Not long ago, Colt Lyerla was considered a first-round talent with all of the tools to be a difference-maker at the next level. However, several missed practices cost him his spot on the Oregon football team, which escalated into much bigger issues. As a result, he went undrafted last weekend.
There’s no denying that Lyerla has the talent to make it in the NFL. He’s a superb athlete with terrific hands, a huge catch radius, plenty of speed, and the explosiveness to shred opposing secondaries. Plus, he’s an above-average blocker. However, after the Ducks gave him the boot, he fell into drugs and was arrested for possession of cocaine back in October. Especially with the NFL’s recent trend towards avoiding character concerns, it’s completely understandable that it took Lyerla nearly a week to find a tryout opportunity.
With that being said, though, Lyerla couldn’t have asked for a better situation. The Packers head into the 2014 campaign without a clear-cut starter at tight end. Andrew Quarless is the assumed starter, but is average at best. The Packers spent a 2014 third-round pick on Richard Rodgers, but he’s a raw prospect who isn’t a great blocker. The rest of the depth chart is made up of fringe NFL talents.
Plus, what rookie tight end wouldn’t love to have Aaron Rodgers throwing to them?
If Lyerla can come into camp, prove that he has his head on straight, and put on a show, there’s a significant chance he could earn a spot on the 90-man training camp roster. However, if he struggles to earn a second opportunity with a tight-end-starved team like the Packers, it won’t bode well for his NFL future.
Put simply, this could very well be his one and only opportunity to make it in the NFL. Lyerla has the talent to be a star, but must get his personal life in order. If he can do that, the Packers might just have found their starting tight end of the future.
Adversity either brings out the best or worst in people. Which will it be in Lyerla’s case?