The Lass Word: Could Packers Reunite the Melton Brothers?

Bo's younger sib fills team need.

Mays Landing is an unincorporated area in southeast New Jersey, about twenty miles west of the tourist and gambling mecca of Atlantic City.  It’s a middle class area of around five thousand people, many of whom work in business management, office and support occupations.  The community was named for Captain George May, who sailed the nearby Great Egg Harbor River in 1740, and purchased land in the area in 1756.   The location was suitable for building ships using local timber and iron. 

It was here that Gary and Vicky Melton settled down to raise their three boys.  They were a very athletically gifted family.  No surprise, considering Gary was a running back and defensive back for Rutgers, the largest university in the state, while Vicky played on the women’s basketball team there.  Oldest boy Gary junior played football at Delaware State. 

The second oldest boy was named Miles Bokeem, but folks just took to calling him “Bo”, and the nickname stuck.  He was a standout receiver at Cedar Creek High School, a speed burner who ran the forty yard dash in 4.34 and a four star recruit coming out of high school.  Virtually everybody in the Big Ten wanted him.  Bo held scholarship offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and many more. 

He chose to follow in his father’s footsteps and stay home to play at Rutgers.  He was a solid player during a five year stretch for the Scarlet Knights, with a final season of 55 catches for 618 yards and three touchdowns.  Drafted in the seventh round by Seattle, he was cut and signed to the practice squad.  The Green Bay Packers signed him to their active roster in December of 2022.   

Bo was brought back to the Green Bay practice unit in ‘23 and activated in December, where he became a breakout player in week seventeen against the Vikings, reeling in six catches for 105 yards and a score.  He returns this summer with an excellent chance to retain his slot on the team. 

The youngest son of the three was named Malachi, which was eventually shortened to “Max”.  Also a star at Cedar Creek High, playing cornerback, Max did not draw near the attention from college recruiters that his older sibling did.  He was offered only by Purdue, Temple, UMass and Rutgers.  At first wishing to break the family pattern and make his own reputation, he committed to Purdue.  But charismatic coach Greg Schiano, a bit of a New Jersey legend as the Rutgers coach, persuaded Max to change his commitment and follow his brother Bo, then a junior on the team, to Piscataway.   

The two brothers frequently found themselves competing against each other at practice, Bo the receiver, running a route against Max the defensive back, just as they had done countless times in grade school and high school.  Max finished his last college season with good, not great, numbers.  22 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 3 interceptions and 6 passes defensed. 

Flash forward to the present, and now there is the possibility fate will reunite the brothers once again.  Defensive back is a need for the Packers, and Max has seen somewhat of a meteoric rise on NFL draft boards.  Originally projected as a day three prospect, the six foot, 190 pound athlete popped eyeballs with a 4.39 forty, almost as fast as his brother, and excellent all-around testing.  His RAS is 9.65.  Suddenly he is being re-projected as a solid second or early third round pick.  Green Bay has two selections in both of those rounds. 

Scouts say Max is good enough playing press man at the line, which fits nicely with new defensive boss Jeff Hafley’s scheme.  They say he is even better in zone, facing the quarterback, and anticipating the throw, breaking to the ball.  They call him an aggressive tackler with very good catch-up speed. A few scouting reports predict his best position is slot corner, which would make him a perfect back-up for starter Keisean Nixon. 

But it’s a special teams stat that really jumps out at you.  At Rutgers the 21 year old blocked not one, not two, not three, but four punts!  Observers have labeled him a special teams demon.   

General manager Brian Gutekunst loves to draft players with developmental upside, and the youngest Melton definitely flashes a high ceiling.  Gutey will use his draft picks to take what he believes are the guys who will most help the team, but what a captivating story it would be if the Packers were to call Max Melton’s name with pick number 41, or 58, or even 88.  It would be fun to watch them compete against each other again on the Ray Nitschke practice field in May.   

Somewhere back in Mays Landing, Gary and Vicky would be very proud. 

 

 

 

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Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

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Comments (15)

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Cheezehead72's picture

April 22, 2024 at 06:19 am

So I I do not want Gute to draft him to give him a job because his brother is a Packer. I want Gute to pick him up only if he believes he is worthy to be on the team. I do like Melton as a late round pick. He looks like a good in the box safety. His main negative is that he has a propensity to miss tackles. That is something that can be coached out of him.

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GregC's picture

April 22, 2024 at 06:59 am

I think he's just a CB prospect. At 190 pounds, he's too light to be a box safety.

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LLCHESTY's picture

April 22, 2024 at 07:11 am

" He looks like a good in the box safety."

You must be thinking of someone else. He's a very solid outside player. You don't move those guys. Besides Hafley wants his SS to play around the line quite a bit and Melton is at least 15 lbs too light for that.

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TKWorldWide's picture

April 22, 2024 at 07:56 am

I’m not sure poor tackling can be coached out of any player. Probably depends on exactly where the flaws are, but with CBA restrictions they can do very little live tackling in practice. Don’t get me wrong; of course if GB selects a guy with less than stellar tackling skills, I hope they can help him improve. Just not sure how much improvement is realistic.

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Coldworld's picture

April 22, 2024 at 08:20 am

For a corner, he’s a willing tackler who is not afraid to be physical. I’d like to see him wrap up better, but that can be taught. The attitude and willingness are there.

Melton has played outside and in the slot. While he’s probably not an ideal slot under Hafley due to size and build, he would provide an option to move inside in sub formations. He’s a later second, earlier third type of pick in my opinion. He wouldn’t be a bad pick for us due to his versatility, if his skill set hasn’t previously been addressed.

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TKWorldWide's picture

April 22, 2024 at 08:58 am

And just as a fun mental exercise: let’s say GB has identical (and I mean clone-like, down to the thousandths of a percent) grades on Melton and another corner. Would his bloodline be the deciding factor to pick him over the other guy?

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Bitternotsour's picture

April 22, 2024 at 09:19 am

So much psychology involved. Does it create a problem if one of them is on the cut line? Do they like one another (not a given, right?) Does it create potential divisions in the locker room

No idea on any of those things - just additional variables

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stockholder's picture

April 22, 2024 at 06:54 am

I know he fits the #58 pick.
But I still feel this pick gets traded.
IMO - They wait for a OL to drop.
Just too many other possibilities.

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mrtundra's picture

April 22, 2024 at 07:40 am

I think Melton will be gone before the 3rd Round ends.

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Turophile's picture

April 22, 2024 at 10:10 am

It's a good story..........so it won't happen.

Pick 58 is the beginning of the most productive area for the Packers. The competition is too stiff for him to be the pick.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

April 22, 2024 at 10:27 am

He seems like a round three/four guy and a steal in round five. In other words, a good football player with potential.

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golfpacker1's picture

April 22, 2024 at 10:36 am

If we don't get sloppy lucky and have a top CB fall to #25, Melton is in a very good group of CBs we could target in the 3rd round. Melton, Jackson, Hart, Green & Jones from FLA St., Phillips, and Elijah Jones to name a few.

Some good late ones too in Stiggers, Kamal Haddin, DeCamerion Richardson, and Myles Harden.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 22, 2024 at 11:00 am

Golf.....80% of the simulations I run have either McKinstry or Dejean at #25.

Here comes Math......

Alexander, Stokes, Nixon, Valentine, Ballentine. Right now, that's who we'd dress against Philadelphia. Given the injury history of Alexander and Stokes (a combined 47 missed starts over the last 3 seasons), we could certainly use a starting corner.

You have to ask yourself: Would Melton or those other 3rd rounders play ahead of Nixon and Valentine? I'm not sure they would, as Nixon and Valentine played pretty well last season down the stretch, and Valentine might be improved this year.

Now a guy like McKinstry or Dejean would immediately be our #2 CB, pushing Stokes to #3 or #4 or #5. If he's only our #5, then you have to kind of wonder whether he's worth keeping for this season. IMO, Stokes has to win a position on the team this year, which means he has to stay healthy and play well in training camp.

The Packers history strongly shows that Gutekunst likes secondary guys on the first round. Alexander, Stokes, Savage. I don't see any Day 2 DBs on the roster.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 22, 2024 at 12:39 pm

LH, I have had the same experiences with the sims, but I think all the top CBs including DeJean and McKinstry, will be gone as well as all the QBs, by 25.
I think some of the good offensive linemen are going to drop, because there is so much depth in this draft.

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golfpacker1's picture

April 22, 2024 at 03:45 pm

So what do you think Stokes is worth in a trade scenario, it can't be much after being MIA for 2 years? His contract doesn't have any big dead money hits to worry about.

On the other hand, what is Alexander worth in trade capitol? At least a first I would think, but is this even a good year financially to move him, or is 2025 better. Both are hypothetical but paying huge money for players that don't play is bad business.

Nobody would want Stokes at this point, and Alexander probably doesn't save much anyway.

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