As Acme Packing Company continues its look at the Green Bay Packers' 90 man roster, we move from examining the returning safeties to the ones who joined the team during the offseason.
The team did not add any safety depth during the 2016 NFL Draft but did sign a few new additions to the depth including a couple of undrafted free agents and a free agent. Let's take a further look at the new faces to the position and examine if any may have the potential to make the team's 53 man roster for this upcoming season.
Chris Banjo, No. 32
H/W: 5'10", 207 pounds
2015 Stats: 16 total tackles, one pass deflection
An exclusive rights free agent this offseason, Chris Banjo is back with the Packers again for 2016 on a league minimum deal. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Banjo has been better than expected - not only providing solid depth at the safety position but also excelling on special teams. Voted as a special teams captain at the end of last season, Banjo will try to return to the Packers as their #4 safety and special teams ace. While Banjo is low on the depth chart at the safety position, the team did not do much to add to the position, which should all but secure his spot on the 53 man roster for this upcoming season.
Jermaine Whitehead, No. 35
H/W: 5'11", 195 pounds
2015 Stats: N/A
Whitehead is coming into his second year in the NFL after being signed as an undrafted free agent last year by the San Francisco 49ers. He spent most of the season on the team's practice squad before being waived late in the season and being claimed by the Baltimore Ravens. He was put on the team's 53 man roster for the last two games of the season but was inactive. Whitehead was waived earlier this month by Baltimore and was signed recently to a contract with Green Bay. Whitehead is a speed prospect, who showed off good speed, quickness, and explosiveness at last year's NFL Combine. He is undersized for the safety position and is very raw.
If Whitehead does make it out of the preseason and/or even training camp for the Packers, Whitehead is most likely heading to the practice squad at best in 2016 as Chris Banjo is locked in as the team's #4 safety and special teams ace.
Kentrell Brice, No. 29
H/W: 5'11", 200 pounds
College: Louisiana Tech
2015 Stats: 60 total tackles, one sack, one interceptions, eight pass deflections, one fumble recovery
Brice comes to Green Bay as an undrafted free agent who is known for his "humble demeanor and quiet personality" per TheNewsStar.com's Sean Isabella. He had a terrific Pro Day with a 42 inch vertical leap, a 4.38 forty yard dash, an 11'1" broad jump and 21 reps of 225 pounds at the bench press. He certainly turned a few heads at Louisiana Tech's Pro Day and resonated well with Green Bay's front office as it led to a contract. Brice is very raw in terms of talent, but measures out well and could be a solid #3 safety at his ceiling with the proper coaching and development.
Brice could turn some heads again as we approach Training Camp, but his best shot in 2016 to stick with the team would be on the practice squad, which could be a possibility. This would give him a chance to potentially turn some of his raw talent into an asset and give him the chance to compete for a job in 2017.
Marwin Evans, No. 25
H/W: 5'1", 211 pounds
College: Utah State
2015 Stats: 73 total tackles, two sacks, one interception, five pass deflections, one forced fumble
Like Brice, Marwin Evans comes to the Packers as an undrafted free agent after being signed following a rookie tryout. He too, had a great Pro Day with a 4.47 forty yard dash, 19 reps of 225 pounds at the bench press and a 42 inch vertical leap. Evans had a terrific 2015 season for Utah State with over 70 tackles along with two sacks and an interception. He was originally reported to have signed with the Seattle Seahawks, but that did not turn out to be the case and was quickly brought into after to the Packers.
Evans could very well be competing with Kentrell Brice for a spot on the Packers practice squad in 2016 as both have solid raw talent and have upside. Unless an injury occurs, don't expect any new safety on the team to make it onto the 53 man roster. But like Brice, Evans could end up competing for a role as the team's #4 safety next offseason if he makes it on the team's practice squad.