Before the NFL Draft, I was encouraged that either Chris Harper or Kevin Dorsey might be able to emerge from obscurity to become a contributing member to the 2014 edition of the Green Bay Packers.
I was a realist. It was probably overly optimistic that the Packers could find room for both of them on the 53-man roster.
And I wasn't expecting superstardom. Between the two of them, I hoped just one would stand out and prove too good to cut.
Following the NFL Draft, however, and the Packers selected not one, not two but three wide receivers, the chances that either Harper or Dorsey make the roster appear slim at best.
Every year following the draft, the Packers typically sign a handful of wide receivers as rookie free agents just like they did with Myles White, Alex Gillett and Tyrone Walker a year ago.
When there's four quarterbacks throwing the football in camp, there's always a need to fill out the roster with a stable of receivers to catch all those passes.
After grabbing three receivers in the draft, however, there was no such need for Green Bay in 2014. There's already 10 receivers on the 90-man offseason roster and assuming good health, four of them are guaranteed to still be there in September: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and Davante Adams.
The odds of Harper or Dorsey making the regular-season roster are not insurmountable, however. With so much depth at the position, there's a decent chance the Packers keep up to six this season.
But in order to claim one of the two spots up for grabs, Harper and Dorsey would have to beat out either this year's draft choices—Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis—or last year's holdovers—White and Gillett.
Thankfully for Harper and Dorsey, their raw talent gives them a puncher's chance.
There's a reason Harper was made as high as a fourth round draft choice by the Seattle Seahawks last season. As a collegian at Kansas State, Harper grabbed 123 career receptions for 1,734 yards and 12 touchdowns, a key factor in the Wildcats posting back-to-back double-digit win seasons in 2011 and 2012.
But when it came time for final roster cutdowns, Harper became the the second-highest pick in the 2013 draft class not to make his original team's opening-day roster.
Harper was signed by the San Francisco 49ers shortly thereafter but after spending seven weeks on the team's inactive list, he was waived and claimed by the Packers in mid-October.
While in Green Bay, Harper was only active for four games and his role was almost exclusively on special teams. He played in all of two snaps on offense the entire season, according to ProFootballFocus.com, and did not catch a pass.
Despite his limited amount of playing time, the Packers could have cut Harper at any time but chose not to. There's something they see in Harper worth developing, perhaps his large frame. At 6' 1" and 228 lbs., he's the heaviest receiver on the team's roster.
As for Dorsey, he's been more fragile than fine china in his limited time with the Packers, missing the majority of last season's offseason program and training camp due to injury.
Dorsey was eventually placed on injured reserve, where he spent the entirety of his rookie season. Although, just like Harper, there's a reason the Packers invested a seventh round draft choice into Dorsey last season. They saw something in the 6' 1" and 207-lb. product out of Maryland.
Organized team activities, which begin this upcoming week, will be of utmost importance to both Dorsey and Harper. Its their opportunity to show how how much they've progressed since last season.
If Dorsey and Harper stand any chance of making the Packers roster in 2014, they'll take advantage of OTAs and carry that momentum into training camp.
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