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Two Prairie View A&M rookies hope to emerge during Packers’ training camp

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A quarterback prospect and one of his favorite receiving targets are getting their shots with the Green & Gold this summer.

Prairie View v Rice Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Last year, Quinton Bell broke a streak of 39 years between players drafted out of Prairie View A&M University when the Oakland Raiders selected him in the seventh round. This year, two additional undrafted former Panthers are looking to join Bell in earning extended looks in the NFL, but as members of the Green Bay Packers.

At the conclusion of the NFL Draft this April, the Packers signed a pair of free agents from PVAMU in quarterback Jalen Morton and tight end/H-back Jordan Jones. The pass-and-catch duo of former teammates should make for an interesting twist to training camp.

Morton seemingly looks to earn a shot at the practice squad like undrafted quarterback Manny Wilkins did last year. The two-year starter was a dual-threat weapon in the SWAC, rushing for 874 and 450 yards in his final two years, respectively. He averaged over six yards per carry while finding the end zone 16 times on the ground. Morton also passed for 2,344 yards during his first full-time season, perhaps a more accurate assessment of his passing after playing in 11 games as a junior compared to just eight as a senior. While Morton’s performance through the air is not staggering, with 33 touchdowns compared to 22 interceptions, he did improve his completion percentage by 6.5 points as a senior, boosted his yards per completion by 1.8, and cut his interceptions total from 12 to 10.

Size is in Morton’s favor at 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds, as is his arm strength, which is evident from several long touchdown passes thrown down the seams. Morton has the feet to evade the pass rush when needed and fires strikes when his feet are set. From an athleticism standpoint, Morton is flashy with 4.6 speed and a 39.5-inch vertical. But as NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein notes, Morton’s ability to move through progressions is a weakness at this stage of the game, and some of that lateness and indecisiveness showed up in a sack total of 31 during his junior season. That number improved to eight as a senior, however.

While Morton has his work cut out for him in making the team with Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle, and newly-drafted Jordan Love on the squad, his teammate Jones may stand a better chance with a unique skill set at an evolving position.

After struggling to produce eye-popping stats during his first four collegiate seasons at Grambling State, Jones made an impact in his final season after transferring to PVAMU. Jones caught 28 passes for 497 yards and four touchdowns as a flex player on offense. At 6-foot-1 and 255 pounds, Jones is listed as a fullback on the Packers’ roster after playing mostly tight end for the Panthers, and his traits fit nicely with the emphasis Green Bay is placing on the H-back position.

Those traits are derived from a multitude of roles. Jones started at running back while at Grambling and brings some of the physicality and run-after-catch skills from those experiences. Meanwhile, Jones has strong hands out of the backfield after playing tight end for both schools and developed as a blocker in both the passing and running games. The ability to transition between roles proves intelligence within Jones’ game and, although the Packers drafted Josiah Deguara in the third round, Jones could potentially carve out a reserve role if special teams also works in his favor. There is an opening now, especially with Danny Vitale moving on to New England this offseason.

Morton and Jones will compete alongside a number of undrafted rookies in training camp for spots on the Packers’ practice squad and 53-man roster. But there is some level of intrigue surrounding each player on the individual level as well as within the team component. Pre-built chemistry in the passing game could be a benefit to both players, who figure to work with each other quite a bit on the scout team throughout camp and the preseason. Their prior connection as small-school players will be something to watch as the exhibition slate begins.