Annual 89-to-1 Roster Countdown: 60 to 69

Part 3 of our annual series includes four players who were on the roster last year, including 2013 sixth-round pick Nate Palmer. Also on this list are four talented undrafted linebackers.

For the sixth year, Packer Report takes a bottom-to-top look at the Green Bay Packers’ roster. This list doesn't necessarily rank the players from best to worst, but we take into account the players’ importance on the roster and other factors such as contracts and potential.

RankPlayerPos.HtWtAgeYrSchool
60Nate PalmerLB6-2 248 242Illinois State 
61Lane TaylorG6-3 324 242Oklahoma State 
62Demetri GoodsonCB5-11 197 25RBaylor
63Jumal RolleCB6-0 188 241Catawba  
T-64Jake DoughtyILB6-0 234 22RUtah State 
T-64Joe ThomasILB6-1 227 23RSouth Carolina State 
T-64Adrian HubbardOLB6-6 257 22RAlabama 
T-64Jayrone ElliottOLB6-3 255 22RToledo 
68Michael HillRB5-10 210 242Missouri Western
69Ina Liaina FB 6-0 250 241San Jose State

Palmer: A sixth-round pick in 2013, Palmer arrived with a pass-rushing pedigree after a couple of strong seasons at Illinois State. His rookie season, however, was a disappointment, as he fell behind undrafted free agent Andy Mulumba on the depth chart. Even at a position getting by on a shoestring with injuries to Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Mike Neal, Palmer played in only eight games with two starts. He tallied 18 tackles, with no sacks and three quarterback hits. He added one tackle on special teams. He’s as likely to become a key special-teams player and situational rusher as he is to not make the team. Strength and toughness will be the keys for Palmer.

Taylor: Taylor, an excellent pass protector at Oklahoma State, used a strong second half to training camp to make the team last year as an undrafted rookie. He played in 10 games, including 13 snaps at right guard in two games on offense. His spot on the roster might be dependent on whether the team keeps eight offensive linemen or nine, with Derek Sherrod, Don Barclay and the loser of the center battle likely to take slots six through eight.

Goodson: The sixth-round pick from Baylor played basketball at Gonzaga for three seasons before deciding to chase his football dreams. After two injury-plagued seasons, he took advantage of an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA to intercept three passes and lead the Big 12 with 1.45 pass breakups per game. “I’m definitely blessed, for sure, with the talent,” he said. “I have great, great feet and hips. I’ve always been good, but it (was) about five or six years since I played football. To actually do it and get here, it’s definitely been a blessing for me.” All he did at Baylor was play in-your-face, press-man coverage. He might need a year of seasoning, though he’ll be in the mix to return kickoffs. His brother, Mike, rushed for 783 yards and caught 61 passes in five NFL seasons; he was released by the Jets last month.

Rolle: Rolle was a Division II All-American after intercepting six pases as a senior at Catawba. He spent time with Buffalo and New Orleans before joining the Packers’ practice squad in October. He was promoted to the active roster for the final two games. Rolle has the size (6-foot), speed (4.51 at his pro day in 2013) and ball skills to push for a roster spot, though the competition will be stiff.

Doughty: Doughty, along with the next three players on the list, are undrafted free agents who received $5,000 signing bonuses — tops for the team’s UDFAs. The former walk-on was all-Mountain West first team as a senior after finishing second in FBS with 148 tackles (42 solo), a figure that ranks fourth in conference history. Twelve of those were for losses, including two sacks, and he added two forced fumbles. At pro day, he ran in 4.56 with a 33-inch vertical and 24 reps.

Thomas: Thomas dominated the FCS level. He was a second-team Associated Press All-American, the conference defensive player of the year, the winner of the Mel Blount Award (best defender, as chosen by the Black College Football Hall of Fame) and the fourth-place finisher for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player in FCS. He tallied 116 tackles (84 solo), including 7.5 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. Doughty had the monster tackle numbers but Thomas had double the solo stops. He ran in 4.70 with a 38-inch vertical.

Hubbard: Who is the real Hubbard? As a redshirt sophomore in 2012, he tallied seven sacks, 11 tackles for losses and three fumbles. In 2013, Hubbard managed three sacks, 5.5 tackles for losses and no forced fumbles. All three sacks came in the final five games. “They definitely got a steal in that guy,” said his former and current teammate, HaHa Clinton-Dix. He’s a towering individual at 6-foot-6 and 34.5-inch arms. He’s also an impressive athlete, with a 4.69 in the 40 and a 38.5-inch vertical. However, he went undrafted due to the lackluster output and what he called a “minor heart abnormality” discovered by doctors. Hubbard didn’t play football as a high school junior as he put his focus on basketball. He returned as a senior and was a high school All-American.

Elliott: Playing a far lesser schedule than Hubbard, Elliott put up far superior numbers. As a senior, he registered nine sacks, 14 tackles for losses and five forced fumbles. He’s not as tall and he’s not as athletic, with a 4.75 in the 40 and a 31-inch vertical. He was coached in high school by Ted Ginn. The Packers have an excellent history with free agent outside linebackers, from Frank Zombo to Vic So’oto to Dezman Moses and Mulumba. “My agent looked into that,” Elliott said. “I thought that was a pretty outstanding fact. At the same time, I know their guys are stacked at outside linebacker so I’m here to compete, special teams and make a quality effort on this team.” Elliott and Hubbard will challenge Mulumba and Palmer for a roster spot.

Hill: Hill rushed for 4,969 yards at Division II Missouri Western. As a senior in 2012, he rushed for 2,168 yards and was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award, which is the D-II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He had a predraft visit with Green Bay but went undrafted. Hill spent time with San Diego in training camp and landed on Green Bay’s practice squad. He spent a couple weeks on the Packers’ active roster — with one kickoff return for 19 yards — before going back to the practice squad. He was signed to Tampa Bay’s active roster, where he carried nine times for 23 yards. He returned to the Packers on Feb. 26 and enters training camp behind Eddie Lacy, James Starks and DuJuan Harris and battling Rajion Neal and LaDarius Perkins.

Liaina: Certainly, John Kuhn is the favorite to return at fullback, but the Packers must see something in Liaina because Kuhn was retained with only a one-year deal and Liaina is the only competition. He spent time on the Dolphins’ roster last offseason but didn’t make it to training camp, then spent the year out of football working as a financial broker and bouncer. Liaina, who had a predraft visit with the Packers in 2013, started 13 games in four seasons at San Jose State, averaging 2.8 yards on his 54 carries and catching 14 passes for 134 yards.


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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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