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Packers 2021 rookie minicamp roster features only three tryout players

Most surprising are a few absences of holdovers from last year who could have participated this weekend.

NFC Championship - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are holding rookie minicamp this weekend, giving the coaching staff its first look at the 2021 draft class. The Packers’ nine draft picks and seven undrafted rookies are at the team’s practice facilities for their first on-field work today, joined by an additional set of players who are eligible as first-year or rookie players.

Green Bay also brought in three players on a tryout basis. The number of tryout players is limited this year due to COVID-19 protocols, and Green Bay elected to bring in a pair of quarterbacks and a linebacker with a close connection to a certain Packers star.

Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com posted the full 28-man rookie camp roster on Twitter. Here is that list broken down by category and sorted by jersey number.

Draft Picks (9)

  • Amari Rodgers, WR #8
  • Eric Stokes, CB #21
  • Shemar Jean-Charles, CB #22
  • Kylin Hill, RB #32
  • Isaiah McDuffie, ILB #58
  • Royce Newman, OL #70
  • Josh Myers, OL #71
  • Cole Van Lanen, OL #78
  • T.J. Slaton, DL #93

Undrafted Rookies (7)

  • Christian Uphoff, S #40
  • Jacob Capra, OL #60
  • Jon Dietzen, OL #61
  • Coy Cronk, OL #65
  • Bailey Gaither, WR #80
  • Jack Heflin, DL #90
  • Carlo Kemp, OLB #98

Futures Contract Players (9)

  • Ryan Winslow, P #7
  • JJ Molson, K #9
  • Chris Blair, WR #16
  • Mike Weber, RB #24
  • Patrick Taylor, RB #27
  • Innis Gaines, S #38
  • Joe Fortunato, LS #47
  • Ray Wilborn, LB #57
  • Delontae Scott, DL #75

These players were primarily practice squad players in 2020 or free agents, all of whom were signed after the conclusion of the season. A player in this category must not have accumulated a full accrued season for free agency purposes in order to be eligible to participate in rookie minicamp; for example, tight end Bronson Kaufusi has accumulated two accrued seasons, and although he was a practice squad player in 2020 and is signed on a futures contract, he is not eligible to participate.

Of these players, only Weber suited up in a game for the Packers last season. He earned elevations from the practice squad to the gameday roster on a few occasions, including for the NFC Championship Game in January.

Interestingly, a few players who might have been eligible under these rules are not in attendance. Stanford Samuels, Tipa Galeai, De’Jon Harris, Jake Hanson, Jack Johnson, Reggie Begelton, and Will Previlon all could have theoretically participated, but are not listed on the roster.

Tryout Players (3)

  • Kurt Benkert, QB #7
  • Chad Kelly, QB #9
  • Alvin Jones, ILB #45

The Packers did not have an eligible quarterback for rookie camp, with Jordan Love being on the 53-man roster for the entire 2020 season. As a result, they have brought in a pair of throwers on a tryout basis in Benkert and Kelly in order to run an actual practice.

Green Bay may well sign one of the two quarterbacks after minicamp this weekend. The team inked veteran Blake Bortles to a contract earlier this week, but with only Aaron Rodgers and Love on the roster prior to that, the team simply needed arms to run an effective practice during OTAs. Adding a fourth quarterback to the mix may end up being necessary, particularly if the team expects Rodgers to skip OTAs later this month.

The interesting name on the list, however, is Alvin Jones, the twin brother of Packers running back Aaron Jones. Alvin was a member of the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad in 2018 and spent the 2019 season with that team, but was waived with an injury settlement in September of that year. He was out of football in 2020, but the Packers did bring him in at one point during the season for a workout. Now he returns once again on a tryout basis.