Now that the Green Bay Packers have wrapped up the 2017 NFL Draft and rookie minicamp, the team has finalized its 90-man roster heading into the start of OTAs. We at Acme Packing Company have ranked the players roster from 1 through 90 in terms of the players’ overall talent levels and likelihoods to make an impact in Green Bay and we present the single compiled ranking set to you over the next two weeks.
Today, we continue our breakdown of the Green Bay Packers’ roster with a group of players who primarily spent last year in college football or on NFL practice squads. However, one name stands out among this group as a player who made last year’s 53-man roster out of training camp.
That player was one whose roster spot was hotly debated, and he bounced around the NFL a bit during the season before finally landing back with the Packers late in the year.
Without further ado, here are players 80 through 71 in our roster ranking.
#80: DT Izaah Lunsford
A rookie out of Bowling Green, Lunsford looks to be a nose tackle with his size and bulk (6’3”, 310). The problem there is that the Packers use a 3-man line rarely, preferring to line up in their nickel or dime alignments instead. Still, Lunsford had some modest success rushing the passer in college, totaling 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in his four years.
T-#78: ILB Derrick Mathews
Mathews spent much of last season on the practice squad, but he could not break through onto the active roster. He had a surprisingly productive career at Houston, with three seasons of 100+ tackles before his senior year was cut short by injury. He also had a sophomore season with 17 tackles for loss and six sacks, then followed that up with 12 TFLs and seven sacks as a junior. So far, however, he has not translated that to the NFL level, failing to make an NFL appearance in two years.
T-#78: G Thomas Evans
Evans is arguably one of the strongest players on the team as an undrafted rookie, as he holds many records in the weight room at Richmond College. According to Packersnews.com, he has the following personal bests: “Bests include 525 bench press, 690 squat and 425 power clean.” A guard with the potential to play some center, he should be in the competition for a backup interior line spot.
#77: G/T Adam Pankey
Following in Don Barclay’s footsteps from West Virginia is Pankey, who like Barclay played some left tackle in college but also pitched in at left guard. In Green Bay, he is likely to contribute more at guard as part of the massive competition behind Lane Taylor and likely starter Jahri Evans. He gets the nod over Evans given his stronger college competition in a Power Five conference.
#76: CB Lenzy Pipkins
Pipkins, one of the Packers’ undrafted corners, transferred to Oklahoma State for his final season after playing at Louisiana-Monroe. Pipkins played mainly zone for the Cowboys, but was more of a press-man corner at Monroe, where he was able to use his size and length to disrupt receivers. He has good but not exceptional speed and is another in the Packers’ group of taller corners this year.
#75: QB Joe Callahan
The Packers’ third-string quarterback from last season was the source of much hand-wringing among Packers fans as he bounced around from the active roster to the Saints to the Browns then back to the Packers’ practice squad. This particular writer feels that his roster spot would have been much better served going to a player at another position and with more talent. Callahan had a few nifty scrambles in the preseason last year, when he played by far the most snaps of any QB due to Brett Hundley’s injury. However, he has significant physical limitations - arm strength being the biggest one - which make it unlikely that he will ever become a contributor on an NFL team.
#74: CB Raysean Pringle
Pringle is a weird case, as he played wide receiver and running back at Southern Utah but is entering camp as a cornerback. He has good physical tools, running a 4.42 40 and posting 24 reps on the bench press (an impressive number for a player measuring six feet tall and 191 pounds), so CBs coach Joe Whitt will have an impressive piece of clay to mold into an NFL corner.
#73: OLB Josh Letuligasenoa
One of the most impressive last names on the team, the Cal Poly product signed after rookie orientation last week. He started his college career as a 4-3 defensive end, but stood up as a rush linebacker as the Mustangs switched to a 3-4 over the past two seasons. He’s not particularly fast (4.94 40), but was decently productive as a senior and clearly impressed enough in rookie practices last week.
#72: OLB Johnathan Calvin
Calvin is a hybrid 3-4 pass-rusher, somewhat in the physical mold of Datone Jones. He has experience in a 3-4 defense in college and played both defensive end and outside linebacker in that scheme. That should give him the ability to serve as an elephant end, the same role that Jones occupied; this involves playing standing up as well as with a hand on the ground as an interior rusher on passing downs.
#71: WR Max McCaffrey
The older brother of this year’s 8th overall draft pick, Christian McCaffrey, Max got a brief call-up off the practice squad prior to the NFC Championship Game in January as insurance against the injuries that struck the Packers’ receiving corps. He did not play in the game, but stuck around this offseason and will compete for a depth spot or another practice squad slot. McCaffrey ran well at his 2016 Pro Day, with a 4.46 40 and 1.54-second 10-yard split.
Stay tuned on Wednesday as we run down the players in the 60s.