A Pro Bowler in 2014, Sam Shields is the crown jewel atop general manager Ted Thompson’s impressive list of undrafted finds.
Joining Shields on the current roster are punter Tim Masthay, safety Chris Banjo, guard Lane Taylor, outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott and defensive lineman Mike Pennel. Last year, Thompson added running back John Crockett and cornerback LaDarius Gunter to the roster.
Who will join them? Four have emerged during the first week of training camp.
Receiver Geronimo Allison
At arguably the team’s deepest position, Allison has taken a handful of reps with Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 offense. With fifth-round pick Trevor Davis joining the six returning players to make a seven-man group, Allison is a long shot to make the team. But you can’t teach 6-foot-3.
“Good young player,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “He's done some good young things. Definitely you can see it in the shorts-and-helmets segments. He's carried it to the padded practices. He's picked up the offense. I like a number of things that he's doing. Unique body type.”
Defensive lineman Brian Price
At arguably the team’s weakest position, Price has emerged as perhaps the undrafted player most likely to make the roster. With Pennel awaiting a four-game suspension to start the season, the Packers have two veterans (Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion) and two draft picks (Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry), meaning there’s room for one more. Price has outplayed 2015 sixth-rounder Christian Ringo and fellow undrafted rookies Demetris Anderson and Tyler Kuder. Price was excellent on Family Night and beat the No. 1 line for a pressure on Monday night.
“Brian is an active player,” defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said. “He’s got some fundamental things to work out. Very good worker. I like some of the things he’s done.”
Inside linebacker Beniquez Brown
With Sam Barringotn still on the PUP list, Jake Ryan and fourth-round rookie Blake Martinez have taken just about every rep with the No. 1 defense. Just about. Last week, Brown took a few reps with the starters. On one of those plays with the No. 1 unit, he beat a block and stopped Eddie Lacy on a screen. He had a tackle for loss on Monday night. Brown, Joe Thomas and Carl Bradford and injured rookie Manoa Pikula are vying for a spot or two.
“He’s been exceptional,” assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley. “We’ll see what happens and how it goes in the preseason, but I’ve just been happy with the way he’s worked and his attitude is really on par with anybody I’ve had come through when it comes to that. He’s got a long way to go in his growth and development and where he’s going, but I’m happy with him.”
Safety Kentrell Brice
Brice was the main addition at safety, a position at which the team is well-stocked with starters Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett, utilityman Micah Hyde and special-teams demon Chris Banjo. An explosive athlete who had a strong junior season but took a step backward as a senior, Brice has shown up in coverage, either deep or in man coverage. He sat out Monday night’s practice with an undisclosed injury. Brice isn’t going to nudge out any of the returning payers but that doesn’t mean there’s not room for a fifth safety.
“He’s coming along,” safeties coach Darren Perry said. “He’s done some good things. His head is spinning a little bit. Brice has done an excellent job in terms of coming in and learning our system, doing what we ask him to do. He’s had a setback right now with his injury, but hopefully when he comes back we’ll see what he can do when the lights come on.”
Bill Huber is publisher of 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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.