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Packers sign free agent DeAndre Thompkins to help fill wide receiver room during OTAs

The former Penn State receiver has had a few cups of coffee with NFL teams the last two years.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 13 Michigan State at Penn State Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers had a bit of a bodies problem at the wide receiver position to start OTAs. With the team’s top five wideouts all sitting out offseason practices, suddenly the Packers were a bit short at a position that traditionally has a large number of bodies during the offseason.

Thus, shortly after a roster spot opened up with the release of cornerback KeiVarae Russell, the Packers moved to bring in a free agent receiver to shore up the numbers in that room. On Wednesday afternoon, the team announced the signing of DeAndre Thompkins to the 90-man roster.

Thompkins has yet to play in an NFL game in his career following the completion of his college football eligibility after the 2018 season. He spent the entire 2019 offseason with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted rookie but was released at the end of training camp. Thompkins was out of football during the season then spent a week on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster at the end of 2020 camp before he was again released at final cuts.

At Penn State, Thompkins was a secondary receiving option who contributed heavily on punt returns. Generally a third or fourth option in the Nittany Lions’ passing game, Thompkins never eclipsed 30 receptions or 450 yards in a season, but did have three straight seasons with at least 25 catches and over 300 yards. Thompkins also averaged 10.2 yards per punt return on 66 attempts over his college career, taking two of those back for touchdowns.

At 5-foot-11 and 188 pounds, Thompkins’ best asset is his straight-line speed. Penn State is known for having a fast track at their team facilities, but he ran a reported 4.33-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day in March 2019.

Thompkins will take part in his first practice with the Packers on Thursday during OTAs, though that practice is not slated to be open to the media.