Though the Green Bay Packers' 2014 draft class has received the bulk of the headlines over the past week and a half (and rightfully so), a few roster spots for 2014 will likely go to players signed as undrafted free agents this spring. Currently, the Packers have 17 undrafted free agents on the 90-man roster, and we will look a little closer at each one of them over the next few days.
Today, we look into the offensive backfield to see
School: Boston College
Height: 6 feet, 2-1/4 inches
Weight: 215 lbs
A four-year starter for the Eagles, Rettig steadily improved his production and efficiency over the past few seasons and posted his best year as a senior. Though BC's offense ran primarily through running back Andre Williams, who ran for over 2,100 yards, Rettig posted career bests in several categories in 2013. His attempts and passing yardage dropped quite a bit from his 2012 numbers, but Rettig completed over 60% of his passes for the first time, averaging 7.6 yards per attempt, tying his high with 17 touchdown passes, and setting a low with 8 interceptions.
Dane Brugler of NFL Draft Scout notes that Rettig's mechanics need work, but his arm strength is solid and with some work with a good quarterback tutor (hello Mike McCarthy and Alex Van Pelt!) he could develop into an interesting backup possibility.
Position: Running back
Height: 5 feet, 11-1/8 inches
Weight: 220 pounds
Neal was named the starter at tailback for the Volunteers for his junior year in 2012, and held that job for half the season before missing some time due to injury. He posted over 700 rushing yards that season, but earned the starting job once again for his senior season and started all 12 of Tennessee's games on the way to 1,124 yards, 5.4 yards per carry, and 12 touchdowns.
Neal is a solid, physical runner, but he has decent speed (timed in the mid 4.5s in the forty-yard dash at Tennessee's Pro Day), quick feet (4.34-second shuttle drill) and good explosiveness (38" vertical jump). Neal's agility can be seen in the red zone around the 45-second mark of this highlight video. His size and agility compare well to Eddie Lacy's, and it is easy to imagine Neal substituting for Lacy on occasion to keep the Packers' star running back fresh..
Position: Running Back
School: Mississippi State
Height: 5 feet, 7-3/8 inches
Weight: 195 pounds
A quick, agile back, Perkins looks to be a change-of-pace back from the Packers' bigger bruisers in Eddie Lacy and James Starks. Perkins ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the NFL's Scouting Combine and posted solid times in agility drills as well.
Perkins was a secondary running back for his first two years in Starkville, rushing for over 400 yards each season and playing a key special teams role as the team's primary kick returner. He became the starter at running back before his junior year, when he recorded a 1,000-yard season while still returning kickoffs. During his senior year, he started every game once again but was used as a more versatile weapon as the Bulldogs' quarterback carried much of the rushing load. Perkins caught 27 passes in 2013 in addition to another 500-yard rushing season, though he averaged only 4.0 yards per carry in his final season.
Over his four-year career, Perkins rushed for 2,554 yards at a 4.8 yards per carry clip, with 68 receptions for 714 yards and 25 total touchdowns. If he can show good awareness as a pass-blocker, Perkins could earn a spot on the roster as a third-down back who can catch the ball out of the backfield and also as a kick return specialist..
We'll be back tomorrow with a look at another batch of the Packers' rookie free agents.