With 11 draft picks and a slew of undrafted free agents added to the roster since the end of April, the Green Bay Packers are poised to feature plenty of youth during the 2018 season.
Despite a new general manager at the helm, Green Bay should be expected to maintain its normal tendency to keep one or more undrafted players at the end of training camp. Perhaps this year more than others in recent memory, the Packers have loaded up on undrafted free agents at positions that were perceived to be a weakness or require further attention after the draft. Cornerbacks and skill position add-ons were few and far between during the post-draft period, as Green Bay targeted a plethora of linebackers, tight ends, and offensive linemen to bolster its developmental depth.
With those positions in mind, here are three prospects to keep an eye on as the summer evaluation periods begin.
Jacob Alsadek, G, Arizona
Green Bay added four undrafted rookies in the offensive trenches in addition to fifth round pick Cole Madison. Each figures to have an opportunity for a final roster spot at the conclusion of camp, but the one that most caught my eye was Alsadek, a massive guard. At 6’7” and 312 pounds, Alsadek has NFL size, but posted just 18 bench press reps in pre-draft workouts and lacks some of the quick-twitch athleticism to hold up against speed rushers. These concerns surely hurt Alsadek in the draft process, but his video provides a glimpse of developmental promise.
Alsadek’s hand placement is excellent and it routinely helped him create running lanes as a right guard for the Wildcats. He is capable of being a good run-blocker in the NFL and appears to play stronger than he tested, occasionally driving players to the ground. In the 2016 video against Washington below, Alsadek absolutely neutralized current Philadelphia Eagle Elijah Qualls as well as 2018 first round pick Vita Vea.
His pass protection remains a work in progress, as I thought he was one step slow at times on film. But as an experienced Pac-12 player with 46 career starts that does not have to play immediately, Alsadek presents a viable candidate for the Packers’ final roster at a right guard position without a solidified starter.
Marcus Porter, LB, Fairmont State
Like offensive line, the Packers beefed up at linebacker with five undrafted free agents and third round selection Oren Burks. I love the tackling and physical prowess of Syracuse’s Parris Bennett and the raw speed rush ability of Division III product C.J. Johnson of East Texas Baptist, two inside linebacker prospects. But an under-the-radar prospect who intrigues me even more is Porter, a 6’0,” 229-pound Division II prospect who plays bigger than his size.
HAVE A DAY!!! Marcus Porter ( @RichhPort3r ) Pro Day numbers:— DreamersWorldwide (@DreamersWrldwde) March 29, 2018
3 cone: 6.8
bench: 14 @nfldraftscout @NFLDraftBible @DraftScout @NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/CMl7UShImN
While Porter certainly will need to get stronger, he posted Pro Day numbers that were right on par or near the upper-echelon of players invited to the NFL Combine. Judging from limited film, Porter is able to get sideline-to-sideline quickly, shows some instincts in run support as well as against the pass, and will pack a punch in pursuit. He would make an excellent special teams player early in his career while transitioning from a small school to the pros. Porter brings a positive attitude to the game as indicated in this interview with The Gridiron Crew. I loved one quote in particular.
“If you’re looking for a talented, hard nosed, linebacker with athletic ability, who carries himself like a leader, who plays with a chip on his shoulder because he has been overlooked before and comes from a small school, who puts football first and made it a priority the day he started, then I am your guy.”
The Packers seemingly replaced Joe Thomas with Burks, upgrading their athleticism and cover ability at inside ‘backer. With Jake Ryan entering a contract season, one in which he would get a significant proven performance bonus if he makes the roster, the Packers could look for a cheaper, developmental player at the position. Despite Clay Matthews potentially earning snaps inside, Porter should not be overlooked, at least from a practice squad perspective.
Raven Greene, S, James Madison
The James Madison Dukes have been a NCAA FCS powerhouse over the past two-plus seasons and their all-time interception leader (14) Greene has been an instrumental part of that success.
Green Bay emphasized playmaking in its cornerback draft choices of Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. At safety, Greene represents another one of those ballhawks as well as a former team captain. At 5’11” and 197 pounds, Greene is not the largest player at his position, but he displays strong instincts to break on the ball as his interception total would suggest and floats to the ball quickly in pursuit (see play at 0:34 in the video below). Although he was out of position or covered up by a blocker at times with a leaner body frame, he was all over the field against New Hampshire, making plays as a coverman and in run support.
The Packers are no stranger to undrafted safeties, adding Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans via that avenue in recent seasons. With injuries and inconsistency a factor for both, Green Bay could look to keep a developmental player even with Josh Jones moving primarily to safety in 2018. Greene will be in the mix.
Packers undrafted free agent thread 10:— Andy Herman (@SconnieSports) May 5, 2018
Raven Greene - @Rgreene_5
5’11” 197 - S - rSr. - James Madison #5
Greene’s off to a good start by getting @nickdapick36 & @leap36’s number 36 jersey in Green Bay. Greene had some flash plays & could stick as a core special teams player. pic.twitter.com/9MLpU3tdy0