Undrafted rookie beat the odds and stuck on the 53-man roster all season
The Green Bay Packers began the season with 10 rookies on the 53-man roster. That’s a pretty high number – especially for a team than won 15 games the previous year. But GM Ted Thompson didn’t hang on to all those rookies to save money or to make himself look good. He kept them because they could play. In fact, seven have played significant roles in the team’s march to its second straight NFC North title.
I’ll be ranking the rookies – from least productive to most productive – over the next couple of weeks. Here’s #8:
Story of 2012: While second-year players Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley entered training camp fighting for the final roster spot at wide receiver, it was Jarrett Boykin who came out of nowhere to grab it. The undrafted free agent from Virginia Tech, who was released by the woeful Jaguars in May, doesn’t run well (4.69 at Combine), but he plays a bit faster. That said, it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll ever be able to separate from corners at this level. The Packers like Boykin’s size, hands and toughness on special teams.
What to expect in 2013: With Greg Jennings expected to depart in free agency and Donald Driver likely to retire, Boykin should have an easier time making the final 53 next summer. As of now, the only other receiver under contract is Jeremy Ross, who is viewed more as a returner. And even if Ted Thompson drafts a prospect or two in April, it’s safe to assume the coaching staff would prefer a more experienced player in the No. 4 spot. That could be Boykin, provided he makes the requisite jump from year 1 to year 2.