On the prior post, you got to hear from the Packer draft picks, among the 57 total players taking part in the Rookie Orientation Camp this weekend. After meetings all day, they took to the field for their initial practice as professionals, just over two hours worth inside the Don Hutson Center. The next obvious question to ask is, how did they look? Get to that in a moment.
Plenty of business was conducted over the past 24 hours by Russ Ball, the Pack's contract negotiator. NIne of the 11 draft picks and another nine undrafted free agents formally signed contracts before they hit the field. The draft choices getting deals done include fourth rounders David Bakhtiari, J.C. Tretter and Johnathan Franklin. Both 5th rounders Micah Hyde and Josh Boyd are in the fold, as is sixth round pick Nate Palmer. All three seventh rounders have deals too, Charles Johnson, Kevin Dorsey and Sam Barrington. The only two picks without contracts are the top two, Datone Jones of UCLA, the first rounder who will likely sign a five year deal under terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and second round choice Eddie Lacy will put his name to a four year contract. The rest of the picks usually sign 4 year deals although low round picks could sign for three years plus an option year. In addition to the picks, the Packers announced contracts on the following free agents, quarterback Matt Brown of Illinois State, center Patrick Lewis of Texas A & M, linebacker Andy Mulumba of Eastern Michigan, running back Angelo Pease of Kansas State, defensive tackle Gilbert Pena of Mississippi, fullback Ryan Roberson of Texas, tight end Jake Stoneburner of Ohio State, guard Lane Taylor of Oklahoma State and wide receiver Mules White of Louisiana Tech.
27 of the 57 players practicing are in town for the weekend on a tryout basis, a handful will be invited back once training camp begins in the summer. Five players finished 2012 on the team's practice squad. Quarterback B.J. Coleman, tight end Brandon Bostick, safety Chaz Powell, tackle Andrew Datko and center Garth Gerhart.
Now to the only practice among the three this weekend the media was allowed to watch. To be honest, it was chaotic. Receivers nearly colliding with each other on 7 on 7 crossing routes, fumbled exchanges, shaky punt return catches, even from the jugs machine. If you were expecting a well oiled machine play to play with a bunch of kids, the vast majority having never done this before, is a bit unrealistic. Oh, there were some eye opening moments, Cedrick Moore made a nice shoetop interception of a tipped ball, he's one of the tryout boys from Stony Brook. Angelo Pease from Kansas State delivered a sharp cut on a running play that even got Mike McCarthy's attention. The draft choices, even the high picks, didn't do a lot to distinguish themselves. The most impressive player might have been Coleman, last year's low round QB choice, he looked the part of a veteran handling the huddle and showing far more arm strength than Brown, the former Redbird. Bakhtiari lined up at left tackle, Tretter at right tackle for the first look. To tell you the truth, these workouts are more about huddling properly, lining up in the right formation and making proper check calls. I'll reserve judgement until the pads come on but one thing McCarthy stressed after the practice, this will be an equal opportunity off-season, right up to the final roster cuts.