Packers target offense with final two picks

Scott Venci
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GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers kept adding to their offense in the seventh round of the NFL draft Saturday.

Utah State running back Devante Mays breaks a long run  against Boise State on Oct.16, 2015 in Logan, Utah.

The Packers selected Utah State’s Devante Mays with the first of their two seventh-round picks (No. 238), and then added LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre (No. 247).

Mays was the third running back taken by the Packers on the final day of the draft after they previously took BYU’s Jamaal Williams in the fourth round and UTEP’s Aaron Jones in the fifth.

It’s the first time the team has taken three running backs in the same draft since 1974.

The 5-foot-11, 230-pound Mays played in only six games and started two as a senior in 2016 while battling injuries sustained early in the season.

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He rushed for 259 yards on 37 carries in his limited action, averaging seven yards per rush and scoring three touchdowns. But he never was the same after suffering a medial collateral ligament injury to his right knee and a high ankle sprain to the same leg in Week 2 against USC.

He didn’t need surgery, but he did need time to get healthy.

“It started out really well and the second game took a huge turn,” said Mays, who rushed for 208 yards and scored three times in a season opener against Weber State. “I was never really able to overcome the injury, and it was just frustrating to see everything I had worked for just kind of go down the drain.

“But I am just happy right now that I’ve been given an opportunity.”

Mays will compete with Williams and Jones for a spot on a roster that already has Ty Montgomery, Christine Michael and Don Jackson.

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“I don’t really look at that,” Mays said. “I just look at it as an opportunity for me to compete, to compete with those guys and compete for a spot to play. I don’t really care if there was one or five (drafted). I’ll always go out there and work hard and try to be No. 1.”

The 6-4, 195-pound Dupre caught 41 passes for 593 yards and three TDs as a junior last season before declaring early for the NFL draft. He already has played at Lambeau Field after the Tigers met Wisconsin there in September. He had three catches for 24 yards that day.

“I just remember it being a very, very cool place,” Dupre said. “When we got to play on it. …  it was a thrilling feeling being out there on that same field as some of the great guys before me.“

One of his big games was against Louisville in the Citrus Bowl, when he caught seven passes for 139 yards.

He had 98 catches for 1,609 yards and 14 TDs and averaged 16.4 yards per reception during his three seasons with the Tigers.

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Dupre was the second receiver selected by the Packers on the final day of the draft. They took Purdue’s DeAngelo Yancey in the fifth round.

“It was a very long day, it was a stressful process,” Dupre said. “But nothing is more satisfying than to hear my named called ... I’m ready to get to work.”

LSU wide receiver Malachi Dupre dives for the pylon during a game against Texas A&M on Nov. 24, 2016 in College Station, Texas.
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