Packers Undrafted Free Agent Running Back Quinn Porter Looking to Surprise

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In the second of this multi-part series, I will examine the only Green Bay Packers 2010 undrafted free agent running back (Quinn Porter) and his chances of making the 53-man roster or practice squad.

(You can find Part 1 of this series HERE)

Will Porter’s spin of the wheel land the Packers a big jackpot or will they hit bankrupt and go away empty-handed?

In each of the last five  years, at least one UFA has made the Packers’ 53-man roster. Will Porter be the one to continue the trend in 2010? Lets take a closer look at Porter and what he is up against.

Part Two – OFFENSE – Running Backs

The Packers kept three running backs last year, stashed Kregg Lumpkin on the practice squad, and of course kept the now infamous trio of fullbacks.  While many are assuming they won’t do the same this year, I say it’s just as possible as it was last year.

UDFA Rookies:

Quinn Porter,  Stillman College, 6’0″, 205 lbs, 4.48 40yd time. Signed by Green Bay as a non-drafted free agent on April 30, 2010……

VIDEO: (FF to 2:30 mark)

AUDIO INTERVIEW:

Originally walked on at Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, Ala.) before eventually earning a scholarship and lettering all four years. After spending his redshirt season and first four games of his freshman year at WR, asked the coaches if he could move to RB due to injuries at that position… Made his collegiate debut at RB at Miles College (Sept. 24), and stayed there for the rest of his career.  Rushed for 2,788 yards and 24 TDs on 511 carries (5.5 avg.) in 37 games… Added 68 receptions for 887 yards (13.0 avg.) and 12 TDs and posted a 32.0-yard average on 19 kickoff returns. Porter was also the starting punter soph & junior years (35 yd avg) and was 2 for 2 on passes thrown for over 50 yds each and 1 TD.

As a senior, received honorable mention All-America honors from D2Football.com. His average of 138.1 rushing yards per game ranked fifth in Division II. Posted a 39.8-yard average on 10 kickoff returns, highlighted by a pair of 90-yard TDs.

Whether justified or not, Porter doesn’t lack an ounce of confidence. When asked who fans will think he looks like, he rattled off “Emmit Smith, Barry Sanders, Walter Payton, Jim Brown.” He has also been quoted as saying, “Green Bay chose a prime, elite, future Hall of Famer,” “I’ll keep it at that. I’ve got confidence. I’m very optimistic.”  Alllllllllll Rrrrrrighty then…

Evaluation:

There will be five running backs competing for three or four spots in camp. While Ryan Grant is a given, the wild card is Brandon Jackson. Are the Packers forced to keep him for the only thing he does really well; pass block on 3rd down? Probably. But that, of course, depends on if any of the other candidates can perform as well in that department.

The other wild card is the fullback situation. If the Packers decide to keep three fullbacks again (heaven help us), then experience at running back is sure to win out over youthful potential, as it did last year when Tyrell Sutton was left off the roster.

This year, I feel the Packers are looking at better and more options at running back, and will thusly be more inclined to keep four running backs and two fullbacks. That scenario obviously gives Porter a real chance, especially if he can successfully migrate his kickoff return skills from Division II to the NFL level.

Porter brings many talents to the table. Mainly, he is a touchdown machine, scoring 38 career touchdowns in 37 games (24 rushing, 12 receiving, 2 returning). As a running back, he has speed, shifty moves and never stops working. A former wide receiver, Porter is adept as catching passes out of the backfield and picking up extra yards. As a kickoff returner, Porter averaged 32 yds per return.

In case that’s not enough, he was 2-2 throwing the ball with a 50yd average and 1TD. And finally, he was the team’s starting punter for two years – look out Chris Bryan and Tim Masthay.

If we take the assumption that Grant and Jackson (reluctantly) will be on the roster, that leaves Kregg Lumpkin, James Starks and Quinn Porter fighting for the final two spots. James Starks is such an intriguing prospect, he surely would not last long on the practice squad. If he performs well enough to not deserve getting cut, then he has to be added to the roster.

So that leaves Kregg Lumpkin and Quinn Porter battling for the last spot (assuming the Packers keep 2 fullbacks).

Lumpkin still has a year of practice squad eligibility left and most likely would stay unsigned, as he did last year, so that works against him making the roster. Porter is this year’s Tyrell Sutton, and the Packers know what happened with Sutton. With Porter’s speed and return ability, he would be an attractive practice squad target for another team.

Lumpkin has the advantage of being big enough to play fullback, if needed. Keeping him would certainly make one of last year’s fullbacks expendable. The undeniable question with Lumpkin is, were those flashes he showed as a rookie, when he was the Packers leading rusher in preseason, something he can recapture? He certainly showed none of it last camp. He had a golden opportunity and couldn’t beat out the mediocre  DeShawn Wynn.

In my dream sequence, I’d love to see Lumpkin show he can pass protect at least as well as  Jackson did, freeing up former second round pick Jackson to be traded.  I would then keep both Starks and Porter to groom as Grant’s heir apparents and inject a bit more creativity into the Packers running game from time to time.

Of course, the odds of that happening are not great. Most likely, Grant, Jackson and Starks make the roster along with Porter if he can truly provide kickoff return help. Then Lumpkin once again gets safely stashed on the practice squad to be called upon if needed.  Sorry Kregg.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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32 thoughts on “Packers Undrafted Free Agent Running Back Quinn Porter Looking to Surprise

  1. Looking at the roster as it is now.

    4FB’s-Hall,Kuhn,Johnson,Lumpkin.

    Hall and Kuhn are set and it’s the practice squad for either Johnson or Lumpkin and the choice is indifferent.

    4RB’s-Grant,Jackson,Starks,Porter.

    Grant and Starks(IMO) are set,Porter has muti- talent which leads me to believe it makes a trade of Jackson more likely.Since the packers drafted Starks and with high praise from Bennett,he has the keeper tag over Porter right off the get go.
    What porter can or doesn’t show he camp will be the deciding factor for Jackson and the only way I keep him(Jackson) would be failure of Porter or injury.
    There is a trade value for Jackson and it would be more beneficial to make that a reality sooner than later;i;e injury to him or looks totally lame outside of a block or two performed.
    To me,Jackson and J.Jones just seem to be missing that next(initiative) step,the all-out mentality.

    1. I disagree that Hall and Kuhn are set. I believe that position is wide open. And you know the Packers WANT Johnson to step up and be the guy. Whether he does, remains to be seen.

  2. Excellent as always Al. I like the versitility of Lumpkin because he can play RB or FB. I think he should be kept at the expense of Hall or Kuhn.

    I do agree that Porter may be kept because of his special teams ability. I think they need to examine very closely the players for ST this year: can’t keep someone who’s good on special teams but can’t contribute on either side of the ball when called upon. So if Porter is kept, he needs to be able to do something out of the backfield as well.

    My guess: RB- Grant, Jackson, Starks, Porter
    FB- Johnson, Kuhn, Lumpkin (practice squad)

    1. I’m hoping Porter can make that big jump, because he’s got something the Packers could use as a compliment to Grant – some speed and moves.

  3. I just don’t see Lumpkin as a FB, he has questionable speed as it is, and would need to add weight to play that position.
    I like Porter a lot, he and Starks have cutting ability that really fits the zone scheme. Both IMO have better cutback abiltiy then Grant or Jackson.
    Porter is a very good receiver out of he bacvk field and has excellent quickness and speed.
    I don’t see them keeping 3 FB’s again this year. I think it was done because Johnson was not ready at the start of the season and no way he was going to make it to the practice squad.
    This year Johnson has to show that he has learned the offense and is able to expand his role.
    Kuhn is a good FB that was a RB in college, he is a better runner then we have got to see.
    Hall is the best athlete of the FB’s. But has had injuries.
    IT will be another fun battle to watch in training camp.

    1. Lumpkin is only 8 lbs less that Korey Hall. And I’m not saying as a regular gig, just in case of emergency, he could fill in at FB fine.

  4. Grant will be kept. Johnson will be kept. Another FB will be kept (ST purposes, at least). Unless someone plays lights out, and not just running the ball (see Sutton, Tyrell), Jackson will be kept.

    IMHO, what will define if we’ll keep 4 RBs, 3 FBs, 4 TEs or 11 OLs will be ST value. If Porter can gain the starting returner role, obviously he’ll be kept. And the other spot, which belonged to the 3rd FB, will be between the loser of Hall/Kuhn, Lumpkin (or Jackson), Lee and an OL, possibly Newhouse. The one who can bring better value as an ST player will be kept.

    I think the less likely to be kept is Lumpkin, because he doesn’t add much to ST (at first glance).

    1. The fact that Lumpy is still practice squad eligible works against him, but Porter has to show he belongs. He looks good on film, but how much did the level of competition contribute, is the question.

      1. My point is, even if he shows he can run with the ball, he’s not going to make the 53. Unless he shows something else (really quick moves, very good pass catching ability, great pass blocking skills), he’s not going to make the roster as a RB. They simply don’t take much into consideration production in preseason. Not unless he can bring something to the table that neither Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson or James Starks do.

        Now, as a kick returner, it’s another story. That’s an area where the Packers need, and that’s his ticket into the roster. Blackmon will probably manhandle the PR position, but he’s not a good KR.

        To all those UFAs battling for a spot, ST contribution will be the determining factor for whether they make the 53 roster or not.

        1. Yes, kick returning will be his ticket, but he does bring something different at RB than the Packers have – at least on tape. We’ll see how he does vs. NFL players…

      1. Yesterday I thought you sort of alluded to the notion that Porter would overtake Jackson.

  5. I think it’s hilarious that you are such a Lumpkin fan. He has looked about as good as Michael Haddix or Brent Fullwood. He’s not the savior, so let’s find one. It’s also hilarious that you keep acting like it’s hurting Lumpkin because he has another year of practice squad eligibility. Doesn’t Starks and Porter have practice squad eligibility as well? The best player will play, the crappy one will be sent to the practice squad. I’m thinking Lumpkin is gone after this year, and the fact that they drafted Starks, brought in Porter, and kept 3 FB’s last year is proof alone that they aren’t too high on Lumpkin. Move on from the Lumpkin craze…2 years ago he was an interesting prospect Jersey Al…not anymore.

    1. I guess you’re not reading very carefully. I wrote that the reason Lumpkin would be the best candidate for the practice squad is because he’d be the most likely to safely stay there and not get signed. That’s all. Lumpkin was a huge disappointment last camp. Not just to me, but to the Packers coaches who were expecting a lot more of him. I’ve firmly moved on from the “Lumpkin craze”, as you call it.

  6. Jersey Al, I really like your stuff, so please don’t think I’m a hater, but I also have to disagree with your dislike of Jackson. How can you be down on Jackson and so high on Lumpkin?? Jackson needs more opportunities to touch the ball before we start throwing him under the bus. Jackson came out as a junior and had his job taken away from him. He was a pure professional and kept playing his tail off and never complained like many young players do. I love the aggressive and positive energy he brings to the field. You can tell that he wants to be good and is doing all he can to help the team win. I was at the Seattle game where he scored 3 TD’s. The kid has wheels, talent and just needs more of an opportunity.
    P.S. Somebody please ask Teddy how the heck Sutton was not on our roster this last year. What does a guy have to do in the preseason to be kept?! He was a complete stud and Carolina is very high on him. He also played some FB for Carolina this last year in a pinch. Tough kid that got hosed.

    1. Well, as I said to drb above, I don’t see where I’m being so high on Lumpkin anymore. I have him fighting with Quinn Porter for the last spot and likely going to the practice squad. Unless he can equal Jackson’s blocking, in which case I send Jackson packing, as he would have the most trade value, thus allowing Porter to make the roster. Which is mostly what I’m hoping for…

  7. Playing in the division 2 is different than the nfl. He could turn out to be mediocre in the nfl so let’s not jump the gun here. Let’s see how he performs in the pre season when he’s given the chance to show what he can do.

    1. Of course! And I wrote this, “if he can successfully migrate his kickoff return skills from Division II to the NFL level.”

  8. Al – nicely broken down. Thorough. This guy is intriguing. I particularly like that he’s a former WR (bring the screen back McCarthy!) and that he apparently has a shiftiness to his running style – something we haven’t have in GB for years. (And another reason why I’m still frustrated with our handling of Tyrell Sutton.) As much as I may have pulled for Lumpkin initially, unless he shows dramatic improvement in the preseason, I say let him go. I also don’t want to keep 3 FBs again – that’s wasting roster space. I bet we only keep 2 this year as they probably have more faith now in Johnson, who probably has more faith in himself.

  9. Let’s talk about Quinn Johnson for a moment. Let’s not forget that we invested a 5th round pick in this kid. He’s big and can blow up linebackers…but he is also stiff and looks like a bail of hay trying to catch a pass. I think the fact that he was a 5th round pick and NOT NFL READY was another major reason that we kept 3 FB’s. We didn’t want to lose on our investment by cutting him, and we knew that we probably needed 2 FB’s. It really surprised me when we used a 5th round pick on a position that is quickly becoming extinct in the NFL. The Packers are the only team since 1988 to keep 3 FB’s on their roster. I think this is a HUGE year for Johnson. A 5th round pick is a big deal, and he has shown NOTHING. He needs to step up this offseason. If Johnson can prove worthy of the 5th round pick and become a starter, the Packers can just go with the best special teams player in either Kuhn or Hall. They need to only keep 2 FBs. If Kuhn or Hall get nicked up…their gone. TT could try to trade them, but in the NFL the best you can get for a FB is a pack of gum. Jersey Al…your take on this??

    1. Actually, the only time he has sown NOTHING is when he was inactive (too often). When he was given a chance to play, he did his job well. See this:

      http://allgbp.com/2009/10/21/green-bay-packers-quinn-johnson-is-already-serving-up-the-pancakes/

      Where he did struggle, (and this is what kept him on the bench), was on special teams. That’s why Kuhn and Hall got the bulk of the playing time.

      I still have high hopes for him, but he has to become a ST warrior…

  10. Actually, the only time he has sown NOTHING is when he was inactive (too often). When he was given a chance to play, he did his job well. See this:

    http://allgbp.com/2009/10/21/green-bay-packers-quinn-johnson-is-already-serving-up-the-pancakes/

    Where he did struggle, (and this is what kept him on the bench), was on special teams. That’s why Kuhn and Hall got the bulk of the playing time.

    I still have high hopes for him, but he has to become a ST warrior…

  11. hopefully Starks isn’t another player whose potential will all go to waste due to injuries. Has anyone seen anything positive from this kid yet? As for Porter, hopefully he can live up to his expectations he has for himself, ala Terell Davis

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