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Devante Mays Looking to Add to Packers' Impressive RB Stable

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Devante Mays Looking to Add to Packers' Impressive RB Stable

About a month-and-a-half ago, Green Bay Packers rookie running back Devante Mays was one of the 46 active players entering the week 5 game against the Dallas Cowboys. It was the third time he had been listed as "active" in the Packers' first five games, and it was also the last time.

Ever since then, he's fallen off the radar and virtually faded into irrelevance.

The Packers weren't in dire need of his services, and he wasn't active in the Sept. 28 meeting against the Chicago Bears in which both No. 1 and No. 2 running backs Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams went down with injuries. Fellow rookie Aaron Jones paved the way to the starting job, doing Mays no favors.

He may finally get his shot in a limited fashion on Sunday when the Packers host the Baltimore Ravens, but having to wait till week 11 to see your first offensive snaps of the season would agitate some players.

Not Mays. The excitement of finally being able to pounce on his opportunity compensates for the long wait, even despite the unfortunate conditions in which he'll see his first action.

"It is exciting," Mays said after Wednesday's practice. "I've been waiting for this opportunity, so I'm pretty happy. Not happy, but, you know, I got to do my job."

Mays was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, falling to Green Bay with the 238th overall selection as the third running back drafted by the Packers that weekend. He helped form over the offseason what many called one of the more impressive stables of running backs the Packers have had in a decade.

In 2007, the Packers had the rookie pairing of Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn, as well as Vernand Morency and later, Ryan Grant. The running backs they entered this past season with all offered their own distinctive traits, much like the aforementioned class did.

Devante Mays (32), one of the three running backs drafted by the Green Bay Packers last April, will see his first offensive snaps of the season Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

Mays played running back at Utah State his junior and senior seasons, rushing for over 1,200 yards and racking up 12 touchdowns in the process. His underwhelming senior season (37 carries, 259 yards in five games) may have been the reason for his poor draft stock. 

He also isn't a receiving tailback, as evidenced by his two receptions in two seasons as an Aggie. 

At 5-11, 230 pounds, Mays boasts a similar body to former Packers running back Eddie Lacy and a ground-and-pound style. Even with his bulky frame, he still ran a 4.52 40-yard dash at his Utah State Pro Day, making him -- as far as measurables go -- a steal in the seventh round. The Packers just haven't been able to fit him into the gameplan, and they haven't needed to.

That may very well change on Sunday. Ty Montgomery (ribs) didn't practice on Wednesday and Aaron Jones is expected to miss roughly a month with a right MCL sprain. That leaves Williams and Mays as the only two available running backs, practically rolling out the red carpet for the two rookies to lead the ground game.

For Mays, he's still preparing for Sunday just like he would any other game.

"I'm doing the same thing I would normally do; come to work and work hard. This week, I had to do a little bit more than normal, but it's the same job."

The Packers have been able to showcase each of their running backs' skill sets, now, however large the workload is for Williams, Mays will have a chance at proving he's far more worthy than your average seventh-rounder.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (28) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

TommyG's picture

The only way this team wins is by showing looks that no one can form a game plan against. A hard nosed runner that can get two yards when one is needed might be just what the packers need on Sunday. Well... that a defense that doesn’t get shredded by Flacco and company. It’s going to fun to watch because so much is unknown.

Nick Perry's picture

"He helped form over the offseason what many called one of the more impressive stables of running backs the Packers have had in a decade.".

Wow...I can't remember a time where I ever referred to the Packers running backs as a "Stable". Wide Receivers yes, Running Backs not so much. I just thought that was kinda funny.

I've seen A LOT of comments here from fans who have been waiting to see Mays. A 230 pound man who runs a 4.52 40 might be kinda of fun to watch, but if Mays comes in and runs for 120 yards then I'm going to question McCarthy even MORE than I have in recent weeks. I mean Jones was sitting on the sideline until they ran out of bodies at RB and McCarthy HAD to put him in. Kinda makes you wonder how far McCarthy's head is shoved up his rear end when a man comes in and plays like Jones did yet Mashed Potato Mike had him riding the bench.

I'm eager to see Mays in a game. Williams did a better job last week but he still looks really SLOW. He did run with power and made some really nice 3rd down runs to pick up a 1st down so I have to give him that, and he DOES seem to fall forward, something we kept hearing about Williams. I have a feeling Mays will be something between Williams and Jones and if he is the Packers just may have a "Stable" of Running Backs. If in fact that's the case then the question as always will be if McCarthy actually uses them.

dobber's picture

"A 230 pound man who runs a 4.52 40 might be kinda of fun to watch, but if Mays comes in and runs for 120 yards then I'm going to question McCarthy even MORE than I have in recent weeks. I mean Jones was sitting on the sideline until they ran out of bodies at RB and McCarthy HAD to put him in."

I can see the argument with Jones as he was really the ONLY RB they had on the roster who showed well in the preseason. The OL played really poorly and his running style likely fit best with the little bit of help he was getting from his blockers. Even Monty--who averaged about 5 ypc--got virtually all of his preseason yards on one 25-yard carry.

To be honest, there's very little to indicate that Mays or Williams have been misused. Williams was a very workmanlike back last week and he was grinding out yards. Nothing fancy, but getting results. If Mays breaks out it would be as much luck and timing than a guy ignored on the bench and bad use of resources.

The TKstinator's picture

I saw irrelevance with Leonardo DiCaprio last year. The grizzly attack scene was epic.

Hematite's picture

It's always fun to see what these young guys can bring to the table.
Hopefully he gets a chance to show his capabilities.

johnnyd17's picture

a similar scenario worked out well for James Starks back in 2010, he didnt start until 49ers game in throwback unis

RCPackerFan's picture

I am looking forward to seeing what Mays can do in the Packers offense. Mays is an intriguing guy for sure.

I saw a lot of questions on why Thompson would have drafted 3 RB's. Well right now shows why he went out and overhauled the RB position. Last year taught him that he can't have just 2 RB's on the roster. This year they have 4. And right now 2 of them are hurt. The RB position is a tough one for players to stay healthy.

To start the year the top 2 RB's were Montgomery and Williams. Due to injury we finally got to see Jones come in and he provided a boost. Unfortunately now Jones is hurt as well as Montgomery. Williams last week was the most impressive he has been since becoming a Packer. It will be interesting to see what Mays can do with an opportunity. Perhaps he can provide a boost like Jones did.

croatpackfan's picture

I hope Mays will provide boost as Jones did. He has different style, but if he comes to light, nodody will catch him...

Tundraboy's picture

Finally. Big boy with speed who may not run out of gas before reaching the end zone would be nice.

Since '61's picture

Mays and Williams performances will be the result of the OLs level of play. Lombardi's OL made heroes out of Chuck Mercein and Ben Wilson at the end of the '67 season. Let's hope the current OL can do the same for Williams And Mays. We're going to need an effective ground game to keep the Ravens offense off the field.

It would be nice to see Rip get a few more carries as well in this game. Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

There was a nice piece in JSOnline on McCray a couple days ago and that his style, as a G, might well suit this offense better than Spriggs going forward. The Packers are going to need to rely on the run more and McCray's more of a brawler while Spriggs hasn't shown much in that way. In many ways, McCray reminds me of the 2013 Don Barclay who subbed for Bulaga when he last blew out a knee. We forget that he was more than just competent in that role, and helped Eddie Lacy to have his good rookie year.

Since '61's picture

Dobber - I agree. I would prefer to see MCCray at guard long term and maybe that will happen after Jahri Evans moves on. IMO, the Packers will need to draft an OG and OT in 2018. Maybe another true Center to back up Linsley as well. Bulaga may be done due to his injury so we will probably need plenty of depth at OT as usual. Thanks, Since '61

billybobton's picture

Lets hope the coaches are smart enough to see they do not play the same position, they are not easy to interchange. Spriggs is a LT, tall and athletic with quick not driving feet and not strong or physical enough for RT or guard

dobber's picture

His build screams LT, no doubt, but remember that he filled in at G for Lang last year and didn't completely crap the bed. He was also slotted as the swing OT going into this season, too. I wouldn't be surprised if they take a look at him on the right side.

Nick Perry's picture

LOL...I think just about ANYONE will suit this offense better than Spriggs. His BEST days were obviously the 2016 combine when he showed the world what he could do in Spandex.

I'm still holding out hope the light comes on for this kid but when you consider how awful and clueless he's been at every position he's been used at, he's got to make a HUGE jump just to be average.

Just re-watch the Bengals game if you need a reminder. That was a rookie 4th round pick who by the way Ted also passed on abusing Spriggs all game long.

RCPackerFan's picture

Thompson passed on Lawson by drafting King, Jones, Adams and Biegel. Which would you have rather he not drafted to take Lawson?

And its unfair at this moment to say Adams and Biegel because they unfortunately got hurt and haven't seen them much until now.

Tundraboy's picture

Speaking of Lombardi, and Lacy. At that time Lacy ran out of gas, my first thought went to Lombardi and I laughed my ass off. What do you think Vince would have done when Lacy couldn't finish that long run?

Since '61's picture

At the least he would have sat him down during the game and then make him run laps until he could finish the run. Lombardi would not let him play until his weight went below 235. At the worst he would have traded him for a draft pick or a runner in shape. Vince was very demanding but he was also very clear about his expectations from his players. They either met his expectations or they were gone. Thanks, Since '61

Tundraboy's picture

Yup. My first thought was laps, stairs for days. Then I realized he would never have been out of shape in the first place. Those were the days.

Handsback's picture

A very knowledgeable friend called me after the Packers drafted Mays and was really excited. He sent me some game videos of his performance when he was a junior. The kid runs like a young Lacy, but with some speed. I watched him as much as possible during the pre-season and he never had opportunities to show what he could do. Pretty much the same with Jones.

With the Packers struggling for wins, it's compelling to watch these young unknown players develop when the opportunities present themselves. Mays, Mt. Adams, and Biegel have quite a few games to show their stuff. I look forward to seeing how they do.

RCPackerFan's picture

Mays had a really good Junior year. He actually had a really good Start to his senior year but got injured. He had 208 yards on 18 carries his first game of his senior year. Then he got hurt the next week, and never really contributed again. That is most likely why he lasted until the 7th round.

This preseason we saw Jones really was the standout. Mays had some decent plays, but quite honestly none of them stood much of a chance because the OL play was terrible.

We saw Williams look really good last week. Perhaps we will get to see what Mays can do this week.

I am also looking forward to seeing what the young players can do moving forward.

EdsLaces's picture

I still stand beside Williams. I watched him torch my Mountaineers over a year ago for 200+ and have thought he would be a good NFL caliber RB ever since .

Finwiz's picture

Big diff between West Virginia and the NFL.
He doesn't appear to have vision to the hole like AJ, but he does try hard.
I don't see him as a star, or starting caliber, but time will tell.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Williams has some good traits, but he seems the antithesis of elusive. We've had Monty and A Jones break some huge runs, something that had been missing from our attack with Lacy and Starks. No one knew better how to turn a TD or 35 yard run opportunity into 9 or 13 and a cloud of dust better than Lacy. I just can't get excited about Williams - he might turn out to be okay.

I can get enthused about Mays. I'd still like to see thunder and lightening, just didn't think Mays would be the lightening and Williams the thunder.

dobber's picture

Williams is a grinder. He's going to get what's blocked for him and fall forward.

A very good, core special teamer, though.

Duke Divine's picture

This dude is huge 230lbs and can run. Excited to see what he can do!

dobber's picture

Christine Michael also had a reputation for being a head case.

Couch Cleats's picture

What I like about this group of backs is that we seem to have a nice option for all different kinds of field conditions. Williams and Mays may not be home run hitters but a big strong fall forward back is nice in the mud and cold outdoors late in the season. I think the payoff for backs like Williams comes late in the game when the defense is tired and sore from getting hammered on for 4 quarters.

What I saw with Williams last week was very determined running. It was like he was saying "OK, fine. You may be in position to make this only a 2 yard run but I'm gonna make sure it hurts like hell for you"

I love that physicality and I think it reaps rewards late in the game. It brought back memories of Ahman Green laying the shoulder to someone on the sideline at the end of his runs instead of just stepping out of bounds. MM's teams are always the intellectual finesse type offenses. It's nice to see someone with some nasty to them in green and gold. We could use more in my opinion.

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