Green Bay Packers Training Camp: Rookie Progress Report

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Green Bay Packers Training Camp: Rookie Progress Report

Datone Jones
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers currently have 27 rookies on their roster. The Packers drafted 11 players in April and since added an additional 16 rookie free agents.

This crowded field of players new to the NFL face widely varying odds of making the Packers’ opening day 53-man squad. Here are the Packers’ draft picks and the order they were selected:

1. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA.
2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama.
4a. David Bakhtiari, T, Colorado.
4b. J.C. Tretter, T, Cornell.
4c. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA.
5a. Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa.
5b. Josh Boyd, DE, Mississippi State.
6. Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois State.
7a. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State.
7b. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland.
7c. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida.

Notable rookie free agents include: wide receiver Sederrik Cunningham, linebacker Andy Mulumba, running back Angelo Pease, offensive lineman Lane Taylor and wide receiver Omarius Hines. Unfortunately for Cunningham, he is notable because of a wrist injury that is likely to derail his season. Regarding Hines, Coach Mike McCarthy noted in today’s press conference that “He looks like he belongs” — high praise for a player just picked up a few days ago.

Unfortunately for a few of these young players, their chances of making the roster are complicated by injury. To date, Tretter, Johnson and Dorsey are dealing with injuries sustained in OTAs and training camp. Tretter is likely going to miss the season. Johnson and Dorsey’s injuries are not expected to be season-ending but make it very difficult for them to earn spots behind Green Bay’s returning receiving veterans.

For many of the rookies, their ability to perform on special teams will determine their fates. Said McCarthy: “Special teams is the vehicle to the football team. It’s said every year.” It’s something we emphasize again and again. When you get into these final decisions and you’re talking to the personnel department it’s ultimately what it comes down to.”

See the slideshow for progress reports on several important rookies on the Green Bay Packers.

Julian Rogers is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter (@mrturophile), or connect with him on Facebook and Google.

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Datone Jones

Datone Jones
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

First-round pick (26th overall) Datone Jones has turned heads at training camp. He returned to the team weighing in at 295 pounds — up significantly from his weight in the spring OTAs. Apparently, he gained “good” weight and is making quite an impression on training camp observers. Packers General Manager Ted Thompson noted when Jones was drafted that they were specifically looking for a certain body type consisting of length, speed and quickness to play defensive end for the Packers. Jones was that selection, and the Packers are feeling good about him so far.

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Eddie Lacy

Eddie Lacy
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Second-round selection Eddie Lacy is also making news in camp. Unfortunately, it’s for a few unflattering photos that made the rounds on the internet earlier this week. He appeared to look overweight in the photos, which caused many to question his fitness.

Not worried about Lacy’s weight? Lacy and Mike McCarthy. “I’m a power back. I'm at a weight where I'm comfortable at and the coaching staff feels as though they're comfortable where I'm at," Lacy said after Tuesday's practice. "So as far as that's concerned, we're all on the same page."

Mike McCarthy added, “If we had any concerns about any of our guys conditioning-wise, they wouldn't be on the field." In Wednesday’s press conference after practice, McCarthy had this to say about Lacy’s progress: “I thought Eddie Lacy definitely got better today. I thought his inside running skills, his instincts and decision-making … he’s finishing better.”

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David Bakhtiari

David Bakhtiari
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers' third selection in the 2013 draft, David Bakhtiari, is being asked to back up multiple positions on the offensive line. Said McCarthy, “I think Dave is off to an excellent start. I think he is someone that is worthy of more reps. He’s clearly one of the guys that has made a step in the padded work. So I’m very pleased with what he’s done so far.“

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Johnathan Franklin

Johnathan Franklin
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers’ third selection of the fourth round, Franklin has experienced some typical ups and downs for a rookie running back. Said to have struggled in some pass-blocking drills, he has also been notable for his pass-catching and running abilities. Said McCarthy, ““Johnathan Franklin and Eddie Lacy get better every day. Johnathan had the big play down the sideline in the third-down period. It was a nice throw by Aaron.”

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Micah Hyde

Micah Hyde
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth-round rookie defensive back Micah Hyde has been one of the early surprises of camp, earning praise from McCarthy after the first practice. “If you had asked me who was the one player that jumped out to me today, I’d say it was Micah,” McCarthy said. Hyde has gotten a good amount of work in with injuries sapping the availability of veterans Davon House, Casey Hayward and Tramon Williams.

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Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey

Charles Johnson
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receivers Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey were selected by the Packers in the seventh round. Unfortunately, both also share the distinction of sustaining injuries early on in the Packers training camp. When asked about the wide receiver depth in today’s press conference, McCarthy had this to say: “Our young guys are hurt again. The two rookies. That’s disappointing. It’s unfortunate. I’d like to see what they can add.”

Johnson and Dorsey face uphill battles to make the team at this point.

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Sam Barrington

Sam Barrington
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

Inside linebacker Sam Barrington is part of what McCarthy is calling a deep group of linebackers. “I think our inside linebacker depth is as good as we’ve had. 2010 was a really good group and this is a really good group. It’s very competitive. The young guys are definitely pushing A.J. (Hawk) and Brad (Jones). Robert (Francois) is having a heck of a camp. Sam is a little reckless and I like that about him. Those guys are off to a good start.”


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