With the Green Bay Packers focused heavily on acquiring college prospects in the NFL Draft this weekend, the pro scouting department was still hard at work keeping an eye on the waiver wire. And just two days before the Draft begins, the team has made a pair of additions following a mini-roster purge by the Miami Dolphins this weekend.
According to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero and later confirmed on the NFL’s transaction wire, the Packers claimed two players on waivers from Miami today: defensive tackle Gerald Willis and edge rusher Jamal Davis. Both players went undrafted in 2019 and spent a brief period on NFL practice squads before ending up on the Dolphins’ active roster late in the season.
Davis profiles as a lean but athletic pass-rusher with good movement skills. A defensive end at the University of Akron, he posted 5.5 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, and an interception as a senior. At the 2019 Combine, Davis performed well, posting a 4.60-second 40-yard dash, a seven-second-flat 3-cone drill, and jumps of 39 inches (vertical) and 122 inches (broad). All of those numbers were above the 80th percentile for edge rushers (per Mockdraftable) and gave him an overall RAS of 9.47. After bouncing around to three AFC South teams from May through December, Miami signed him off the Titans’ practice squad and he played in three games late in the season, seeing only a handful of snaps as a deep backup.
Willis, who is the younger brother of Washington safety Landon Collins, started his college career at Florida but was dismissed from the team early on. He moved on to Miami, where he played out the remainder of his college career, though he took the 2017 season off to “refocus himself.” However, a strong senior season in 2018 saw him earn second-team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated with 18 tackles for loss — most among FBS defensive tackles — and four sacks.
Often projected as a day-two draft pick heading into the 2019 draft, Willis went undrafted, perhaps in part because he was injured late in the season and could not participate in the Senior Bowl or the Combine. He signed a free agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens, but was released at the end of training camp. Afterwards, he caught on with the Dolphins’ practice squad before a promotion to the active roster in late November.
Both players project as high-upside prospects who could challenge for a back-end roster spot in training camp. With NFL teams seemingly less likely to load up on undrafted rookies this year due to COVID-19 issues affecting evaluations, this appears to be an alternate pathway for the Packers to get a couple of players with useful tools into the organization.