. From all the injuries I’ve been able to get back to full health. At pro day I wanted to showcase what I could do. I’m 100 percent.”
NFC scout: “I don’t think he’s a quarterback nor do I think he’s an athlete. He can run around. I don’t know where they’re going to play him. I just don’t think he can throw well enough from the pocket.”
AFC scout: “He’s really athletic. Had a great pro day. He’s eight years out of high school. Good leader, smart, athletic, tough. Doesn’t have enough arm talent to play in the NFL. Above average feet. Doesn’t have enough toughness to stand in the pocket under pressure. Really question if he has skill to push the ball down the field and his accuracy on deep-ball throws. His greatest strength is his athleticism. He’s going to break up. He’s oft-injured.”
IZAAH LUNSFORD, NT, Bowling Green
Basics: From Cincinnati. Redshirted in 2012, played as a backup from 2013-15 and started at NT in ’16. Finished with 91 tackles and 3 ½ sacks. Made pre-draft visit to Green Bay. Played under four defensive coordinators and on two Mid-American Conference championship teams. Missed one game due to injury.
Measurables: 6-3½, 315, 5.13. Vertical jump of 28, broad jump of 8-4, 28 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 27. Arms were 32, hands were 9 5/8.
Lunsford: “I was young and one day I was listening to one of Ray Lewis’ motivational speeches. It was about effort, effort, effort, effort. You can coach talent but you can’t coach effort. If you don’t have effort you don’t have anything. … I have a never-quit mentality. You can be better than me, faster than me, stronger than me, but you will never outwork me. That’s what I bring to the table. … I thought I had a shot (to be drafted) with my high motor and level I played at. … I’ve been working on staying low. I’m getting better at it.”
NFC scout: “Big man with average athleticism and agility. Poor balance. He lacks a counter move and is ineffective as a rusher. Size prospect only. Lacks consistency in his play.”
NFC scout: “Big, strong kid. He might have a chance at the practice squad. He can move.”
ADAM PANKEY, G, West Virginia
Basics: From Hamilton, Ohio. Redshirted in 2012, backed up in ’13 and started from 2014-16. Manned LT in ’14, LG in ’15 and both LG and LT in ’16. Was suspended for the opener last season after a DUI arrest in August when he flipped his car in a late-night crash. Originally committed to Pittsburgh, when he weighed 350. Selected Green Bay, where he visited, among offers from Denver, San Francisco and Atlanta. Suffered a torn ACL early in career.
Measurables: 6-4½, 312, 5.31. Vertical jump of 28, broad jump of 9-5 and Wonderlic of 22. Arms were 34, hands were a large 10 5/8.
Pankey: “Football has just been a great opportunity for me to further my education with a degree. Now I have an opportunity to hopefully make it my job. Football has just been everything for me. … Don Barclay’s up there. He’s a West Virginia guy. There was some sort of comfort level up there. Knowing the offensive line was a need up there, it just felt right. … We ran spread zone. We pulled, had trap plays. I’m a team-oriented guy that just loves to win.”
AFC scout: “Lacks athletic ability. Slow foot athlete. More of a waist-bender. Stiff through his upper body. Really struggled this year at tackle with speed off the edge. Had a nice week at the East-West Game. Looked a bit more powerful and comfortable at guard.”
AARON PECK, TE, Fresno State
Basics: From Riverside, Calif. Played WR all five years. Made two starts in both 2012 and ’13 and 10 more in ’14 on offenses that included QB Derek Carr and WR Davante Adams. Missed entire ’15 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his foot. Returned to start in ’16. Finished with 92 catches for 1,206 (13.1) and 6 TDs.
Measurables: 6-2½, 239, 4.68. Vertical jump of 36½, broad jump of 9-7, 22 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 31. Arms were 33 1/8, hands were 9 1/2.
Peck: “The Chiefs called as well but the Packers called as soon as the draft was over. We knew the Packers were interested because they flew me in on a visit. Once they called it was pretty much a done deal. … In college, I was a big receiver who was physical but quick at the same time. I can play outside or the slot, wherever you need me to catch the ball. … I’m excited for it (tight end). New challenge for me. It’s going to be some extra work. … I’ve been working from a three-point stance on a lot of blocking stuff. You’re basically getting a hard worker who’s willing to do whatever he can for the team.”
NFC scout: “Bigger wide receiver you might make into a move tight end.”
NFC scout: “Big-bodied possession receiver. Has the ability to create size mismatches on the outside. We thought he was a tight end.”
KALIF PHILLIPS, RB, Charlotte
Basics: From Kannapolis, N.C. Rushed for 716 yards as a reserve in 2013 before starting 31 of 33 games played from 2014-16. Finished with a whopping 737 carries for 4,020 (5.5) and 41 TDs to go with 46 catches for 484 (10.4) and two TDs. Underwent shoulder surgery for a torn labrum after his freshman season. Was ready to accept invitations for 72-hour mini-camp auditions from three teams over the next three weeks when the Packers called Monday to offer a berth on the 90-man roster.
Measurables: 5-9½, 218, 4.65. Vertical jump of 30, broad jump of 9-1, 17 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 10. Arms were 30 ½, hands were 8 ¾.
Phillips: “I can’t really explain it (his style of running). When I’m out there it just happens. Whether it’s make a move or go through (a tackler), I pretty much do it all. It just comes to me. I’m just that power back that gets yards. Don’t underrate my speed, and I have quick feet. … We were talking a lot (with Green Bay) but in the draft they picked up some running backs so I was kind of lost in the process. I’ve got a chance to start. I’m real excited. … Each year we had a different starting quarterback. Catching is nothing new to me. I love the competition of one-on-one blocking someone. I know that will make me stand out of all the other people.”
NFL scout: “Average athlete without much twitch. He tries to dance around the pile too much. Bigger kid who lacks real juice or authority as a runner. He can show flashes of hard-charging, fall-forward power but mostly he wants to be a dancer. Inconsistent effort. Laid-back kid with a low sense of urgency.”
LENZY PIPKINS, CB, Oklahoma State
Basics: From Mansfield, Texas. Didn’t play football until senior year at Mansfield. “I ran track and played basketball,” he said with a laugh. “I was a pretty boy. I didn’t want to get hurt.” Redshirted at Louisiana-Monroe in 2012, made five starts at safety in ’13 and started at CB in 2014-15. Moved as a graduate transfer to Stillwater in ’16, averaging about 60 snaps per game in a three-man rotation. Finished with 3 interceptions. Suffered a broken forearm in the first half of a 2013 game at Louisiana State but played the second half. Underwent surgery and missed three games. Picked Green Bay over offers from Seattle, Denver, Minnesota and Kansas City.
Measurables: 6-0, 202, 4.46. Vertical jump of 33½, broad jump of 9-5, 11 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 21. Arms were 31¼, hands were 9.
Pipkins: “I’m a press corner. Real aggressive. For the most part, I have great speed, great size for the position. I’m just trying to get molded and get right. I’m a really fast learner. Being a student of the game, that’s what makes players great instead of good. … First year we (ULM) went 8-5 and beat Arkansas. There were national headlines. It started great and just went downhill. Staff got fired. … It is (disappointing). Everybody would love getting their name called on national TV, but that’s the way my story is supposed to be written. I just want to come in and try to make a name for myself fast. Now I have to make the team. ... We were base Cover 4 (at Oklahoma State). We were a base Cover 1 team playing bump-and-run at Monroe.”
NFC scout: “Length type of corner. He’s got some initial explosion. We had him as a free agent to compete in camp. More of a zone guy than a man guy. Has decent instincts.”
AFC scout: “Average athlete, average toughness. Good competitor. Not very good in the run game. Marginal tackler. Plays with average awareness. Lacks speed to recover. Free agent.”
DAVID RIVERS, CB, Youngstown
Basics: From Miami (American High School). Redshirted in 2012 as a CB-S before playing strictly CB from 2013-16. Backup in 2013-14, made six starts in ’15 and nine more (in 16 games) in ’16 when the Penguins fell to James Madison in the FCS championship game. Finished with 65 tackles and 3 picks. Had offers from Oakland, Seattle and San Francisco. Has never had surgery but did miss five games in 2015 with a bruised knee.
Measurables: 6-1, 188, 4.55. Vertical jump of 33½, broad jump of 10-6, 14 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 17. Arms were 31¼, hands were 8 7/8.
Rivers: “They’re getting somebody who will work 110 percent every single (day). Somebody who can pick up real fast. I’m a solid corner with long arms. Little sticky. … Bo Pelini is a real good coach. In his system, we pressed (coming) off the bus. I’ve been playing press, left and right side, for the last three years. His system is challenging but I picked up on it fast. … I’m not scared of sticking my face in there because, in Bo’s defense, you’ve got to tackle.”
NFC scout: “Longer, lean muscle guy. Good athleticism and balance, straight-line speed and good quickness. He’s a good run player that will attack the point and shed blockers. He is quick to come to support. Average in the pass game. Best in press coverage when he gets his hands on you. He’s grabby downfield. Shows good strength. Struggles in off coverage because he has issues looking in the backfield.”
NFC scout: “Shows a little explosion. He was inconsistent but he’s 6-1 and has (long) arms. He ran 1.52 in the 10, which is really good.”
CHRISTIAN SCHNEIDER, T, California-Davis
Basics: From Glendora, Calif. Caught the attention of Cal-Davis coaches while playing for his high-school basketball team. Started 30 games at RT from 2013-15 and last year at LT. Worst injury was torn MCL in ’15. Picked Green Bay over Atlanta. Signing bonus of $2,500.
Measurables: 6-5½, 302, 5.11. Vertical jump of 26½, broad jump of 8-6, 25 reps on the bench and Wonderlic of 27. Arms were 32 3/8, hands were 9 7/8.
Schneider: “I feel they’re definitely getting somebody that’s athletic and able to play both sides of the line. I’m pretty interchangeable at guard or tackle. I’m somebody that’s going to work hard and hustle every play. That’s one thing a lot of the (NFL) coaches told me: they liked how hard I play. We didn’t do too good this past year (3-8) but we prided ourselves on never giving up. I always try to carry that. … I would love to (coach football). I love the game and the way coaches can impact players’ lives.”
AFC scout: “Athletic guy with good size and has the tools to work with. Lacks strength and finish. Work in progress.”
NFC scout: “They (the Packers) went deep on this one. Another measurable guy. Smart. The movement stuff was good.”
JUSTIN VOGEL, P, Miami
Basics: From Tampa. Spent 2012-13 seasons at Florida behind Kyle Christy and Johnny Townsend. Transferred to Miami, where he held the job for three seasons. Punted 183 times for a 43.0 average. Best average was in 2016 (43.8). For the first time since 1998, no punter was drafted. Picked Green Bay over Tennessee, Miami, Philadelphia and Kansas City. Signing bonus of $5,000.
Measurables: 6-4½, 219, 4.69. Vertical jump of 34, Wonderlic of 26. Arms were 32½, hands were 9.
Vogel: “As a punter you always know in the back of your head that there’s a strong likelihood that you don’t get drafted. Look at the guys in the league. I’m sure a good percentage of them were undrafted as well. Obviously, everyone wants to get drafted. It’s not the end of your career because you don’t. … Everything starts with my hang time. I think I have good control over the ball directional kicking-wise. … We were 95% pro style. We did an occasional rugby (punt) against teams that brought a lot of pressure. … (Florida) just wasn’t the right situation. I just didn’t think I was getting a fair opportunity.”
AFC special-teams coach: “I really liked him before the combine but he had a disappointing combine. The combine’s important to me. You’re out there and you need to do it. That’s how it is in a game.”
NFC scout: “He was our highest-rated guy. He’s athletic. He’s a little erratic but he’s got a big leg and he’s pretty accurate in terms of directional."