Packers Training Camp Countdown: 26 Days

Every day until the start of camp on July 26, we'll provide one juicy nugget to whet your appetite for the return of football. We'd give you more but the CBA forbids two-a-days. Sorry. The Packers' roster-building philosophy is evident by the number of undrafted players on the team and in key roles.

Maybe it will be receiver Myles White or guard Lane Taylor.

Perhaps it will be one of the super-fast cornerbacks or one of Kevin Greene's projects at outside linebacker.

Regardless of the position, the Green Bay Packers have gotten a lot of mileage from their undrafted free agents. They've had so much success that it's become a key recruiting tool.

"I went through the specifics of our roster, how many first-rounders are on our team, how many second-, third-rounders are on our team," coach Mike McCarthy said of one of his first messages to the new rookie class." "The makeup, 50 percent of our football team is sixth-, seventh-round draft picks and free agents. Frankly, I've changed the philosophy of our program. We've been noted as a draft-and-develop football team but we're really a draft-or-undrafted (and develop) football team. That's what the facts show and something we take a lot of pride in. We have great trust and belief in our personnel department, and it's our responsibility as a coaching staff to get these young men developed and fit into our program. Every player here has an opportunity."

Of the 89 players on the Packers' roster, 53 have played in at least one NFL game.

Of those, 32 are draft picks. That includes 31 of the 33 picks still on the roster from 2005 through 2012, with the exceptions being Andrew Datko and B.J. Coleman, plus Ryan Pickett.

That's compared to 21 players who entered the league as undrafted free agents. That includes Jarrett Bush and John Kuhn, who were claimed on waivers, and several others (led by Tramon Williams) who signed their first contract elsewhere before landing in Green Bay.

General manager Ted Thompson has landed at least one current starter in six of the last seven years: Williams in 2006, Kuhn in 2007, snapper Brett Goode in 2008, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, cornerback Sam Shields and punter Tim Masthay in 2010 and safety M.D. Jennings in 2011. Three undrafted players who were acquired in 2012 emerged as starters: Don Barclay, Dezman Moses and DuJuan Harris.

Here's the "How The Packers Were Built from Packers.com.

Returning starters and critical reserves

Draft picks: Offense (9) — QB Aaron Rodgers (first), WR James Jones (third), WR Jordy Nelson (second), WR Randall Cobb (second), TE Jermichael Finley (third), G Josh Sitton (fourth), G T.J. Lang (fourth), T Bryan Bulaga (first), T Marshall Newhouse (fifth). Defense (10) — LB A.J. Hawk (first), LB Clay Matthews (first), LB Nick Perry (first), LB Brad Jones (seventh), NT B.J. Raji (first), DE Ryan Pickett (FA, 2006), DE Mike Neal (second), DE C.J. Wilson (seventh), CB Casey Hayward (second), S Morgan Burnett (third), Special teams (1) — K Mason Crosby (sixth),

Undrafted: Offense (4) — FB John Kuhn, RB DuJuan Harris, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, T Don Barclay. Defense (4) — CB Tramon Williams, CB Sam Shields, S M.D. Jennings, LB Dezman Moses. Special teams (2) — LS Brett Goode, P Tim Masthay.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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