Interview with Packers' Linebacker Marcus Porter

The date was December 10th, 2017. The place – Daytona Beach, Florida. The stands were all but empty as the 2017 National Bowl kicked off to an unimpressive crowd of approximately 250 spectators. The National Bowl is a college football all-star game featuring NFL prospects who have completed their eligibility in Division II, Division III or the NAIA. During this particular matchup the American squad put an absolute whooping on the National team by a final score of 48-13.

One of the stars defensively for the American Team was none other than Packers undrafted free agent Marcus Porter from Fairmont State University. For those unfamiliar with “the other FSU”, Fairmont State is located in Fairmont, West Virginia with a total enrollment of approximately 4200 students. The football team plays in Division II in the Mountain East Conference.

Fairmont State had an impressive 8-3 season in 2017 and the MVP of their defense was unquestionably Porter. Porter lead the team with 95 tackles including 12.5 for a loss, 3 sacks, 3 pass breakups, 2 quarterback hits and a fumble recovery. When you turn on the tape of Porter he explodes off the screen and you immediately are drawn to the rangy 6’0’’ tall 229 pound linebacker. You can see some of his highlight plays below:

His impressive play in 2017 granted him the opportunity to play in the National Bowl and he didn’t disappoint. Porter ended the day with 4 tackles including 2 tackles for loss and a sack. He was easily one of the stars of the day. Thankfully for Packer fans, one of the 250 spectators in attendance that day was Joe Hueber, one of Green Bay’s dedicated college scouts. According to Porter, Hueber had been out on campus and talked to him, “in either October or November.” But on this day Porter was excited about how he played in front of the 30+ NFL & CFL scouts and GM’s, including Hueber.

Porter didn’t get drafted, but that wasn’t necessarily his expectation. Porter mentioned that a few teams told him he would go, “late 6th early 7th, but he wasn’t expecting that.” He stated, “I wasn’t looking to get drafted, I just wanted an opportunity.”

So how did he end up in Green Bay? “I was going to sign with the first team that called me and Green Bay called me 2 minutes after the last pick was made.” The rest was history. A few other teams contacted him afterwards and offered him a roster spot but he had already committed to Green Bay. The next step for Porter was to get to town and get ready for rookie mini-camp.

I asked Porter what he expected out of mini-camp and what the experience was like:

“I wasn’t sure what is was going to be. It ran like an orientation. They went over how things were going to run when he came back.” He also officially signed his first NFL contract. Once it was time for getting on the field, Porter was ready for the speed. “Practice was fast but we ran fast practices at Fairmont. Trying to learn the plays right away was the most difficult part. I had to learn it right when they taught it so it was just trying to get used to that.”

Porter worked with inside linebackers coach Patrick Graham and Green Bay immediately began using him as both a will and mike linebacker: “I was getting used to running the plays, they ran me at two positions; mike and will. I’m used to switching back and forth, I just needed to get used to learning the different calls.”

What’s Porter’s plan going forward? “I need to learn the playbook, I’m a month behind the other guys and need to get caught up. Oren Burks is from the same area so I’ll probably link up and we’ll go over the playbook.”

As far as Porters’ experience in Green Bay so far? “The fans have been really supportive. People have been hitting me up on Instagram and social media; I even got to meet a couple fans. Even though I’m not a big name or a high draft pick the fans know everything about me and my position.”

Porter finds himself on the inside linebacker depth chart along with fellow undrafted free agents Parris Bennett and Greer Martini, 3rd round pick Oren Burks, 2nd year player Ahmad Thomas and veterans Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan. Assuming Green Bay doesn’t add any more linebackers to the depth chart, Porter will be battling three other undrafted players for the fourth inside linebacker spot on the team. That’s about as good as it gets for an undrafted rookie free agent.

It’s always an uphill climb for an undrafted free agent but Porter has the playmaking ability and demeanor to make a 53-man roster. If one thing came across loud and clear to me in my interview with Porter, it’s that he’s going to put in the work and do everything in his power to make this roster. Whether or not Green Bay found another undrafted gem remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t bet against a player who has this type of attitude on special teams:

A huge thank you goes out to Marcus Porter for taking the time to interview with me. Please follow Marcus on Twitter at @RichhPort3r and make sure to welcome him to Green Bay. He will be wearing number 59 for the Packers this season.

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Andy is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and owns & operates the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Andy has taken multiple courses in NFL scouting and is an Editor for Packer Report. You can find him on WFRV's Green Bay Nation and every Friday on the Friday Film Room on WDUZ . Andy grew up in Green Bay and is a lifelong season ticket holder - follow him on Twitter @AndyHermanNFL!

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Comments (18)

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Since'61's picture

May 10, 2018 at 04:52 pm

WHO?

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Colin_C's picture

May 10, 2018 at 05:26 pm

Maybe a practice squad guy this year, but I wish him the best! What I really love though, is the speed he and Burks bring to the ILB position. Might the everlasting leak in the middle of the defense finally be plugged? I hope so.

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Allan Murphy's picture

May 10, 2018 at 05:33 pm

Play your way in sound like a good young man .

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Handsback's picture

May 10, 2018 at 05:48 pm

Well, his athletic ability is similar to Smith who went to the Bears. He's not Smith, but he's also not a bad prospect. I think the LB corp will be pretty good this year.

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Colin_C's picture

May 10, 2018 at 06:28 pm

Funny you say that, as I was comparing Smith and Burks athletic profiles recently. While it's just underwear Olympics, Burks actually significantly outperformed Smith in the vertical and broad jump, which measure explosive strength. Smith was faster in the 40, but not by a huge margin. Really the big difference between the two from what I've seen is scheme and experience. Smith started for 3-4 years if I remember at MLB, while Burks had just one year at ILB. Georgia also did a good job keeping Smith free to chase sideline to sideline, while Vandy lined Burks up in the trenches, which isn't his strength. Given time, the two could become very comparable players in the NFL.

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bbarryirish's picture

May 10, 2018 at 05:51 pm

Best of Luck Marcus.
Do your best, don't sweat the rest.
Thanks Andrew- excellent clips.

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Coldworld's picture

May 10, 2018 at 06:32 pm

Given that Jones is apparently a safety only now, if Burkes is brought in for the new, pivotal role of coverage or blitz linebacker, we currently have no depth behind him. Porter has the speed and suddenness necessary.

This player is my pick among the UDFAs to, on paper, have an opening to make the 53. As we haven’t even had an OTA snap, that is of course, based on thin air.

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MITM's picture

May 11, 2018 at 12:40 am

Well I think that Jones technically would be the depth behind Burks if necessary, even though he is slotted to be the starter at SS. Reason being is that while there seemingly isnt any other depth behind Burks, at SS there are guys like Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans, along with a few UDFAs who have a shot at a roster spot. And since Jones got a chunk of his snaps and practice reps last season at ILB hes familiar with it.

*Edit* I keep forgetting about Ahmad Thomas. If anyone has a chance to be depth in the role Burks was drafted for (without resorting to Jones being the top choice to step in if injured) it would be him. All I really know about him before I finish writing this and dive into some research is he was a team leader at Oklahoma who is that safety to ILB convert with a build very similar to Su'a Cravens. So yea

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Coldworld's picture

May 11, 2018 at 07:23 am

I had forgotten him. Don’t know his measurables or anything, but at least some competition clearly exists for the spot. Based on what I am seeing, they really don’t want to have Jones playing there at least until he has had a chance to master SS (or demonstrably can not). One of the unheralded cover ILB types has a chance as cover. These are also ideal special teamer types. Will be interesting.

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tm_inter's picture

May 10, 2018 at 06:45 pm

Marcus Porter runs the 40 in 4.65, slightly slower than Oren Burks (4.59), but faster that the other two UDFA LBs Parris Bennett (4.81) and Greer Martini (4.81).

His disadvantage is he comes from smaller school than the other two: Bennett from Syracuse and Martini from Notre Dame.

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MITM's picture

May 11, 2018 at 12:27 am

Since the Packers signed Martini and more articles come out about him the 1 thing that always seems to come up is that he "specializes(d) in defending the triple option"...

Thank God because Georgia Tech and Navy have really been gashing us the past few years.

Sorry I just had to make that joke its been killing me that i missed my chance on the article here a few days back. Although as the article mentions that certainly speaks to his grit and toughness and willingness to stick his nose in the wash which are traits that are always welcome in Green Bay

Ill go start off the thumbs down party now and set the tone by giving myself one first :)

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Coldworld's picture

May 11, 2018 at 07:28 am

I think Greer and Martini were brought in looking at a traditional ILB role. Porter would appear to be a cover type physically. Faster, smaller build. If I understand the development, these are really different positions in the intended scheme

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RCPackerFan's picture

May 10, 2018 at 08:36 pm

What I like about players like Porter is that they have a shot. To most of us he is just a name and a number. Most of us have never heard of him. At this point the odds are stacked against him.

But as we have seen many times before players like Porter have a shot in GB. Porter has the measurable's and has an opportunity to make it. Also playing ILB, there isn't a lot of depth there. Martinez, Ryand and Burks figures to be the top 3. After that its a question. That helps a guy like Porter.

I am always interested in seeing the UDFA's to see if any of them can make it. Porter will be one that I will watch when the preseason games start.

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EdsLaces's picture

May 10, 2018 at 09:35 pm

Heyyyy Fairmont State ....just an hour from my house !! Partied there many times when I was younger!

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sherrmann1806's picture

May 10, 2018 at 11:39 pm

I'm definitely pulling for him! I would love for a guy like that to make the team! we'll see!

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MITM's picture

May 11, 2018 at 12:18 am

Thanks for sharing this i had a hard time finding any clips of this guy

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Rudedawg67's picture

May 11, 2018 at 11:30 am

Didn’t see anything special in the film but everyone should get a chance. Everyone is learning a new defensive scheme so one of the bigger challenges the rookies face is adjusting to the speed of the game. It’s a crazy concept but I believe in putting the best 11 players on the field instead of the highest draft choices. That goes for both sides of the ball.

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LambeauPlain's picture

May 11, 2018 at 12:25 pm

What jumped off the video to me was his quickness and ability to track the ball, sort through the trash and make a solid wrap up tackle.

Essentials for an ILB.

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