Long snapper Hunter Bradley part of Packers' seventh-round mix
GREEN BAY - The seventh round of the NFL draft is often a place for teams to pick up odds and ends.
The Green Bay Packers definitely did that Saturday, drafting a long snapper among their three selections.
With the first of their picks in the seventh round, the Packers selected California defensive end James Looney (232nd overall).
After picking three wide receivers, an offensive lineman and a punter earlier in the day, Green Bay general manager Brian Gutekunst returned his attention to the Packers' defense.
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Looney profiles as a pretty good athlete with a 4.89 in the 40, 28 reps on the bench and 35½vertical.
But Looney hasn't flashed much pass-rushing ability. He registered 130 tackles and eight sacks in his three seasons with the Bears.
Looney recorded 3.5 sacks and 21 tackles for a loss as a senior in 2017, earning honorable mention all-Pacific 12 Conference honors for the second straight season.
"As far as it relates to the NFL, I have pretty great quickness," Looney said. "I feel like I have a good body frame that will translate to the league.
"If you look at guys like Aaron Donald, the kind of new d-tackles that are quick and fast and come off the ball and get into the backfield. I think I can contribute in that aspect."
He began his collegiate career at Wake Forest, where he only played in six games during the 2013 season. He decided to transfer after Demon Deacons head coach Jim Grobe was fired.
Looney's brother, Joe, is a backup offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys who was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2014.
Their father, James, played linebacker at Louisville.
"I know the NFL is hard. It's tough. It's a grown-man's game. I'm ready to learn," James Looney said. "I can't wait to get around guys like Clay Matthews. Just benefit from guys that have been in the league for a while. Just talk to them.
"I'm a student. I'm ready to learn. Ready to just be coachable. Hopefully, the Green Bay Packers can find a spot for me."
With its second pick in the seventh round (239 overall), Green Bay made a surprising choice by picking Mississippi State long snapper Hunter Bradley.
“It’s a dream come true. Always dreamed this day would come,” Bradley said. “Being a long snapper, it’s not something that happens often. I’m just thankful and blessed.”
The Packers have been looking to fill that position, signing long snapper Zach Triner to the practice squad in December.
Bradley joined the Bulldogs as a preferred walk-on as a tight end in 2012 but dealt with numerous setbacks.
Over a two-year period spanning his senior year at Colliersville (Tenn.) High School and his freshman season at Mississippi State, Bradley tore his right ACL twice and his left ACL once.
"That's when I kind of saw the writing on the wall ... and started long-snapping," Bradley said. "I've been healthy ever since. Our surgeons did an absolutely amazing job on my knees. Every surgeon I've met with has felt it and says their as good as they possibly could be."
He did not get into any games in 2013, spending the season as a member of the scout team.
Bradley finally saw the field as a sophomore in 2014, making one tackle on special teams.
He finally got his chance in 2015 after a season-ending injury to the season-opening starter at long snapper.
Bradley held tight to that job and successfully completed every snap in 26 games over the 2016 and '17 seasons. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA to play last year.
The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Bradley had a 40 time of 4.78. He had a vertical of 29.
With their final pick (248th), the Packers added another defensive player in Southeast Missouri State linebacker Kendall Donnerson.
He was all-Ohio Valley last season with 53 tackles, six sacks, an interception, three passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
"I can put my hand down and rush the passer," Donnerson said. "Or I can drop (back in coverage) like I did in college."
Donnerson attracted the attention of the Packers on his pro day with 4.44 speed, a 40-inch vertical and 20 reps on the bench press.
"I'm a speed guy but I've got to learn how to use my hands more," Donnerson said.
The James Looney file
Position: Defensive End. School: California. Pick: Round 7, 232 overall.
Height: 6-3. Weight: 280. Age: 23. Hometown: Lake Worth, Fla. Lowdown: Played in 36 of possible 37 career games during his career, including 35 starts from 2015 to 2017. Was the only player from his team to participate in the NFL combine. Also was the only defensive lineman among the top 40 attending who finished in the top 10 in his position group in the six measurable skill tests. He finished second in the 20-yard shuttle (4.37), third in the vertical jump (35.5), seventh in the 3-cone drill (7.32), tied for eighth in the broad jump (9’5”), 10th in the 40-yard dash (4.89) and tied for 10th in the bench (28 reps). Had three tackles in the East-West Shrine Game. Had 130 career tackles at Cal, including 20.5 for loss, along with eight sacks, two forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and five QB hurries. An honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection in each of his final two seasons. Played at Wake Forest his freshman season in 2013, contributing a half sack, three tackles and a fumble recovery. His brother, Joe, is an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys. “I think I have great quickness, a good body frame, that can transfer to the league,” Looney said. “Whatever the coaches want to do with me, I just want to benefit the team. … This is one of the greatest organizations in sports.” Scott Venci
The Hunter Bradley file
Position: Long snapper. School: Mississippi State. Pick: Round 7, 239 overall.
Height: 6-3. Weight: 240. Age: 23. Hometown: Collierville, Tenn. Lowdown: Earned a scholarship in the fall of 2016 and possesses the skills to snap at the highest level. Arrived at Mississippi State as a tight end, but became the primary snapper in the second week of his junior season in 2015 and was perfect since. Granted a sixth year by the NCAA and played the 2017 season after already having earned a degree. Played in 41 career games, went to a bowl game each year of his career and was part of the second-winningest senior class in school history. Will turn 24 on May 21. “It’s a dream come true,” Bradley said. “I always dreamed this day would come. Being a long snapper, it’s not something that happens often.” Scott Venci
The Kendall Donnerson file
Position: Outside Linebacker. School: Southeast Missouri State. Pick: Round 7, 248 overall.
Height: 6-2. Weight: 248. Age: 22. Hometown: Maumelle, Ark. Lowdown: Took only one pre-draft visit, which was to Green Bay. Finished last season as the team’s third-leading tackler with 53, including 36 solo. Ranked second on the team in tackles for loss (13.5) and third in sacks (6). Led the team with three forced fumbles. Became a starter at outside linebacker in 2016 and played 10 of 11 games. Had 50 tackles, including a team-high 13 for loss. Was a two-star recruit while at Maumelle High School in Arkansas, where he had 120 tackles, recovered two fumbles and had 25 sacks as a senior. “I can put my hand down and rush the passer or I can drop, that’s what I did in college,” Donnerson. “They see me as a pass rusher. … whatever they ask me to do, I will do.” Scott Venci