Annual 89-to-1 Roster Countdown: 55 to 59

A rookie running back with impressive credentials and four players in the big receiver battle highlight the fourth part of our annual countdown.

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
55 Rajion Neal RB5-11 220 22RTennessee  
56 Jeff JanisWR6-3 219 23RSaginaw Valley State
57 Kevin Dorsey WR6-1 207 242Maryland 
58Chris HarperWR6-1 228 242Kansas State 
59Myles WhiteWR6-0 182 242Louisiana Tech

Neal: Considering Eddie Lacy, James Starks and Johnathan Franklin all missed time last year, it would seem a decent bet the Packers will keep four running backs. If so, the front-runner might wind up being Neal, an undrafted rookie with some impressive traits. First, he’s big — at 5-foot-11, 220 pounds, he fits the Packers’ traditional mold. Second, he’s got good hands — he was shifted to receiver during his sophomore year at Tennessee. He’s not fast (4.58) but he is an explosive athlete (38-inch vertical). Running backs coach Sam Gash compared Neal’s style to that of Arian Foster. He rushed for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior and caught 66 passes for his career. With Lacy, Starks and DuJuan Harris back (Franklin has retired due to a neck injury), Neal will battle to be the fourth back. “If you look around the league, what running back group isn’t pretty deep?” he said. “Honestly, it’s a game of competition and it brings out the best in everybody. It’s something I definitely thought about but I thought this was the place that showed the most interest and really wanted me.”

Janis: In the battle to be the fifth receiver behind Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Jarrett Boykin and Davante Adams, Janis, a seventh-round pick this year, might be the least likely to get the nod because he’s coming from Division II. However, he has more long-term upside than fifth-rounder Jared Abbrederis and the next three players on this list, because of his size (6-foot-3) and athleticism (among the leaders in every drill at the Scouting Combine). Even with modest production during his first season-and-a-half at Saginaw Valley State, Janis ranks 29th in Division II history with 246 receptions, 12th with 4,305 yards and 11th with 46 touchdown catches. “I’ve always been a little bit of an underdog throughout my career,” he said. “It helps your character and helps you work a little bit harder. That’s what I want to show: that I’m willing to work and I’m willing to contribute on the team in any way.”

Dorsey: A seventh-round pick last year, Dorsey injured a hamstring early in training camp and never had a prayer of making the team. When he subsequently injured a toe, the Packers gladly put him on injured reserve. He caught 18 passes with four touchdowns as a senior at Maryland, which saw its four scholarship quarterbacks sustain season-ending injuries, and grabbed 81 balls for his career. At 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds, he’s big and powerful — definitely fitting the mold of James Jones, Boykin and Adams — and has good speed (4.47 at Maryland’s pro day) “He’s the body type we like,” offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. “He’s explosive, he can run, he works hard. It’s good to see him out there. He’s improved.”

Harper: Harper’s nomadic rookie season led him to Green Bay after the fourth-round pick was released by Seattle and San Francisco. In four games with Green Bay, he had two tackles on special teams and played two snaps on offense. At 6-foot-1 and 228 pounds, he’s a big man with good speed (4.50 at the 2013 Combine). “I think I’m the strongest (of the receivers). I need to go out there and do what I do — and that’s being physical,” he said. He was off to a strong start to offseason practices before an injury sidelined him. Based on draft pedigree, he’s a player to watch now that he knows what he’s doing on offense. “Chris Harper was having a great spring and then he just tweaked a hamstring a little bit,” Clements said. “He’s a much different guy than he was last year, so we’re anxious and excited about him.”

White: Of the players battling for that fifth spot, White is the only player who actually did something for the Packers last year. After spending the first five games on the practice squad, White played in seven games. Of his nine catches for 66 yards, five for 35 came at Minnesota, when the Packers were without Cobb, Jones and Jermichael Finley. He caught 9-of-11 passes thrown his way with one drop, according to ProFootballReference.com, with all of the catches being on short, quick routes, despite his 4.42 speed in the 40. “Myles is a smaller guy, but he’s gotten a little bigger,” Clements said. “He’s quick. He’s hard to handle in there in the slot because of his quickness.”


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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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