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2018 NFL Draft: Packers could be a destination for three Grambling standouts

The Packers were Pro Day attendees for a handful of late-round Tiger hopefuls.

NCAA Football: Celebration Bowl-Grambling vs North Carolina A&T Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers have made several rendezvous to Pro Days of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) ranks this draft season. A number of potential small-school players could be on the radar for the Packers on the draft’s third day this April. For a small group of Grambling State University athletes, there could be an opportunity to trade their “G” logoed Grambling helmets for Green Bay ones.

Green Bay has not selected a Grambling player in the NFL Draft since it chose running back Walter Dean in the sixth round of the 1991 Player Selection Meeting. But the school has its place in Packers lore as the former stomping grounds of Lombardi-era great and Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis.

When the Arizona Cardinals made wide receiver Chad Williams their third round selection a year ago, it marked the first Grambling player taken in the draft since 2006. But at least a couple of current players on the offensive side of the ball are hoping to keep that pipeline open this draft season.

Devante Kincade, Quarterback

It’s unclear exactly who the Packers were targeting at Grambling’s Pro Day. However, one could feel confident saying that Kincade earned a look.

Green Bay has only drafted two quarterbacks over the past six drafts after being an annual picker during the Ron Wolf era. With Brian Gutekunst calling the shots for the first time, a developmental quarterback could be in play and Kincade is a possibility for the later rounds or undrafted free agency period.

The Packers last selected a FCS signal caller in 2012 when they added B.J. Coleman, but Kincade offers a very different skillset. The scrambler is on the smaller side at around six feet tall, but was once a heralded Ole Miss recruit who transferred to Grambling to be closer to his ailing mother. He has difficulty throwing to his left, but is able to sense pressure and step up or roll out in the pocket to avoid it. He gets happy feet in the pocket, but keeps his eyes downfield and appears to have the arm strength to have a developmental opportunity in the pros.

Being a small-program quarterback has its knocks, but Kincade spent two years at Ole Miss in the SEC and played Power Five opponents at Grambling. Before leaving the game with injury against Arizona back in 2016, Kincade was picking apart the Wildcat defense to the tune of a 14-0 lead. He finished 15-of-19 for 193 yards and two scores, including a beautiful 26-yard touchdown strike to the end zone as he was rolling to his right (see 2:23 in the video below).

While he can be erratic at times, Kincade completed around 60% of his passes over two seasons for an 8.3 yards per attempt average that’s right on par with some of the top quarterbacks of this draft class. He has a strong arm, makes plenty of plays with his feet, and threw for 54 touchdowns to just eight interceptions the past couple seasons. A late-round flyer on Kincade, who reminds in many ways of former Seattle Seahawk Trevone Boykin on the field, would give the Packers another talented body to compete with DeShone Kizer and Brett Hundley in training camp, and a viable dual-threat practice squad candidate.

Martez Carter, Running Back

Kincade’s backfield counterpart, Carter was most likely the main draw to the Pro Day after rushing for at least 850 yards each of the past three seasons. A player that had dynamic moments in the rushing, receiving, and return games during his Tigers career, especially versus rival Southern University in 2016, Carter is a shorter back that would bring value to a Packers backfield that already selected two promising young backs in Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams last year.

Running a 4.49 40-yard dash with a 36-inch vertical and a 9-foot-10 inch broad jump with Packers scouts in attendance will only help Carter’s cause to be a late-round selection. “Mr. Excitement,” as he is called, has provided a major spark for the Tigers, scoring 41 touchdowns in 35 games. Perhaps most importantly for a back that is 5-foot-9 and 206 pounds trying to make it to the NFL is his willingness in pass protection and Carter draws rave reviews in that area.

Carter makes quick, decisive cuts and has the ability to make defenders miss in space. He also is a threat in the screen game and as a check-down receiver, catching 33 passes for nearly 450 yards in 2017. Carter does not shy away from contact as a rusher and brings that same fearlessness as a punt and kick returner, where he reached the end zone three times in his career.

After an eye-opening performance in the NFL Collegiate Bowl this offseason, Carter stands a fair chance at being drafted in a similar spot as the Packers’ Jones by the time draft weekend rolls around. Carter’s stock is helped by a similar back in North Carolina A&T’s Tarik Cohen having a breakout rookie season for the Chicago Bears. With the jury still out on last year’s seventh round selection Devante Mays and Ty Montgomery set to flex out to receiver more in 2018, Carter would offer Green Bay a versatile late-round option.

Montrel Meander, S

The Packers could be looking for an undrafted safety to test out in rookie minicamps and Meander, who has a heck of a last name for a safety, could be one of those diamond-in-the-rough type of players after a stellar Pro Day workout.

The former Texas Longhorn wide receiver transfer also posted a 75-inch wingspan and 15 bench press reps and caught the attention of one NFL scout in attendance.

That’s what he did, he earned an opportunity to get evaluated further. He’s got a good-sized frame, good work ethic, he’s a tough kid.

For the minimal amount of reps we get to evaluate, you can see through this workout that he’ll be good enough to play on special teams. With 90-man rosters, he’s going to have value, he’s going to have an opportunity.

Though the Packers were not one of the teams that interviewed Meander before or after workouts, they have not been afraid in the past to add athletic players that they can mold within their secondary. Meander only totaled 49 tackles (3.5 for a loss) and two interceptions last season, but his measurables may give him an opportunity at the next level.