Reward outweighs risk

Wynn relishes 'clean slate,' opportunity to make Green Bay roster

DeShawn Wynn appears ready to put all the questions about his character behind him and focus on making the Green Bay Packers roster. Late-round draft choices, like Wynn, are not exactly shoe-ins to make it in the NFL, but Wynn has the ability and experience of playing for a big-time college program to earn a spot on the team.

Wynn comes to Green Bay from the University of Florida after a long and frustrating draft weekend, as he described it, in which he was not selected until the seventh round, 228th overall. Wynn felt he deserved to be selected higher, but most all players selected after the middle of the first round say the same thing.

In Wynn's case, he probably deserved to go a little higher. He rushed for more than 1,300 yards in the last two seasons at Florida, primarily as the Gators' starting tailback. He helped spearhead Florida's whipping of Ohio State in the BCS Championship Game last January. But questions about his durability (he missed a number of games due to injuries) and off-field behavior (he was suspended by coach Urban Meyer for the '06 opener for what Wynn described as "a little parking decal incident.") are the likely reasons for his free fall in the draft.

Is Wynn a character risk like Ahmad Carroll, who was arrested this past weekend in Atlanta? Let's hope not, but it will be up to him to put the incidents, as minor as he and the Packers described them, behind him and prove to the NFL that he should have been selected higher in the draft. Wynn also supposedly fell into Meyer's doghouse a few years ago because he was talking on his cell phone during a practice. Wynn was injured at the time and not participating in the practice.

"That kind of got me on his bad side," said Wynn. "When the coach first got there, you don't want to do that, which unfortunately happened. Other than that, I haven't had too many problems at Florida.

"Trouble-maker is another hard knock I had on me. Not a hard worker. You can't start for Coach Meyer for two years and not be a hard worker. It doesn't work like that. I'm here on a clean slate, and I'm looking forward to making my own name here in Green Bay."

Wynn has a golden opportunity to make the Packers roster. The Packers are seeking a new running back to replace the departed Ahman Green (Houston), and are looking for a fullback to back up veteran Brandon Miree, who is not a lock for the position. Wynn will be going against a stable of running backs, led by veteran Vernand Morency and second round draft pick Brandon Jackson, but he is optimistic about his chances.

"I think the good thing about it is we're all young," Wynn said. "You don't have one set veteran back, so there is a lot of open space for an opportunity and competition, which I'm looking forward to."

First, Wynn will have a shake off a strained calf muscle, which he sustained during the first of three Rookie Orientation Camp practices last weekend. He also will have to get more familiar with Green Bay's West Coast offense and zone-blocking run scheme.

"Learning (the West Coast offense) is going to be an adventure, but it's going to be fun," said Wynn.

As long as Wynn avoids any more injuries this off-season, look for him to make a strong bid for a spot on Green Bay's roster. He appears to have the right attitude and a situation in which he can thrive.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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