(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.
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……
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…
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.——————
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.