Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky just tweeted a pic of the Packers rookie orientation with one surprising name. One of the more interesting topics that hasn’t seen much news coverage is where former Oregon tight end Colt Lyerla ended up and now we have an answer; namely Lyerla likely didn’t get single offer as a undrafted rookie free agent and now must fight for a spot as a try-out player with the Packers. He will wear #49o during the rookie orientation.
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) May 16, 2014
On the football field, there aren’t many tight ends that I enjoyed watching more before the draft; at 6’4″ and 242 lbs, Lyerla is perhaps even more physically gifted than Eric Ebron, the first tight end drafted with the 10th pick by the Lions who is often compared to Vernon Davis himself. Lyerla tested through the roof at the combine, being among the leaders in the 40 yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump for tight ends. Lyerla also offers an interesting blend athleticism with the speed to split safeties and outrun linebackers but also the strength to be an aggressive run blocker. Lyerla also has versatility as a H-back/RB, logging in 7 rushing attempts for 63 yards and a touchdown against Arizona in 2013. While Lyerla is definitely raw in regards to route running and technique as a receiver and blocker, the physical tools are definitely there in abundance to make a truly complete tight end.
Naturally, players with Lyerla’s physical attributes don’t usually fall out of the draft, let alone not get signed as a rookie free agent and unfortunately Lylera’s positives on the field are overshadowed by the negatives off the field. First off, Lyerla left the Oregon in middle of the 2013 season for “personal reasons” and was later arrested for cocaine possession. Furthermore, Lyerla had a very troubled childhood and is often described as prone to emotional outbursts and immaturity. It should be mentioned that 6 out of 7 ALLGBP staff writers had Lyerla on their 2014 NFL DRAFT “FUBAR” Board (i.e. WOULD NOT DRAFT), however as a try out player who doesn’t even get a contract, this is still a very safe move for the Packers.
With the Packers, Lyerla has found himself with perhaps one of the best places to try to resurrect his career and stabilize his personal life; the Packers have already dealt with players with immaturity (Jermichael Finley) and drug issues (Johnny Jolly) and the Packers are a more tight knit organization that can likely protect their players better than teams in bigger markets like New York or Miami. Finally, with the tight end position clearly in flux with Finley’s health still on the line and not much depth behind him, Lyerla has a chance to get on the field quickly, which might in turn help stabilize his personal life, much like it did with Jolly.
In the end, Lyerla’s future really rests in his own hands; the Packers have invested nothing in him and it’s up to him to prove that he’s worth a roster spot and a contract. Here’s hoping that Lyerla can use football to find a life.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.