Beaver likely not in Packers' plans

UW-Whitewater star was one of three backs looked at by the Packers after the draft, along with Kregg Lumpkin and Lance Ball.

The Green Bay Packers reportedly have decided to sign three of the tryout players who participated at last weekend's rookie orientation camp.

It doesn't appear the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Justin Beaver will be one of them, even though the 5-foot-7 Division III player of the year impressed coach Mike McCarthy.

"We are going to do everything we can to get Justin a shot, whether that is with the Packers or some other team," agent Tim Valentyn said in an e-mail on Tuesday morning. "He knows he did well in the minicamp and liked the situation in Green Bay but we are already exploring all available options."

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Sunday reported one of the signees would be Arkansas defensive tackle Fred Bledsoe. The Packers have not announced any of the signings, and if it goes like undrafted free agents signed after the draft, the team will be in no hurry to make such an announcement.

Including Bledsoe, the Packers have 76 players under contract on their roster — a figure that doesn't include running back Ryan Grant (unsigned tender) or the nine draft picks. McCarthy on Sunday said the team likely would sign four of the tryout players.

The roster limit is 80, though league owners will discuss later this month increasing that number to 86.

The Packers added only one running back this offseason, undrafted free agent Kregg Lumpkin out of Georgia. The Parade All-American, who was rated as the second-best prep running back prospect, burst onto the scene as a freshman in 2003, when he rushed for 523 yards (4.7 yards per carry) and six touchdowns.

His career went down the drain, though, because of injuries. He tore an ACL during training camp before his sophomore season. After rushing for 335 yards (5.1 average) and three touchdowns in his comeback 2005, Lumpkin started nine of 14 games in 2006, rushing for 798 yards (4.9 average) and six touchdowns. He broke a thumb and tore cartilage in a knee during his senior season, and finished with 44 yards on 12 carries. But, he's the type of one-cut runner that is favored in the zone-blocking scheme employed by the Packers.

"It was tough," Lumpkin said last weekend of the injuries. "But the good thing is I got an (injury redshirt) year and I was able to get my degree — two degrees, actually. This is a great opportunity here. I just have to go out and learn the offense and work on special teams. I want to be versatile and show them I can play anywhere."

Joining Beaver on a tryout basis was Maryland's Lance Ball. Like Beaver, he lacks ideal height (5-foot-9). Unlike Beaver, he's a stout 223 pounds.

Ball started 19 of 37 games during his final three seasons, when he rushed for 903 yards (4.8 average) and six touchdowns in 2005, 815 yards (4.7 average) and eight touchdowns in 2006 and 768 yards (4.2 average) and 12 touchdowns in 2007. He rushed for 249 yards last season against Florida State.

Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

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