After releasing Jonathan Garvin on Friday, the Green Bay Packers had an open roster spot on the 90-man that they quickly filled by claiming center James Empey off waivers, according to Rob Demovsky, after he had been let go by Tennessee.
Empey went undrafted in 2022 out of BYU. He initially signed with Dallas and has spent time with Miami and Tennessee.
Empey, who is 26, stands 6’3,” weighs 297 pounds and posted a Relative Athletic Score of 2.58 out of 10 coming out of college—an outlier for the Packers. All 2,506 of his career snaps came at center, and he had 41 career starts. He missed six games in his final season due to a leg injury.
During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Empey had 460 total pass blocking snaps, giving up two sacks and seven pressures. Out of 200 eligible centers, he ranked 24th in PFF’s pass-blocking efficiency metric. For what it’s worth, as a run-blocker, Empey’s grade in 2021 ranked 68th at his position. Most of his run-blocking snaps came as a zone blocker, which is the running style the Packers often utilize under Matt LaFleur.
For a closer look at Empey’s game, here is snippet of what the scouting staff over at Bleacher Report wrote prior to the 2022 NFL draft:
"“Overall, Empey is a proficient zone run-blocker with the football IQ to quarterback the pre-snap phase of the game. He lacks scheme or position versatility because of middling size and power, but his makeup and understanding of leverage is worth drafting for a backup role in a zone scheme.”"
As I wrote in a recent article examining which position the Packers might fill with their open roster spot, bolstering their interior offensive line depth, specifically at center, was likely at the top of Green Bay’s list, given that in order to sign quarterback Alex McGough two weeks ago, they had to release center DJ Scaife.
Through the first four training camp practices, Josh Myers has been at center with the starters. Jake Hanson with the twos, and Zach Tom often with the threes. Perhaps Empey will take some of those third team snaps from Tom.
Empey joins a crowded and talented offensive line room that the Packers have constructed, where Caleb Jones, Rasheed Walker, Luke Tenuta, Jake Hanson, and Sean Rhyan are all competing for two to three available roster spots.