Undrafted Free Agents With Big Opportunities

These undrafted players could find themselves sticking to the 53-man roster right out of training camp. 

Every year the Packers always find an undrafted gem who latches onto the 53-man roster out of training camp. Raven Greene and Allen Lazard are two of the most recent examples (though I know Lazard was technically released to the practice squad then brought onto the active roster.) If we look beyond the current roster, players like Sam Shields and Tramon Williams went on to have successful, Super Bowl-winning careers with Green Bay as undrafted players. 

This is a strong undrafted free agent class for the Packers, but a lot of guys will have uphill battles in camp already playing at positions with a ton of depth. Here are four players, including one honorable mention from last season, with good shots to latch onto the 53 out of training camp.

Stanford Samuels III (CB)

Stanford Samuels III out of Florida State is a player many expected to get drafted. At 6-1, 187lbs, he’s got the desired size of an NFL cornerback. His 4.65 40-yard dash may have contributed to his slide into undrafted free agency, but there’s a lot to like in his game. 

In his three years at FSU, Samuels tallied 145 total tackles with eight interceptions and 16 passes defensed. He plays with physicality and performs well in man coverage, with great hands and ball-tracking ability. 

Samuels enters training camp at a position with a lot of uncertainty. While Kevin King is the veteran in the room with three seasons under his belt, he’s also entering a contract season and becomes a free agent in 2021. After King and Jaire Alexander, Chandon Sullivan, Josh Jackson, and Ka’dar Hollman round out the starting five. While Sullivan, Jackson, and Hollman have all shown flashes, with Sullivan in line for significant playing time in 2020, there’s still an opportunity for a guy like Samuels to crack the roster, especially with a strong training camp and preseason. 

Darrell Stewart (WR)

The Packers may not have drafted a wide receiver, but they did sign one in undrafted free agency. In fact, Stewart is the only receiver the Packers brought in to round out the 10-man room. 

The 6-0, 212lb Michigan State receiver offers a more traditional option in the slot for Green Bay. In his four-year career, Stewart had 150 receptions for 1,640 yards and seven touchdowns. He also brings special teams experience to the table, having returned kicks in college. 

Behind Davante Adams, the rest of the receiving corps feels pretty up in the air. While we can fully expect Devin Funchess and Allen Lazard to make the roster, with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown also penciled in as the groups’ top five, there will be opportunities for Stewart and the rest of the receivers in the room competing for what’s likely a sixth and final spot.  

Stewart’s flexibility in the slot could give him an advantage here, with the Packers opting to keep Darrius Shepherd (who’s also competing for a roster spot) over Allen Lazard on the initial 53-man roster out of camp, largely due to his abilities in the slot and on special teams. 

Patrick Taylor (RB)

Taylor is an intriguing backfield option as he’s not the prototypical size for a running back at 6-2. At Memphis, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry and had 36 touchdowns, with 2,884 total yards. 

While Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, and second-round draft pick A.J. Dillon claim the top three spots in the backfield, it’s possible Matt LaFleur could try to keep as many as five backs on his roster, especially with the varying skill sets offered by each player. 

Taylor has special teams experience as well which helps his roster candidacy initially, but he also has some potential as a pass-catching back, hauling in 55 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns at Memphis. Taylor is already a fan favorite on social media, so keep an eye out for him come training camp. 

Willington Previlon (DL)

Willington Previlon out of Rutgers enters training camp at perhaps the weakest spot on the roster as far as depth is concerned. Behind the powerhouse Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, and second-year player Kingsley Keke, there’s a lot still unknown as far as the position group is concerned. Montravius Adams has yet to take the leap many expected him to, and while Tyler Lancaster is a serviceable nose tackle, the run defense left much to be desired in 2020. Clark needs a lot of help along the interior. 

Previlon tallied 70 total tackles in three seasons at Rutgers, posting 11.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks with three passes defensed. He was named an honorable mention All-Big Ten and won both the Homer Hazel Award as Rutgers’ most valuable player, and the David Bender Trophy as the team’s top defensive lineman. His path to the 53 is a daunting one since the Packers don’t traditionally keep a ton of defensive linemen on the roster, and most of the spots are already claimed, but at a position of need that also didn’t see any draft selections, Previlon could earn some immediate opportunities in camp. 

Honorable Mention: Kabion Ento (CB)

Ento gets an honorable mention here as an undrafted free agent in 2019 who had a strong preseason and spent all of the 2019 season on the team’s practice squad. A wide receiver in college, Ento transitioned to cornerback with Green Bay (which of course is reminiscent of a cornerback at the beginning of this piece, Sam Shields.) Ento has great hands, which should be expected of a wide receiver convert, and nice size at 6-1 to play the corner position. 

With the Packers opting not to bring Tramon Williams back, at least not yet, Ento is another corner to keep an eye on come training camp. His season of experience on the practice squad helps his case here as he looks to make a jump in year two. He played well in the preseason and it felt like he just missed the 53-man roster initially in 2019, so with the uncertainty in the room this offseason, he’s got a great opportunity in front of him to build off of last season’s strong training camp. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV, podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said, and hosts a weekly live show called Happy Hour through Game On Wisconsin. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (29)

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mrtundra's picture

May 15, 2020 at 07:15 am

I think Krys Barnes, LB, and Mark Anthony DeQuoy, DB, also may be surprising some folks, in camp--if there is a camp. Both could add to our STs, initially, and could be used as depth, if needed.

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gkarl's picture

May 15, 2020 at 07:40 am

I think DeQuoy is a good bet also. Really like his speed. It would give the Pack some flexibility to make Savage a slot corner.

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murf7777's picture

May 15, 2020 at 10:30 am

DeQuoy has extreme athleticism but the film I watched didn’t show him as being very physical for an NFL Safety. Wonder if they don’t try him at CB.

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CheesyTex's picture

May 15, 2020 at 02:09 pm

Right on. And, it's a HUGE jump from Canada to NFL, especially with CV19 conditions this year. But you just cannot teach that level of speed and athleticism...

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Coldworld's picture

May 15, 2020 at 02:32 pm

He wasn’t a true safety. He was a sort of hybrid hybrid. A bigger internal CB that is called Defensive Halfback by some.

He projects as a central defender with some ability against the run, but not as a true hybrid in the Greene mold from what I understand. I think that’s why they list him as a cb.

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gkarl's picture

May 15, 2020 at 07:36 am

UDFA seem to like GB, I like to think its because our FO and coaching staff give them a fair shot to make the roster. Work hard, be smart get a chance to live your dream, good luck to all our UDFA.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

May 15, 2020 at 09:28 am

Some of the top UDFA received $110,000 signing bonuses from other teams. Dallas paid 3 guys that much, including an ILB out of Utah I liked for the Pack. I was also keeping an eye on the top UDFA Wrs after the draft. They all signed with other teams. Money talks with these guys (like it would for you and me) and the Packers are way too cheap. The maximum for our class of UDFA was $7,000. We mostly got the bottom of the barrel.

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Duneslick's picture

May 15, 2020 at 10:29 am

Because we have no depth the bottom of the roster keeps rotating players in and out

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Coldworld's picture

May 15, 2020 at 02:35 pm

Actually I prefer Gute’s approach. Ervin, Lazard, Sullivan, Redmond were all picked up by other means.

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nostradanus's picture

May 15, 2020 at 07:59 am

Samuels: Very tough and competitive always seems to be around the ball, productive just not particularly fast. Reminds me of Al Harris with better ball skills. I think he may make the 53 he is that good.

Stewart: Pretty good slot receiver very Good balance and nice spin move, somewhat elusive but not super fast. Good hands and will make the tough catch. May stick on the practice squad.

Taylor: A big back that will truck some fools. He is not particularly elusive and as a one cut runner. Pretty fast for a big back 4.57 in the 40. Natural hands catcher was injured some last year. A perfect candidate for the practice squad in probably on the 53 in 2021.

Bonus pick:

Begelton: I am going to count Reggie here as an undrafted free agent because I think he has a really good chance to stick. He has experience,size, Good but not great speed, runs tough after the catch and catches well in traffic. He was an all-star in Canada and highly productive still only 26 and is very confident. I think this was in under rated pick up from Gute and one that will pay dividends this season.

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ShooterMcGee's picture

May 15, 2020 at 09:30 am

I am hoping for good things out of Beggleton too.

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Mike Rossmeier's picture

May 15, 2020 at 04:14 pm

Yes - I'm betting Begelton beats out Stewart, Shepard and unfortunately, Kumerow.

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flackcatcher's picture

May 15, 2020 at 06:50 pm

CFL is a turf league. That is a huge difference than the NFL. And the talent gap is... wide. Still, overall speed is overrated among us fans. Inside the league its separation and quickness. Gute and his team must see something in Begelton in the critical 5 yards at the LOS they like. Otherwise, they would have never signed him.

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wildbill's picture

May 15, 2020 at 08:22 pm

That’s what has surprised me as WRs in the CFL can be running full speed towards the LOS at the snap of the ball. Don’t watch the CFL but wonder what we saw that says he can beat press coverage

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buddrow53's picture

May 15, 2020 at 04:58 pm

I like Kamal Martin plus the ones you mentioned.

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NickPerry's picture

May 15, 2020 at 08:36 am

UDFA have always been a big part of the Packers success. They come here knowing they'll get a fair shake at making the roster and/or practice squad. Sam Shields was a baller in year one after just a season at CB in college. The NFL is littered with UDFA and 7th round picks (not THAT much different) who have success even in year one.

Personally I don't care WHERE the next great Packer comes from. I just hope this class of draft picks, UDFA, and previous draft classes by Gute REALLY start to pay dividends. I'm so damn sick and tired of reading about how poor this draft class was of Green Bay's, that they keep the crickets from chirping.

I like that nostradanus mentioned Reggie Begelton. I don't know a whole lot about him other than he had a hell of a year in the CFL last season.

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Monsmoy's picture

May 15, 2020 at 01:35 pm

When looking at the $ contract of Begelton, it would suggest he is going to be given every opportunity to prove how good the FO think he is.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 15, 2020 at 03:12 pm

?

Standard minimums plus a $7,000 signing bonus. GB gave six other UDFAs the same deal. Look for Greg Roberts to get a real shot, TC permitting.

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mnbadger's picture

May 15, 2020 at 08:48 am

Has it been decided if rosters, including game day, will be expanded this year? I hope so, pandemic or not. The roster margins are full of talented players that just need a chance. Historically, GB has been pretty good with these types. If nothing else, it increases the competition and allows veterans to recover during the week. GPG

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flackcatcher's picture

May 15, 2020 at 06:04 pm

There is an internal fight among the owners over the roster, among other long standing issues bubbling up. Convid-19 is a series of unknowns, that is forcing everyone to make decisions with little data. The truth is if the owners want football, they will increase the roster and live with the opening they have giving the players union. Then there are the (known and unknown) medical issues. It's a Pandora's box we'll all dealing with....

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greengold's picture

May 15, 2020 at 09:11 am

I would consider adding Marc Antoine-Dequoy to the UDFA watch list.... Man! 6-3 198 FS who runs a 4.35.

He's got it all. Willing and effective tackler in run support and in creating pressure, exceptional ball skills and range. Marc would have been Round 1 in CFL Draft, and is considered the best DB in all of Canada. I could EASILY see Dequoy making this roster in Green Bay.

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TheVOR's picture

May 15, 2020 at 09:40 am

Geesh, Taylor is huge for a RB, he's actually listed at 6'3" 225. He feels like a tweener, more like an H-Back smallish TE. Watch some film, everything was mostly a wide open hole and a few touches. He's not afraid of contact, but at the next level it's going to be interesting to see if he can be even remotely effective. His highlights show him beating some pretty weak competition.

We'll see, can't hide in the NFL.

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Coldworld's picture

May 15, 2020 at 02:41 pm

20 pounds lighter than Dillon ... but maybe big enough to back him up?

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PatrickGB's picture

May 15, 2020 at 10:03 am

Thanks Maggie, it’s good to read an actual story instead of listening to the muttering and half thoughts of others on this site. It takes more work to actually type out a story. It’s not that I don’t appreciate and understand the need to do video and audio shows, it’s just that I prefer the printed format. So, despite my grumbling, I love this site. Keep up the good work.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2020 at 10:56 am

Writing requires a discipline that mumbling into a mic does not. I’m with you, Patrick.

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Coldworld's picture

May 15, 2020 at 02:43 pm

Couldn’t agree more. Find myself listening to less and less of the unwritten content here and elsewhere.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 15, 2020 at 10:54 am

Bell curve. Two thirds of your roster is going to be average jags. You need these guys. They fill out your practice squad and your gameday inactves. In some cases they’re cheap starters. And once in a while you get a real player.

You can never have too many DBs and they can’t all be high picks.

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realitybytez's picture

May 15, 2020 at 01:58 pm

not sure how you could overlook dequoy, scott and barnes.

marc-antoine dequoy is skilled in coverage along the slot and capable, at 6’2 and a still-growing 198 pounds, as a run defender. and a 4.35-second 40 time makes him one our fastest dbs.

delontae scott is coming off a season where he headlined an smu defensive group that led the nation in sacks, with scott adding 10 sacks. in 13 games in 2019, he registered 39 tackles, 18 of which were tackles for loss, while also forcing three fumbles, adding four quarterback hurries, a pass breakup and a blocked field goal.

krys barnes has a shot because he plays a position of extreme need. he’s equally effective against run and pass and was rated as a day 3 pick that slipped through the cracks. ran a 4.6 forty which is okay for an ilb.

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Packer_Fan's picture

May 15, 2020 at 05:02 pm

Stanford Samuels to me sounds like Kadarius Gunter. SLOW

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