This week the Green Bay Packers ended their offseason program, as players started their five-week breaks until reporting for training camp on July 25. The program is perfect for young players transitioning into the league from college and working with the hopes of receiving a spot on the 53-man roster. Many players improved their stock heading into training camp, and here are five players who did just that.
Tolzien made the most of Thursday's final minicamp practice with Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn getting the day off. However, even before that he was still having a strong offseason with this being his first one in Green Bay. It also helped him spend more time working with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt on his mechanics and footwork. On Thursday, Tolzien looked sharped throwing down and across the field, while moving in and out the pocket well. A very good camp has helped him secure the third quarterback spot on the depth chart and will allow him to give Matt Flynn a serious competition for the backup job in training camp.
It's unlikely that Abbrederis will be given a significant role in Green Bay's offense during the regular season with Aaron Rodgers, but he practiced well elsewhere on special teams helping his chances of getting a role elsewhere. Abbrederis will be going up against running back DuJuan Harris and receiver Randall Cobb to return kickoffs and/or punts this season. He also looked strong in practice with the third team catching the ball and executing routes across the middle and seam. The Packers could carry six wide-outs on the 53-man roster (with Jordy Nelson, Cobb, Jarrett Boykin, and Davante Adams as locks), and Abbrederis could very well grab the fifth or sixth spot available.
Most of the spotlight so far has been on first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but Sean Richardson impressed in camp this year also. Widely known for just his run support, Richardson looked a lot better in pass coverage. I don't think he'll be pushing Clinton-Dix or second-year man Micah Hyde for the starting safety position opposite of Morgan Burnett, but showing that he isn't one-dimensional and predictable helps his cause.
Harper suffered a hamstring injury towards the end of camp, but he still was another young receiver that managed to play well during his time on the field. Players practiced in shorts and helmets the entire time, and that helped Harper show his explosion, which is something he said he wants to get use to impress in training camp (via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Known usually for just his physicality and size, he's flashed that explosion so far. It's been a strong campaign for him, and with the next month off to heal that hamstring, Harper will be another guy fighting for that fifth or sixth wide receiver spot on the Packers roster along with Abbrederis.
Every single time I saw Hayward on the field during practice, he looked practically like his 2012 self. It was important for him to have a strong camp to show that he's been able to recover well after injury last season, and he's done just that. He grabbed a nice interception off of Matt Flynn in the end zone during practice this week, and is poised to bounce back this year barring any setbacks.
In the next few days, we'll discuss another batch of players who improved their stock. If you think we missed someone here, let us know in the comments. There's a fair chance that that player will be included in the next article.