On Monday, the Green Bay Packers announced that the team had signed linebacker Peter Kalambayi to the practice squad. While the team did not state whether he is considered to be an outside linebacker or an inside linebacker for the Packers, recent history would suggest that he is going to play on the inside for the team.
Originally a sixth-round draft pick for the Houston Texans, Kalambayi came to the NFL by way of Stanford, where he was a two-time captain for the Cardinal. As a prep, he was a U.S. Army All-American, won three state titles in football in the state of North Carolina and was an all-state shot put athlete. This athleticism seems to translate well in terms of his combine measurables, as his Relative Athletic Score ranks high for a pass-rushing prospect, which is what he was coming out of college.
Peter Kalambayi posted a sub 7.00 second cone time at his pro day, but landed an elite #RAS due to strong marks at the Combine. Great speed, agility, and explosiveness, his downside is size, like many other prospects in this class. pic.twitter.com/Yrv2cvv8X5— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 15, 2018
After spending his rookie year in Houston as an edge defender, Kalambayi made the transition to the box linebacker position. Still, his biggest contribution at the NFL level has come on special teams, where he has registered 784 of his 916 snaps (86 percent) in the regular season over his career.
Despite contributing for the Texans for three years as a core special-teamer, he was let go when the franchise made wholesale changes this offseason. He was picked up by the Denver Broncos this summer, but was waived in mid-August as cut downs approached.
This move is interesting, if for no other reason than the fact that the Packers’ special teams units have struggled mightily all season, but no more than two Sundays ago against the Chicago Bears. Outside of the kicking unit, there was little to feel good about in regards to Green Bay’s “third phase of football” against the Baltimore Ravens last night, either.
As we have seen recently with the additions of safety Shawn Davis and defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson, the Packers may be willing to rock the boat to get more out of the low end of their roster at this point in the season. Both Davis and Anderson were activated to the 53-man roster for the first time last week after spending most of the year on the practice squad. Anderson actually saw playing time ahead of Jack Heflin, who has been a week-to-week healthy scratch for the majority of the Packers’ season.
The two most-played special teamers in Green Bay are both inside linebackers, the same position Kalambayi will contribute at defensively. This very well could be a move to push Oren Burks (274 snaps) and Ty Summers (270) to improve or risk their roster spot, should Kalambayi be called up. Rookie Isaiah McDuffie (129) and “starter” Krys Barnes (96) also contribute on special teams.