This week, as the Green Bay Packers put an end to their 2019 season, the team ensured that a group of ten players who played some important roles over the past season will remain with the team through the next several months. The Packers announced on Tuesday that all ten players who finished the 2019 campaign on the practice squad will be back, signing them all to futures contracts for 2020.
The practice squad is a critical part of the roster for NFL teams, both because of its necessity to simulate opponents in practice on the scout team and in its developmental function for young players. The Packers often have seen great success from players who started out on the practice squad, with Tramon Williams being arguably the best example in recent memory.
This year’s group includes a handful of players who have been with the organization for the entirety of the 2019 season, one former Packers draft pick, and a handful of in-season acquisitions. Here is the full list of these players:
- TE Evan Baylis
- OT Cody Conway
- RB Damarea Crockett
- CB Kabion Ento
- TE James Looney
- OLB Randy Ramsey
- WR Darrius Shepherd
- WR Malik Taylor
- QB Manny Wilkins
- OLB Tim Williams
Of this group, four players have spent time on the Packers’ 53-man roster. Baylis got two call-ups in 2019, suiting up in five games and primarily contributing on special teams. Looney, a seventh-round draft pick in 2018, played in three games late in his first season. Shepherd, an undrafted rookie who signed with the Packers after their 2019 rookie minicamp, made the Packers’ opening 53-man roster in September, but failed to impress in regular season action. Finally, Williams landed with the Packers after they claimed him on waivers from the Baltimore Ravens. However, he played in just one game with the Packers, suiting up for two special teams snaps.
Interestingly, the Packers renegotiated Williams’ practice squad contract in December, potentially offering him additional money to stay with the team rather than sign elsewhere. A former third-round draft pick, Williams is a plus athlete who could be a useful edge rusher in the future if he can develop and improve his technique.
Look for several of these players to have an opportunity to work out at this year’s rookie minicamp as well before the team as a whole begins its Organized Team Activities later on in May.