INDIANAPOLIS––Even though Ken Stills hasn’t played for the Packers since 1989, he pays enough attention to what’s going on in Green Bay to know that there could be an opening for his son in their wide receiver rotation.
With Donald Driver retired and Greg Jennings possibly leaving via free agency, perhaps the Packers will be looking for a receiver in the middle rounds of the Draft and be interested in Stills’ progeny.
“My dad tends to think the Packers are going to draft me, just because way things are going with their receivers corps,” said Kenny Stills at the NFL Combine. “I guess I can say it’s always been a dream of mine to do the Lambeau Leap.”
Ken played safety for the Packers from 1985 to 1989 and was a member of the team known as the “Cardiac Pack” that last year in Green Bay, but his son plays on the other side of the football where he’s been a productive wide receiver at Oklahoma the past three seasons.
A favorite target of fellow NFL prospect and quarterback Landry Jones, Stills has scored 24 touchdowns over the past three college campaigns before entering the Draft as a junior.
Perhaps most impressive is how prolific Stills has been since Day 1 when he stepped onto campus in Norman, Okla.
In his freshman season, Stills hauled in 61 passes for 786 yards and five touchdowns. As a sophomore, he matched the same number of receptions with 61 but improved to 849 yards and eight touchdowns.
Stills was able to build upon those numbers as junior with 82 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns to put together a rather impressive set of statistics, part of which he credits to his father and growing up in a football family.
“I’ve been in the film room since I was like three being that my dad played and coached,” said Stills. “The football IQ thing has always come pretty easy, been pretty natural.”
The elder Stills has helped to keep his son on the straight and narrow since a young age. Along with his mother, they’ve instilled a sense of orderliness and regulation in his life.
“I’ve been taking out the trash every day, dusting every Sunday, color coordination in my drawers since I was five or six,” said Stills.
Color coordination at five?
“I was very disciplined as a child,” said Stills.
Stills is more of a free soul now in his twenties as his pseudo-mohawk haircut can attest to. An arrest for DUI following his freshman season also might suggest he’s rebelling against the restraint from his younger years.
That’s something Stills will have to answer to in interviews with NFL teams before the Draft.
The junior Stills likes to joke with his father that the old man couldn’t cover him. Dad reacts by letting it be known he’d be able to hit his own son if it were on the football field.
Stills, the safety, was always an intense competitor during his playing days, something that has perhaps rubbed off on the wide receiver.
“A lot of coaches I’ve spoken with here talk about how competitive I am,” said Stills. “I try to duplicate that and leave everything on the field.”
It will be Stills’ competitiveness and speed that will wow coaches and scouts. He impressed by running the 40 in 4.38 seconds, which was fourth-fastest among more than 30 wide receivers at the Combine.
But he still has to overcome the off-the-field issues and questions about where he fits in the NFL, whether he’s a slot receiver or a flanker.
If he’s able to rise above those concerns, maybe the Packers will take a chance on Stills, just like they did with his father more than two decades earlier.
Brian Carriveau is the author of “It’s Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America,” and editor of Cheesehead TV’s “Pro Football Draft Preview.” To contact Brian, email email@example.com.