Packers Rookie Jayrone Elliot Out to Prove That He Belongs

The undrafted outside linebacker is riding high after a three-sack effort against the Rams in the preseason.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Jayrone Elliott (No. 91) by Benny Sieu—USA Today Sports.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Jayrone Elliott (No. 91) by Benny Sieu—USA Today Sports.

Credit Green Bay Packers rookie Jayrone Elliott. He hasn't gotten a big head since having an impressive outing in this past Saturday's second preseason game against the St. Louis Rams.

Back at practice on Monday, he humbly got back to work, knowing he hasn't wrapped anything up, hasn't earned anything yet.

"I just go out there and compete," said Elliott. "Whatever happens, happens. I just try to go out there and learn the playbook and go out there and fly around and make plays for the defense."

Making plays is understatement for what he did inside the Edward Jones Dome this past weekend.

Over the course of seven total snaps, Elliot accumulated three sacks and forced a fumble. Each of those plays came on one series of downs, a span of just four plays.

Elliott abused Rams tackle Sean Hooey, beating him with uncanny speed off the edge. It may have seemed like it, but Elliott insists there was no magic, no slight of hand.

"Basically just taking what he's giving me, get off on the ball, get up the field and being able to bend the corner a couple times," said Elliott, "so luckily, it worked out."

Following a performance like that, Elliott made a statement that he belongs, that he deserves to be carried to be carried on a 53-man roster.

The product from the University of Toledo, out of the Mid-American Conference, received some good-natured ribbing from his teammates on the sidelines, particularly fellow outside linebacker Clay Matthews.

"He's like, 'People are starting to call me by my name instead of my jersey number,'" said Elliott, No. 91. "It was definitely a great moment out there."

"I heard he's starting this weekend in front of me," said Matthews in jest, but then turned serious. "I'm just happy to see these young guys come out here, especially guys like Elliott, who were free agents, come from a small school and have a good amount of success. It's good to see."

The Packers are in the midst of getting ready to take on the Oakland Raiders on Friday, their third preseason contest, the game the starters typically play the longest.

With nine outside linebackers on the Packers roster, Elliott hasn't had many shots in a game environment to strut his stuff—just 13 snaps through two games—but he's made the most of his limited chances. His three sacks lead the entire league this preseason.

"(Elliott is) just a young man that's really taken advantage of pretty much every opportunity he's been given," said head coach Mike McCarthy. "I was excited to see him have success, and (he's) very consistent, so it was nice to see one of your young guys step up and make some plays."

The opportunities Elliott receives don't figure to increase this week, but it may come to the point where the Packers can't afford to cut Elliott and expose him to waivers. They might want to sneak him onto the practice squad, but there's the possibility that some other NFL team might claim him.

Nearly a month into training camp, however, Elliott is still grinding and has a little more than than a week to find out his fate.

"Coaches have been telling me to just keep it up and keep going out there every day fighting for a spot," said Elliott. "My family just was very proud of me and everything. And my guys back at school, they was just telling me to keep it and I'm a big inspiration for them. That really like kept my spirits up and made me want to do it more."

 

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor at Cheesehead TV and its "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Comments (2)

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Taylor O'Neill's picture

August 19, 2014 at 04:24 pm

They absolutely have to keep him on the roster. If they try to sneak him onto the PS we will lose him to another team and then, a year or two from now, he'll be playing great football and we'll be thinking about what could have been.

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White92's picture

August 20, 2014 at 08:03 am

I haven't seen the second half of the Rams game yet, but from this picture, Elliot is a big cat. I'm excited to see him play.

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