With the first preseason game in the books, fans have had the opportunity to watch the Green Bay Packers in action. Here is a look at seven young players who have performed well so far in training camp and in the first preseason game and made a good early impression.
This does not mean these players are a lock to make the team. However, their chances have improved since training camp got under way and they are making a strong case for inclusion in the final roster.
Keep in mind only rookies and second-year players are eligible for this list. Also, this list does not feature high draft picks like Darnell Savage and Rashan Gary who are locks to make the team. This list is reserved for players who have been a pleasant surprise since training camp got under way and were not highly touted before then.
1. ILB Ty Summers
The Packers seventh-round pick out of TCU made 10 tackles against the Texans and played a very strong game, especially early on. Summers had some rookie moments later in the game, but he has shown promise as a run defender. Summers anticipated well, showed good recognition skills and always seemed to get near the football. He’s making a strong case to be on the roster when cuts are made in early September.
2. RB Dexter Williams
With both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams out of the lineup against Houston, Dexter Williams got the bulk of the carries and made an impression immediately. The Notre Dame product led all Green Bay rushers with 62 yards and 14 carries and added one reception for 18 more yards. Williams showed good burst and the ability to read his blocks well, especially on his pass reception.
The key to Dexter Williams getting more action during the regular season will be his ability to pass protect and pick up blitzes. If he continues to show the talent he has flashed so far, expect Williams to carve out a role in the team’s offense as the season progresses.
3. WR Darrius Shepherd
Head coach Matt LaFleur praised Shepherd for his work in training camp and the North Dakota State product showed why when he made a 14-yard touchdown catch against the Texans. Shepherd got full extension on a high throw from DeShone Kizer and was able to make the grab in the end zone for six points.
Shepherd is battling for a spot at the crowded wide receiver position and still faces an uphill battle to make the final roster. He fits in best in the slot according to LaFleur because of his quickness and ability to maneuver inside and create separation in short spaces.
4. CB Chandon Sullivan
Sullivan’s big play against Houston came when he made an acrobatic interception of Joe Webb early in the second half. He was also credited with five tackles in the game and played well in coverage throughout. The second-year man out of Georgia State played five games with Philadelphia last season after making the Eagles as an undrafted free agent. He may also be able to help the Packers special teams in coverage if he makes the team.
5. CB Ka’dar Hollman
Hollman had already shown a welcome physicality in practice and he continued to play well against Houston. The rookie sixth-round pick out of Toledo continued to be physical with receivers in the preseason opener and undercut a throw by Webb to make an interception as well.
Hollman’s style of play should fit in well with Mike Pettine’s defense. He has made a good early impression and is making a strong case for inclusion on the final 53-man roster. If he makes the team, he should contribute on special teams and possibly in nickel or dime packages on defense.
6. ILB Curtis Bolton
Bolton made a strong showing in the preseason opener after making a good impression early in training camp. The undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma did a good job of shedding blocks on several plays, a key skill for an ILB.
Bolton did a good job of dropping back in coverage as well, something the Packers need to have at the ILB position. He was credited with deflecting a pass to go along with his two official tackles.
7. S Raven Greene
Greene played well for the Packers in limited chances last year and appears to have taken a step forward in year two. He has been noticed by the coaching staff during camp and made some strong plays against Houston on Thursday. Greene made three tackles, but his biggest contribution was a forced fumble when he separated RB Taiwan Jones from the ball. Greene seems very comfortable in Mike Pettine’s defense and is playing intelligent and physical football so far in training camp.