Stoneburner Eager To Prove Self In Green Bay

The 2013 NFL draft did not go how former Ohio State tight end/wide receiver Jake Stoneburner imagined and hoped. Nonetheless, the Dublin (Ohio) Coffman product is ready to start the next chapter in his football life with the NFL's Green Bay Packers.

The three days from April 25-27 were not the best in the young life of former Ohio State tight end/wide receiver Jake Stoneburner.

But he's hoping there are brighter days ahead.

Stoneburner did not have his name called during the NFL draft, which was held on those late April dates, but soon after he had a professional home. He signed a free agent deal with the Green Bay and will join the Packers for their rookie orientation camp this weekend.

The Dublin (Ohio) Coffman prospect was signed as a tight end and is eager to head north.

"I wish my name would have been called (during the draft), but it is what it is," Stoneburner said. "I think I ended up in probably the best situation I could. They've got a good amount of tight ends on their team, but they play a lot. … It's there for me to make it. I just have to perform."

The 6-4, 249-pound Stoneburner caught 16 passes for 269 yards and four touchdowns last season at wide receiver, which is the position he played in high school. His first three years at Ohio State saw Stoneburner play tight end, however, and that is where he will try to make his name in the NFL.

Stoneburner joins a team that has a pair of Buckeyes on its active roster in linebacker A.J. Hawk and 13-year veteran defensive tackle Ryan Pickett. The Packers also have several players listed at tight end, led by Texas product Jermichael Finley – who is in the final year of his contract.

Stoneburner said his speed and size will help him stand out in the – pardon the pun – pack.

"It's exactly what I wanted to do," Stoneburner said of the Green Bay offense. "I'm going to have to be able to block, but I think I'm going out there and if I show my receiver skills that will hopefully make them say, ‘We have to hold on to him.' "

Stoneburner said he was in contact with 10-15 teams around the time of the draft and was even told by the Seattle Seahawks that they were going to select him in the seventh and final round. But when that didn't happen, Stoneburner and his agent started looking at potential destinations as an undrafted free agent. The former Buckeye wanted to go a place with an established quarterback.

Yeah, Aaron Rodgers fit that bill pretty nicely.

"I wanted to make sure I had a set quarterback that is known for throwing the ball," Stoneburner said. "I've never really been able to have that. In high school I kind of had that, and I was able to thrive in that. So when I was looking at free agency, I wanted a set quarterback that's going to be there for a while that I know can throw the ball around.

"He just happens to be pretty good at it."

Perhaps one reason Stoneburner did not hear his name called in late April was because of a pair of surgeries he underwent during his collegiate career to repair meniscus tears in his knee. He said some teams did not even want to talk to him because of it, and some doctors were not pleased by what they saw on MRIs. But Green Bay had no qualms.

So now Stoneburner begins the next chapter of his football story. He leaves Ohio State with good memories and perhaps a little bit of a chip on his shoulder after going undrafted.

"Teams didn't pick you for a reason and you've got to figure out what that is and you've got to take that and critique it and take it up with you to Green Bay, show teams they made a mistake in not drafting you," he said. "You don't want to act too crazy up there and act like you're some nut job that wishes he'd have been drafted, but you definitely have to have a chip on your shoulder.

"I think that will help me up there."


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