On Tuesday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers made official the release of tight end Jace Sternberger following the expiration of his suspension by the NFL. While the departure of a recent third-round draft pick is disappointing to say the least, the team seems to have found a quartet of tight ends that they are very pleased with and who have varied and complementary skill sets.
But as the team moved on from a 2019 draft pick, they also acquired a pair of former fifth-round picks who were on the free agent market and added them to the team’s practice squad. The newest Packers are safety Shawn Davis, a rookie out of Florida, and defensive lineman RJ McIntosh, who was drafted back in 2018.
Davis, who heard the Indianapolis Colts call his name with the 165th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, gives the Packers an extra option as a depth safety as he joins Innis Gaines on the practice squad. Davis had a productive college career for the Florida Gators with five total interceptions and ten pass breakups, and once earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week in 2019. A two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll honoree, the 5-foot-11, 202-pound Davis did not have a timed performance in the 40-yard dash at Florida’s Pro Day due to an injury he suffered on his first attempt. However, he reportedly recorded a 39.5-inch vertical, suggesting impressive explosiveness.
The Colts released Davis at the end of training camp, however, in part due to a poor performance in Indianapolis’ final preseason game. He did return on the practice squad, but was cut loose once again last week.
Meanwhile, McIntosh will give the Packers a player with some NFL experience as the team looks to find some answers for its struggling defensive line. The Giants made McIntosh the 139th overall pick in 2018 after a college career at Miami that ended with 22 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, and nine pass breakups in his final two years. McIntosh would play six games as a rookie and another 12 in 2019, when he would post a pair of sacks in just over 100 defensive snaps.
In 2020, McIntosh made the Giants’ roster but was inactive on gameday each week of the season. New York released him in August and he landed with the New Orleans Saints for the remainder of training camp, but was released again when the Saints cut down to 53.
At 6-foot-5 and around 286 pounds, McIntosh appears to have an ideal frame as a 5-technique end in the Packers’ 3-4 base defense. Whether he will be anything more than a practice squad player remains to be seen, however, but he has flashed some pass-rush ability in the past and could be a candidate to make his way onto the gameday roster should the team continue to see its other linemen struggle to pressure the pocket.
In order to make room on the practice squad for Davis and McIntosh, the Packers released defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson and offensive lineman Jacob Capra. Capra was a member of the Packers’ initial undrafted free agent rookie class in 2021, while Anderson signed with the Packers late in training camp; both players had signed to the practice squad after final cuts.