With three practices into training camp, we have only a little bit of an idea how the Green Bay Packers' rookie class will turn out in 2015. However, there are plenty of reasons to be positive about this year's crop of draft picks and undrafted signees.
We'll keep an eye on the rookies each week throughout camp. Here's our look at the first-year players and how they have performed early on in camp.
Damarious Randall, CB
Randall had one of the plays of the day in Friday's practice, breaking up a long pass intended for fellow rookie Jimmie Hunt. He has been earning some first-team reps in sub packages, though, playing on the outside when Casey Hayward shifts into the slot in the dime. All in all, that bodes well for the first-round pick.
Quinten Rollins, CB
Rollins has unfortunately been sidelined for practice so far, as he was placed on the Non-Football Injury list to start training camp. He pulled a hamstring while working out between minicamp and training camp, and that led to his NFI designation. Though he hopes to get on the field sooner rather than later, hammies are lingering injuries and can be problematic if not allowed to heal fully.
Ty Montgomery, WR
Earning some of the first reps on kickoff returns is this year's third-round pick, who is expected to make an impact immediately on special teams. Where he has been more impressive is on offense, as he had one of the best catches of the day on Saturday in addition to showing good speed on an end-around. So far, he has certainly shown enough to be in the discussion for playing time all over the field when the season starts.
Jake Ryan, ILB
Ryan is by most accounts progressing well for a rookie, playing primarily on the second team. However, he did earn some first-team reps on Friday with Clay Matthews shifted outside as the team shuffles through various options at inside linebacker. Keep an eye on Ryan this week to see if he keeps moving forward.
Brett Hundley, QB
So far, Hundley has looked like the fourth-best quarterback in camp, with Matt Blanchard largely playing better to this point. It hasn't been pretty so far, but then again it's not out of the ordinary for a rookie quarterback, especially a mid-round pick, to look unimpressive for the first week of camp. The bigger issue to watch will be whether or not he improves over the next several weeks.
Aaron Ripkowski, FB
The new fullback and his fellow rookie Ryan have gotten acquainted early:
Aaron Ripkowski not afraid to hit. Man. Couple big collisions with Ryan— Weston Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) August 1, 2015
That's what we want to see out of a fullback early on - a willingness to take on contact and lay the lumber on his opposition.
Christian Ringo, DT
We think this quote from Ringo pretty much sums up his camp so far:
#Packers DT Christian Ringo: "I got my 'Welcome to the @NFL [Moment] today. It was exciting being back in pads."— Andy McDonnell (@Andy_McDonnell) August 1, 2015
It shouldn't be a surprise that a sixth-round pick will have a bit of a wake-up call when putting on the pads for the first time. Like Hundley, Ringo's success in camp will be defined by progression over the next few weeks rather than by an early impact.
Kennard Backman, TE
Like the two players ahead of him, Backman has not had his name called out much so far in camp. Now, with Andrew Quarless back at practice, Backman will continue to be relegated to second-team reps.
Undrafted rookies of note
LaDarius Gunter, CB
Gunter has been impressing early on camp, showing why he was one of the players the Packers were most interested in after the draft. Jason Wilde explains his progress best:
Gunter with nice jam/pass breakup on Rodgers throw to Nelson on a slant. Each day the UDFA CB from @MiamiHurricanes makes at least one play.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) August 1, 2015
Alonzo Harris, RB
Harris has been running with authority and impressed in Saturday's padded practice. His blocking definitely needs work, however:
Harris can run. Blocking? He just whiffed on a Morgan Burnett blitz.— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) August 1, 2015