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Packers 90-man roster ranking, 60-56: Exceptional athletes look to grow into NFL roles

There’s a common theme among this next group of players: great athletic ability that must be harnessed.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

APC’s countdown of the Green Bay Packers’ 90-man roster continues on this afternoon, as the numbers click over to players 60 through 56.

This next group of five players all were drafted into the NFL over the past few years, with three of them being Packers seventh-round picks in 2018 or 2019. Four of the five finished last season on the active roster, while the fifth was just selected in last April’s NFL Draft. Athleticism that needs refining is a common thread, however; most of these players have excellent physical tools but have yet to make a significant mark in the NFL. If they take to the Packers’ playbooks this offseason and develop the mental side of the game, each of these players could be suiting up in green and gold on Sundays this fall.

60: Natrell Jamerson, cornerback

After starting his college career as a receiver, Jamerson switched to the defensive backfield for the Wisconsin Badgers while maintaining his role as a kickoff return man and key special teams player. First starting as a slot corner, Jamerson eventually found the starting lineup as a senior with a move to safety, where he picked up a pair of interceptions, ten pass breakups, and 1.5 sacks.

Jamerson then landed with the New Orleans Saints as a fifth-round draft pick in 2018, but the team cut him at the end of training camp, perhaps in an effort to sneak him onto their practice squad. The Houston Texans snapped him up on waivers, however, and he played ten games for Houston before being waived once again. The Packers then put in a claim for the speedy defensive back, listing him as a cornerback when he got back to the dairy state but suiting him up exclusively on special teams for two games.

With 4.40 speed, Jamerson has the ability to stay with the faster receivers in the NFL, and he has decently long arms at 32-5/8 inches. Given how the Packers like to use slot corners and safeties somewhat interchangeably, a Micah Hyde-like role with special teams contributions would seem to be the likeliest spot for Jamerson should he make the 53-man roster this fall.

59: Hunter Bradley, long snapper

A seventh-round pick of the Packers last season, Bradley ended up getting the long-snapping job out of training camp despite some struggles in the preseason. For now, he is the only player at the position on the roster, so the job seems to be his by default for the time being.

58: Danny Vitale, fullback

This former Northwestern Wildcat — one of several on the Packers’ roster — is another excellent athlete for his position. At the 2016 NFL Combine, he posted workout numbers better than many running backs in his class, with a 4.60-second 40, 7.12-second 3-cone, and 38.5-inch vertical all at 6-foot-1 and 240 pounds.

Vitale ended up playing 24 games for the Browns over his first two years before landing on injured reserve to start the 2018 season. After Cleveland released him with an injury settlement, he landed with the Packers, first on the practice squad and then on the active roster for the final five games of last season.

With no other true fullbacks on the roster, Vitale has a great opportunity to take hold of a roster spot by impressing as a lead blocker. However, with Matt LaFleur’s offenses seemingly preferring to go single-back with two tight ends instead, he will need to force the issue with excellent play rather than getting a job by default.

Although if APC were ranking the roster by social media presence or mustache game, Vitale would probably be in the top ten.

57: Kendall Donnerson, outside linebacker

Like Bradley, Donnerson was a seventh-round draft pick last season. However, the insane athletic ability that he showed at his Pro Day — including a 4.45-second 40 and 7.03-second 3-cone at 250 pounds — never saw its way onto the field during the regular season.

After an uninspiring preseason, Donnerson landed on the practice squad to start the regular season. However, this writer in particular was critical of the defensive coaching staff’s unwillingness to suit him up on gameday once he was promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad. With nothing tangible to play for, the opportunity to get young players like Donnerson real reps in game situations seemed ideal to evaluate him as a player rather than just an athlete. Until exhibition games begin in August, that is what he will remain in the eyes of Packers fans.

56: Ty Summers, inside linebacker

Yet another seventh-round draft pick in this group, Summers was just drafted this April and has had no opportunity as yet to impress or disappoint fans. As such, he is another exceptional athlete with a role that is yet to be determined.

However, Summers’ contributions in college at TCU came all over the field on defense as well as on special teams. That special teams experience alone makes him a better bet to make the 53 than Donnerson, but so does the thinner depth at the inside linebacker position. And whereas Donnerson is purely an athletic prospect from an FCS school, Summers cashed in on his athleticism (4.51 40) with solid production at a power-five conference.