The Packers’ current roster consists of 22 rookies – nine draft picks and 13 undrafted prospects. There are also 10 first-year players who have spent time in professional football but do not have an accrued NFL season, such as former practice-squad members.
They all have a limited window to make their case for a roster spot or to stick around on the expanded practice squad.
Some of the Packers draft picks from a year ago who held limited roles will be looking to make a similarly strong first impression when practices begin as well.
LaFleur talked about running back Dexter Williams, a sixth-round pick a year ago from Notre Dame, and linebacker Ty Summers, a seventh-rounder from TCU, as players eyeing a more prominent place on the team.
Williams, who enters camp as likely the fourth running back behind Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and rookie second-round pick AJ Dillon, appeared in only four games as a rookie and was a game-day inactive otherwise. He’s been “working really, really hard in all the video I’ve seen of him in the conditioning phases,” LaFleur said.
Summers became a core special-teamer in 2019, recording nine coverage tackles (including playoffs), and will be part of the competition involving Oren Burks, Curtis Bolton and rookie fifth-round pick Kamal Martin for a front-line role at inside linebacker alongside veteran Christian Kirksey.
LaFleur called Summers “a consistent performer” in the third phase who should benefit on defense from being in the system a second year.
Everything is just a projection for now, though, until practices get going full-force.
“I think the true test,” LaFleur said, “is when things start going fast on the field.”