To this point, the Green Bay Packers have seen only a few members of the 2017 draft class make any significant impact. Top pick Kevin King was shadowing opponents’ top wide receivers for a few weeks before a concussion took him off the field. His fellow second-round pick, Josh Jones, had a breakout game against the Bengals and is showing development as a hybrid safety/linebacker. And fifth-round running back Aaron Jones had a huge game against the Cowboys a week ago, but is in line for little more than a timeshare for the foreseeable future.
That leaves several draft picks who have barely seen the field (defensive tackle Montravius Adams and running backs Jamaal Williams and Devante Mays), and a few who were left off the Packers’ 53-man roster entirely.
However, one player has an opportunity starting this week to establish a role on this team for the remainder of 2017 and beyond.
That player is former Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Vince Biegel, who was placed on the PUP list to begin his rookie year. After participating in the team’s rookie orientation camp in May, Biegel had foot surgery for the second time in seven months and missed all of the team’s offseason workouts and training camp.
However, with the mandatory six-week waiting period for PUP players now over, Biegel will have an opportunity to begin practicing on Wednesday. According to him, things appear to be on track for him to do just that, as he told reporters last week “it’s been a process to be able to come back after six weeks, and get the confidence back and work on some of the techniques I have.”
According to the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, players placed on the reserve/PUP list (also known as the “regular season PUP list”) are ineligible for the first six weeks of the season. After that point, a team has a six-week window in which that player must either begin practicing or must be placed on injured reserve.
Once a player begins practicing, a new window begins. From there, the team must reactivate the player to the 53-man roster within the next three weeks or place him on injured reserve.
In Biegel’s case, he does not appear to be in any danger of missing that six-week window between now and week 12. We can assume that Biegel will likely return to practice soon, and that he would likely be reactivated sometime before the Packers’ week 10 game against the Chicago Bears.
It does seem unlikely that a player who missed all of training camp would be activated immediately after just a few short days of practice, so the odds are stacked against Biegel playing on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. The Packers have a bye following that game, and they may elect to give him an extra week to get up to speed. However, the Packers are dealing with an injury to one veteran pass-rusher — Ahmad Brooks — that kept him out of the team’s week six loss in Minnesota. If the coaches and trainers feel that Biegel is ready and that the team needs a boost on the edge, it is possible that he could take the field for his NFL debut at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon.
Stay tuned to see more on Biegel’s status this Wednesday, when the Packers will practice for the first time this week.