Graham Harrell had a prolific collegiate career at Texas Tech, setting multiple passing records as he piloted the high-octane offense of head coach Mike Leach. But he went undrafted in 2009, then went to rookie minicamp with the Cleveland Browns and landed briefly in the CFL prior to being signed by the Green Bay Packers in 2010.
Harrell spent most of the 2010 and 2011 seasons on Green Bay’s practice squad, and he did not see his first regular season NFL action until last season when he became the No. 2 quarterback for the Packers. Being behind one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers would limit anyone’s opportunities to play, so the fact Harrell has only attempted four passes (completing two) thus far in his career is not surprising.
Harrell is expected to face competition from 2012 seventh-round pick B.J. Coleman, who spent his entire rookie season on Green Bay’s practice squad. Coleman’s physical tools are considered far superior to Harrell’s, so an open competition during the preseason looks certain. Undrafted free agent Matt Brown could also enter the mix for a roster spot, but it would be a huge surprise if he usurps Harrell and Coleman to become the backup to Rodgers.
If Coleman takes the lead for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart in the early stages of training camp and the preseason, it would not surprise me to see the Packers simply release Harrell. At that point he could find an opportunity with another NFL team, but that is far from a given with his lack of a track record. Simply put, even if he winds up showcasing himself for other teams, Harrell needs a strong showing during preseason games in order to keep his career going.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.