Packers fifth-round pick Brett Hundley talks about joining the team and being a backup to Aaron Rodgers. (May 9, 2015)
Brett Hundley, the appointed "football nerd" of the Green Bay Packers' eight-man draft class, counts the game's history among his well-versed subjects.
So the former UCLA quarterback knew where he stood when he arrived in Green Bay – a fifth-round pick, with little chance of starting for the team that drafted him. But Hundley also knows there's hope for his future.
Hundley believes he'll get his chance eventually, even if he's stuck on the sideline for the foreseeable future.
"You see a lot of times a lot of quarterbacks come in," Hundley said, "and it's almost like a redshirt year in college, and it helps a lot. Aaron Rodgers was a prime example. Tom Brady sat for a little bit, Russell (Wilson). They sat for a little bit before getting thrown into the fire.
"They get some time to learn an offense, understand the game, get adjusted to it, and then they step in and show what they can do."
That's the path Hundley is hoping for as he begins his professional career, which officially began Friday with the Packers' first rookie minicamp practice at the Don Hutson Center. It was Hundley's first chance to show coaches why general manager Ted Thompson's aggression – trading up in the fifth round to draft him – was worthwhile.
Hundley faces a significant learning curve, transitioning from UCLA coach Jim Mora Jr.'s spread offense to Packers coach Mike McCarthy's hybrid-West Coast system. The growing pains were evident at times Friday.
His accuracy was inconsistent. Timing was off with receivers. On one play, Packers' second-round cornerback Quentin Rollins jumped a Hundley pass intended for third-round receiver Ty Montgomery and returned the interception for a would-be touchdown.
None of those errant throws were alarming, not on the first day of practice with new receiving targets. Hundley made plenty of sharp, accurate throws Friday. McCarthy said he was pleased with the quarterback's first day.
"I thought he threw the ball well," McCarthy said, "particularly anticipation. Any time you watch a quarterback come in Day 1 with all new receivers, new cadence, new center – particularly working on under center exclusively with a new center – I thought he had some throws that he threw on anticipation. That's always encouraging, but there's always a lot to learn, particularly at that position.
"I'm sure there will be some things when he goes through the quarterback profile practice that we have with all the quarterbacks next week, there will be something there that we'll continue to work on. But excellent athlete, I'm glad he's here."
Hundley said he's glad to be in Green Bay, too, even if it's not a place where he can compete for a starting quarterback job.
He's determined to make the most of his opportunity. Hundley arrived in town Thursday afternoon, almost 24 hours before his first practice began. He'd been studying the Packers' playbook since Monday morning, hoping for a strong start.
"Came in, got to see the stadium," Hundley said. "There was no, 'Hey, welcome.' It was all like, 'Let's jump into it and let's roll.' That's what you want, just to start playing football again. So it's been non-stop, and I'm enjoying it."
Hundley said he took some Thursday to appreciate Lambeau Field. In his first trip to the legendary stadium, his sense of history seeped through.
"This is the best football team in America," Hundley said. "This is the bed of quarterbacks. A lot of great quarterbacks have come out of Green Bay, and hopefully I can be the next.
"Green Bay is always known for football and nothing but football, and that's what you've got to love about the fans, the city, everything. It's surrounded by football, and that's what you want to be around."
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