The Green Bay Packers still had a practice squad opening as of Wednesday evening. Although they signed 16 players, Kenneth Odumwegu is exempt as a member of the International Pathway Program. To fill that void, the team announced that they signed inside linebacker Kristian Welch.
Welch, who stands 6’3” and weighs 240 pounds, is a 2020 undrafted rookie out of Iowa. He has spent his first three NFL seasons with Baltimore where he has extensive special teams experience.
During that span, Welch has played 888 special teams snaps, according to PFF, covering a variety of phases. Welch has ample experience on both punt and kick coverage units, both return units, and on the field goal blocking team as well. He has 17 career total tackles on special teams, including eight in 2021, which was the third-most on a Ravens unit that ranked first in Rich Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings.
Welch has seen just 46 defensive snaps in his career, all of which came from the box, and include making five of six tackles. He’s allowed one completion for 14 yards.
Given Welch’s experience on special teams, along with the added emphasis the Packers have on this phase of the game under Rich Bisaccia, this is a practice squad addition that we could see on Sundays at some point this season, especially with the added flexibility that teams have with practice squad elevations to the game day roster.
By signing Welch, that also means that the Packers aren’t bringing back Jonathan Ford or Tariq Carpenter. Both players made Green Bay’s initial 53-man roster but were released on Wednesday to make room for tight end Ben Sims and safety Zayne Anderson, two waiver wire additions.
Green Bay also confirmed that the signings of Sims and Anderson are official, meaning both players passed their physicals. The team also confirmed that Luke Tenuta had been move to IR, so he will have to miss at least the first four games of the season. With that roster opening, as planned, the team made the signing long-snapper Matt Orzech official.