Following the release of quarterback Danny Etling on Sunday, the Green Bay Packers were able to free up a roster spot. On Monday, they used that opportunity to sign running back Nate McCrary. McCrary was not in practice for the Packers on Monday, meaning that his first opportunity to play with his new team might come in Cincinnati, where the team will have their next practice — a joint practice — and their preseason opener.
McCrary was a two-year starter at Saginaw Valley State and went undrafted in the 2021 draft class. Originally signing with the Baltimore Ravens, McCrary has also spent time with the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers and most recently the Cleveland Browns — who waived him last week.
Nathan McCrary is a RB prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.42 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 86 out of 1463 RB from 1987 to 2021. https://t.co/qvYFRXwj0x #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/DnCtfM5LGn— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 29, 2021
Athletically, McCrary is an explosive, big back. He is now one of five backs on the Packers’ roster over 215 pounds. Only starter Aaron Jones and 2022 practice-squadder Tyler Goodson fall below that mark.
Running back is a position that Green Bay needed to add depth at. Head coach Matt LaFleur stated on Monday that there are some players who will likely be held out of the Week 1 preseason matchup against the Bengals. Based on LaFleur’s history with the preseason, you can assume that Jones and AJ Dillon will be in street clothes.
Aside from players being bubble wrapped until the regular season, the Packers are also dealing with an injury at the position, as rookie seventh-round pick Lew Nichols has missed the last two practices — including Family Night on Saturday. Prior to the addition of McCrary, that left Green Bay with just three healthy non-Jones/Dillon backs for preseason Week 1 in Cincinnati.
Keep an eye out for the running back position this preseason, as there seems to be a wide-open camp battle for the third running back job. At Family Night, Goodson was the third-string back to work with Jones and Dillon with the first-team offense, but Patrick Taylor was featured on multiple “starting” special teams units. Whoever wins that job may set themselves up well for 2024, when Jones could become a cap casualty and Dillon is set to become an unrestricted free agent.