clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Packers Undrafted Free Agents: Defensive backs and linebackers bring great speed

New, comments

Green Bay's rookie free agent crop on defense possesses a good blend of straight-line speed and short-area quickness that should help one or two of them make the roster.

Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

As the Green Bay Packers prepare for rookie minicamp this weekend, we at Acme Packing Company are continuing our breakdown of the team's undrafted free agent signees. Today, we look at the players on defense to see what they bring to the table.

One trend is clear here - the players in the back seven (defensive backs and linebackers) can move. Two of the cornerbacks signed by the Packers ran their 40-yard dashes in 4.40 seconds or less, one safety was at 4.44, and an inside linebacker ran a 4.57. In addition, both inside linebacker signees' agility numbers were very impressive, running the short shuttle in under 4.3 seconds and the 3-cone in under 7.1.

Meanwhile, a pair of defensive linemen come aboard with a chance to make a good impression. The two are likely to play different positions - one a 3-technique and the other probably a nose tackle.

Here's a look at the players on defense (and the one special teamer as well) who will come to rookie minicamp as undrafted free agent signees.

Tyler Kuder, defensive lineman, Idaho State

Height: 6' 3-1/4"
Weight: 307 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
5.23 1.76 31 28" 8'4" 4.80 8.26
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL Forced Fumbles
2013 11 29 14 2.0 5.0 2
2014 11 56 15 1.5 2.5 0
2015 11 92 42 3.5 11.0 2

What do we know about Kuder? Not much, as he played in the FCS. However, he had solid production from the defensive tackle position as a senior on his way to being named to the All-Big Sky first team.

Brian Price, defensive lineman, Texas-San Antonio

Height: 6' 2-3/4"
Weight: 322 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
5.17 1.87 20 27" 8'7" 4.72 8.22
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL Forced Fumbles
2013 12 25 8 0.0 1.0 0
2014 9 23 6 2.0 3.0 0
2015 10 33 15 1.0 2.0 0

Price is a large man and should be able to compete for reps in training camp at nose tackle. AT UTSA, a fledgling FBS program, he was mainly a space-eater and did not have an impressive stat line. Still, the Indiana native progressed from junior college to UTSA, and now will get a shot to back up Kenny Clark and Letroy Guion on the Packers' line.

Reggie Gilbert, outside linebacker, Arizona

Height: 6' 2-7'8"
Weight: 261 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.88 1.72 24 33.5" 9'6" 4.53 7.31
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL FF
2012 11 19 11 3.5 6.0 0
2013 13 35 16 4.0 8.0 1
2014 14 49 31 3.0 5.5 1
2015 13 41 32 3.5 8.5 1

Gilbert possesses a traditional 3-4 outside linebacker frame, and is known as a good leader, being named as a team captain as a senior. Also, he had a medical hardship waiver that allowed him a fifth year of eligibility, and as such he played in 57 games in his career. He was a remarkably consistent player over his four years as a starter. Perhaps surprisingly, Gilbert played defensive tackle early in his career before moving out to end as a junior.

Beniquez Brown, inside linebacker, Mississippi State

Height: 6' 0-3/4"
Weight: 229 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.77*/4.69 1.64*/1.60 18* 31"* 9'2"*/9'* 4.28* 7.07*
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL FF INT
2013 12 39 16 0.0 4.5 0 0
2014 13 62 30 2.0 7.0 0 2
2015 12 93 46 4.0 10.0 0
1

Brown comes in as arguably the highest-touted prospect in the group, and one who was largely expected to be drafted on day three. In fact, during Shrine Game practices, Draftinsider.com's Tony Pauline mentioned that he had a third-round grade on Brown and that at that time, the Packers were already showing significant interest in the Bulldog linebacker.

He picked the Packers out of 10 offers, perhaps because of their interest in him, and this Packer Report breakdown notes that he is a film nut.

Manoa Pikula, inside linebacker, BYU

Height: 6' 0-5/8"
Weight: 234 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.57 1.59 24 36.5" 9'8" 4.23 7.06
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL FF INT
2013 10 32 16 3.0 4.0 0 0
2014 12 50 29 0.0 2.0 0 1
2015 10 49 25 1.0 2.5 0
0

Whereas Brown has a ton of college production and starts on the inside to back up his signing, Pikula provides a wealth of special teams experience and very good movement skills.

Makinton Dorleant, cornerback, Northern Iowa

Height: 5' 10-3/4"
Weight: 177 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.40 1.53 16 39" 10'3" 4.45 7.03
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL INT PD FR FF
2012 (Maryland) 12 4 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2013 12 54 34 0.0 4.0 1 4 0 1
2014 14 37 30 0.0 0.0 0 7 1 2
2015 14 47 40 0.0 4.0 1 17 3 3

Dorleant transferred from Maryland after redshirting his first year and playing as a reserve in his second, but had a very good year as a senior, breaking up 17 passes and being a turnover machine. His speed and leaping ability will be his calling cards, and he just barely squeaks past the lower limit of the Packers' preferred cornerback height. He made quite the impressive cornerback tandem at Northern Iowa with Deiondre' Hall, who landed with the Bears in the fourth round and will likely convert to safety.

Josh Hawkins, cornerback, East Carolina

Height: 5' 10-1/2"
Weight: 189 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.39 1.51 14 40.5" 10'5" 4.09 7.22
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL INT PD FR FF
2012 12 13 6 0.0 1.0 1 4 0 0
2013 13 40 25 0.0 1.5 1 5 0 0
2014 13 44 31 0.0 1.0 5 16 0 1
2015 12 42 27 0.0 0.0 2 6 0 0

Hawkins comes to Green Bay after a successful career at East Carolina, where he was a three-year starter. His ball skills were at their best as a junior, as you can see above, and he has terrific speed and burst. As a shorter corner like Dorleant, his excellent leaping ability will be critical at the next level.

Warren Gatewood, cornerback, Alcorn State

Height: 5' 11-5/8"
Weight: 185 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.51 1.61 16 36.5" 10'7" n/a n/a
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL INT PD FR FF
2012 5 5 5 0.0 1.0 0 0 0 0
2013 12 31 n/a 0.0 0.0 1 5 1 0
2014 12 n/a n/a n/a n/a 2 n/a n/a n/a
2015 13 47 34 0.0 3.0 4 4 0 0

n/a: not available

Gatewood comes to Green Bay from the same school as legendary Packers receiver Donald Driver. The Baltimore native brings a little more size to the position than Dorleant or Hawkins but had a solid college career, which included a 3-interception game last season.

Randall Jette, cornerback, Massachusetts

Height: 5' 11-1/8"
Weight: 193

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.65 1.58 14 37" 10'2" 4.41 7.18
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL INT PD FR FF
2012 12 53 30 1.0 0.0 2 6 0 0
2013 11 45 23 2.0 0.0 1 12 3 2
2014 12 67 39 0.5 0.0 4 18 1 1
2015 9 45 22 2.5 0.0 2 8 0 0

Jette started for all four years at UMass, posting impressive tackle and pass breakup numbers despite being more limited athletically than the other corners in this year's UDFA class. His vertical and broad jump numbers are solid, though, but he looks like a player who will need to show that he can overcome a lack of speed with excellent ball skills and physical play.

Kentrell Brice, safety, Louisiana Tech

Height: 5' 11-1/2"
Weight: 200 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
4.44 1.56 21 42" 11'1" 4.40 7.66
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL INT PD FR FF
2012 11 10 8 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2013 12 54 35 0.0 1.5 0 0 2 0
2014 14 86 65 4.0 4.0 2 5 0 4
2015 13 60 46 1.0 3.0 1 8 1 0

Brice is a decently-sized, hard-hitting safety who was regularly in the box and used as a blitzer. Those four sacks and four forced fumbles as a junior stand out, as do his excellent numbers in the 40, vertical, and broad jump. Brice will almost certainly be put to the test on special teams, and could make for an intriguing backup option behind Morgan Burnett and Chris Banjo at strong safety.

Demond Smith, safety, Georgia Tech

Height: 5' 11-3/4"
Weight: 200 lbs.

40 Time 10-yd Split Bench Vertical Broad 20-yd Shuttle 3-cone
n/a n/a n/a 34" 10'1" n/a n/a
College Stats
Year Games Tackles Solo Sacks TFL INT PD FR FF
2012 13 12 11 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2013 13 45 32 0.5 3.0 0 4 0 0
2014 14 73 54 0.0 2.0 1 4 1 1
2015 11 51 35 0.0 2.5 0 1 0 0

Smith reportedly pulled his quadriceps at his Pro Day, preventing him from working out fully. However, like Brice, he could be an option as an in-the-box safety who can help out in run support.

Peter Mortell, punter, Minnesota

Height: 5' 11-1/4"
Weight: 203 lbs.

College Stats
Year Games Punts Yards Avg Tackles
2012 2 0 0 0 0
2013 13 62 2687 43.3 1
2014 13 67 3025 45.2 0
2015 13 74 3215 43.5 3

Mortell spent three years as the Gophers' punter and holder, averaging just shy of 44 yards per punt for his career. A Green Bay native and graduate of Notre Dame high school, Mortell has even more connections to the Packers: as ESPN revealed recently, Mortell's grandfather was the clock operator at Lambeau Field until 2010, when his son (Peter's father) took over and still holds the job today.