As University of Delaware defensive line coach Phil Petitte put it, Ronald Talley is a man with a plan.
"There's a few things that I would like to do," Talley said of his post-football plans. "One thing would be, I'm from Detroit and Detroit is a place that I can give a lot to when I'm finished, so I definitely want to deal with the communities and try to figure out what my role would be in helping them."
Talley has two routes to take him to that goal. One, he can put his degree to work by landing a job in film and television production. Or, the undrafted free agent can make the Packers' roster as a defensive end.
Along with Northwestern running back Tyrell Sutton, Talley is the gem of the Packers' group of 15 undrafted players.
"I see a prototypical defensive end," Packers director of college scouting John Dorsey said. "I see strong hands. I see the ability to hold the point of attack, athletic enough to disengage off a blocker if he must. I would expect him to have a good training camp."
The 6-foot-3, 282-pound Talley started five games as a redshirt freshman on Notre Dame's Fiesta Bowl team before leaving the school midway through his sophomore season. Petitte says coach Charlie Weis wanted to move Talley, then about 265 pounds, inside, while Talley wanted to remain at end.
For his part, Talley says only that he and Weis weren't "seeing eye-to-eye anymore," and called it a "mutual decision" to transfer.
The 2007 Delaware team, led by quarterback Joe Flacco, reached the Football Championship Subdivision championship game before losing to Appalachian State. Talley started the first eight games of that season before an ankle injury sidelined him for two games and limited him to a reserve role the rest of the season.
In 2008, Talley had 3.5 sacks and a team-high eight tackles for losses in starting 10 of 11 games.
"Stat-wise, you're not going to see a lot of things as far as sacks and things, but running a scheme and playing a scheme, he's going to get his job done," Petitte said. "He might not show up statistically, but you know exactly what you're getting. He's going to know his assignments, he's going to work like a mad. I think he's a solid prospect."
Talley's role at Delaware was to be a physical five-technique defensive end (meaning, he lined up shaded to the outside of the offensive tackle) playing on the tight end's side of the formation. So, his value wasn't so much in getting to the quarterback — he had 6.5 sacks in two seasons — as it was being a sturdy point-of-attack defender against the run.
"I definitely believe so," Talley said when asked if run defense is his forte. "In the run defense, you have to be very physical, and I think that's something we really valued at Delaware. I think that's one of the strengths of my game."
Talley has no regrets about leaving Notre Dame, even though stepping down a level in competition didn't do much for his draft stock. He's bigger, stronger and more skilled following his two years in Newark.
"Ronald's the type of guy that he plans everything out," Petitte said. "He's got a set schedule for everything he wants to get done, wants to accomplish. At first when he got here, he thought he was OK around 265. Then, he knew he had to be a little more physical with what we wanted to do. He just worked his back side off to gain weight. He's done everything the right way. He's a put-together kid."
Talley said he chose Green Bay because of the Packers' new defensive scheme. He will battle this offseason at a position with only one clear-cut starter, Cullen Jenkins, and with only sixth-rounder Jarius Wynn added to the picture.
"(Defensive line coach) Mike Trgovac likes him," coach Mike McCarthy said during last weekend's rookie orientation camp. "I think he definitely has a chance. Just the body types that you're looking for. You are making a transition to a new defense. I think both him and Wynn have really been impressive, particularly you watch the team run period and the second team period, those guys really show up."
Talley also was pleased with his performance at last weekend's rookie camp. However, Talley wouldn't say whether he thinks he's got what it takes to make it in the NFL and put Hollywood on hold.
"I think the most important thing is I'll do all I can," Talley said. "It's hard for me to say ‘yes' or ‘no,' but the main thing that I want to focus on is saying that I'm gong to give my best, and from there, you let the chips fall where they may."
Added Petitte: He's dedicated to everything he does. I think he's got a shot."
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.