Lumpkin makes a run for roster spot

Rookie free agent running back taking advantage of opportunities

One sign that indicates the overall depth of a team is the number of rookies that crack the starting lineup. This year, it only appears that offensive lineman Josh Sitton will have that opportunity for the Green Bay Packers.

Another sign of good, experienced depth on the team is the number of rookie free agents that have a shot at making the roster. Usually, one, two and sometimes three rookie free agents will make a team after any given training camp. This year, the Green Bay Packers are probably considering just one at this time - running back Kregg Lumpkin. He is still a longshot to make the 53-man roster at the end of this month, but has a better chance than when training camp began on July 28.

Lumpkin (5-foot-11, 228 pounds) leads the Packers' running backs with 87 yards on 17 carries for a 5.1 average in two preseason games. He has looked pretty good at times and he has also fumbled the ball away. In practice he has had his moments, then has dropped some easy passes out of the backfield.

Lumpkin, nicknamed "The Pumpkin" while playing for the University of Georgia, certainly has potential to be a contributor. But he'll have to continue to make his way through a crowded Packers backfield to be considered for the opening day roster.

Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson are the top backs with Vernand Morency and Noah Herron battling for the No. 3 spot. Lumpkin has pretty much passed up oft-injured running back DeShawn Wynn on the roster. Now it's a matter of him convincing head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson that he is worthy of the No. 3 spot ahead of Herron and Morency, both four-year pros with experience in the offense.

Lumpkin might have a better chance of making the roster of Thompson decides to go with one fullback - Probably Korey Hall - and keep four running backs. That could happen, but is unlikely.

If Lumpkin can continue to progress in training camp, he should make the team's eight-man practice squad, however, the Packers could lose him to another team if he is signed to its 53-man roster.

Lumpkin represents the only rookie free agent that has a legitimate shot of making the team. There aren't any other players even close on Green Bay's roster. If he has a good performance late in the game this Friday at Denver and in the preseason finale against Tennessee, he just may sneak onto the roster.

Keep an eye on No. 28.

Todd Korth writes for and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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