Undrafted free agents that turn into contributors are the ultimate diamonds in the rough. Every single one of them is an underdog, and it’s impossible not to root for them to make the team. As much as fans like us love them for their stories, the Green Bay Packers’ front office likes having a few on the roster every year because they’re very cheap in relation to veterans and players they selected in the draft.
Currently, there are seven UDFA’s on the 90-main roster for Green Bay, and since they have full offseason activities to get accustomed to the NFL game, there is a chance that more of them will make the team than last year. The Packers put a big emphasis on the trenches with these players, as five of the seven play on the line, three offensive linemen, one defensive lineman, and an edge defender.
We’ll split these seven Green Bay Packers’ UDFAs into three groups: The perimeter players, offensive linemen, and defensive line of scrimmage players.
Bailey Gaither – WR – San Jose State
Pop quiz: Can you name a former Green Bay Packers’ receiver who went to San Jose State and had over 5000 yards receiving here? That was none other than current NFL analyst James Jones. Gaither comes to the team in much different circumstances as an undrafted free agent in a very crowded receiver room that also added third-round pick Amari Rodgers and 2020 opt-out Devin Funchess.
As far as what Gaither brings on the field, he’s a speedy deep threat who ran a 4.48 40-yard dash and consistently burned Mountain West defenses, getting behind them with his speed. He does struggle to create separation in 1-on-1 situations, but he seems to have a high IQ and finds holes in zones very well. He had great production in his senior year because of this, averaging 103.6 yards per game. The test for him will be whether his speed and production will be enough to translate from one of the lesser conferences in the FBS to the NFL.
One thing he does have going for him is that he has experience returning punts and kicks, something always in demand for the Packers, especially after some futility in that area the past few seasons.
Christian Uphoff – S – Illinois State
Christian Uphoff may be the undrafted free agent with the best chance to make this team. This is partially because of his skill but also because of the position that he plays and the need the Packers have for it. With Raven Greene not returning to the team, they need a big safety to play down in the box on passing downs as a linebacker type, and Uphoff fits the mold perfectly.
At 6’2″ 209 pounds, he’s big and bulky enough to mix it up and showed himself to be a downhill run-stopper in college while being fast enough to cover the middle of the field. His 4.64 40-yard dash and questionable on-field speed pretty much disqualify him from being able to play as a deep safety, but they have Amos and Savage for that, so he’s free to take plenty of reps down in the box.
He may also compete for a role on special teams and could be a standout tackler in that phase of the game. He also returned kicks in college and could get a look in that position as well. The final note on Uphoff is that he played in the FCS, which means that he didn’t play in 2020, a fact that tanked his draft stock with teams not wanting to take a chance on a guy they didn’t have recent film on. This could make him a huge sneaky steal.