Eddie Lacy was last year's NFL Rookie of the Year. James Starks led the NFL in yards per carry. DuJuan Harris gave the offense a jolt late in 2012. Johnathan Franklin was a fourth-round pick last year. Michael Hill is back after a stint with Tampa Bay.
Still, the Packers dispatched a scout to Tempe, Ariz., to watch the personal pro day of Arizona State's Marion Grice.
Perhaps it's the Packers doing their due diligence on a player who might be of interest down the road. Perhaps the Packers see his all-around skills as an immediate asset, especially on special teams.
As a junior in 2013, Grice was a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, which goes to the nation's most versatile player. The honorable mention All-American piled up 1,941 all-purpose yards, despite missing the final three games with a broken fibula sustained against UCLA on Nov. 23. With 996 rushing yards, 438 receiving yards and 507 kickoff-return yards, he was the only player in the nation with 400 yards in each category. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and rushed for 14 touchdowns, plus caught 50 passes and scored six more times. Four of his 20 touchdowns came in the disputed win over Wisconsin. For his career, he averaged 24.1 yards per kickoff return.
The injury prevented Grice from testing at the Scouting Combine or the school's regular pro day. Four-and-a-half months removed from the injury, it's no surprise Grice didn't exactly blow away scouts with his testing numbers. According to NFL.com, Grice (6-0, 208) ran his 40-yard dashes in 4.68 and 4.69 seconds with a vertical jump of 32 inches. He was crisp during passing drills, as you might expect from a player who caught 91 passes in his two seasons.
"A lot of (scouts) said I'm a third-down back," Grice told reporters. "Over time, I'm going to prove that I'm an every-down back. I would say I'm balanced, a little bit of all of it. I don't want to be listed just as a power guy. I can run fast, too. I'm working on my form and showing that I can run in open space, use my speed, and catch the ball."
Allen Robinson dropped 12 pounds. As a reward, he dropped about one-tenth of a second off his 40-yard time.
Robinson, the record-setting Penn State receiver, turned in a strong pro day workout. After running his 40 in 4.60 with a 39-inch vertical at the Scouting Combine — where he checked in at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds — Robinson said he heard he was timed between 4.42 to 4.47 on Tuesday.
Robinson attributed the 4.6 at the Combine to poor technique. He spent the time since then working out at Performance Compound in Tampa, Fla., zeroing in on his starts and finishes.
"Today, I wanted to lock in on my technique, and I think I did that," he told reporters.
With Green Bay basically featuring a three-man receiving corps of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin, it's a good beat that general manager Ted Thompson will use a premium pick on a wide receiver. Robinson, who is only the second receiver in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, is considered a fringe first-round prospect.
Tipping the scales at 208 pounds, Robinson did all the field tests and improved everywhere. He said he uncorked a 42-inch vertical, a 6.53 three-cone (down from 7.00) and a 131-inch broad jump (up from 127).
"I think it went really good," Robinson said. "I felt good with my route running. My 40 time felt good. Everything I trained for, I think I did well at."
DaQuan Jones (6-4, 324) could be a fit at nose tackle if available in the third round. He stuck with his Combine numbers (5.35 in the 40, 25 reps on the bench).
John Urschel (6-3, 313), an All-American guard and the winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy — aka the Academic Heisman — mostly stuck with his Combine numbers (5.31 in the 40, 30 reps on the bench). He showed his versatility by working at center. The Packers, like every other team, covert versatility from their linemen.
"I wanted to show that I was athletic," Urschel said. "I wanted to show that I could snap, under center and in the gun, which I did. And I wanted to take a little bit off my 40, and from what I heard I did. It was a good day."
Inside linebacker Glenn Carson (6-2, 238), a three-year starter who had 90 tackles as a senior, had an impressive day, with a 40 time in the low 4.7s, 30 reps on the bench and a 35-inch vertical jump. He is a late-round option.
Among undrafted possibilities, safety Malcolm Willis (5-11, 222) had 61 tackles and one interception as a senior. Right tackle Adam Gress (6-7, 309), a first-time starter as a senior, ran in 5.25 with 22 reps on the bench. Tight end Matt Lehman (6-6, 262) didn't test because of a hamstring injury. Lehman, who had 24 catches as a junior but only two as a senior after sustaining a torn ACL in the opener, should be ready to work out for scouts next week.
The top attraction was standout cornerback Dexter McDougle, who missed most of his senior season with a shoulder injury sustained during a two-interception game against Connecticut. The three-year starter ran in 4.43 with a 37-inch vertical but, at 5-foot-10 1/4, he probably will not be a consideration for the Packers.
Of greater interest was linebacker Marcus Whitfield (6-3, 236), who had nine sacks, 15.5 tackles for losses and two forced fumbles during a breakout senior season. He unofficially ran in 4.60 with 18 reps on the bench, according to a source.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.