The Green Bay Packers made a pair of roster moves on Tuesday, releasing running back James Robinson from the practice squad and signing running back Ellis Merriweather in his place.
Robinson was signed to the Green Bay practice squad on October 17th to provide additional running back depth after the team released Patrick Taylor from the 53-man roster and chose not to re-sign him to the practice squad.
Merriweather was an undrafted rookie this past spring out of UMass. Merriweather was a part of the Packers’ rookie minicamp back in May as a tryout candidate.
He then spent training camp and the preseason with New Orleans and was originally signed to their practice squad before being released early in the season. In the preseason, Merriweather had 22 carries at 3.2 yards per attempt. He also had eight receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown, according to PFF.
Merriweather stands 6’1″ and weighs 220 pounds. He posted a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 5.49 out of 10 during the pre-draft process. His most productive season in college came in 2021, where he averaged 5.2 yards per attempt with five touchdowns. During his final 2022 season, Merriweather’s production dipped, as he averaged just 4.0 yards per rush with three touchdowns and two fumbles.
As a pass catcher, he caught 29 of his 42 total targets, most of which came out of the backfield at 6.7 yards per reception with a touchdown. For what it’s worth, Merriweather held his own in pass protection, according to PFF’s grading system.
For more on Merriweather’s game, Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network wrote this about him in their pre-draft scouting report:
"“Strengths: Nice-sized ball carrier who was moderately productive in college. Patiently waits for blocks to develop and keeps his feet moving. Strong and picks up yardage off initial contact. Runs hard on the inside and falls forward when tackled. Displays blocking vision and stays with assignments. Sells ball fakes.“Weaknesses: Possesses a minimal burst and limited quickness. Takes his eyes off the ball as a pass catcher, which leads to drops.“Overall: Merriweather comes with solid size as well as speed and offers possibilities as a short-yardage ball carrier. However, he is a bit one-dimensional.”"
With Aaron Jones fully healthy and back at full capacity against the Los Angeles Rams for the first time since Week 1, the running back position for the Packers is stable. He and AJ Dillon will be the go-to options on game day, while Green Bay really likes the upside that Emanuel Wilson possesses.
GM Brian Gutekunst has often churned the bottom of the roster in search of young, high-upside talent. The decision to release Robinson and add Merriweather to the practice squad fits that mold. Barring any injuries, Merriweather will remain on the practice squad as a developmental player.
The Packers practice squad is now at full capacity with 16 players, but the team is still one player shy of 53 on the active roster following last week’s trade, where Rasul Douglas and a fifth-round pick were sent to Buffalo in exchange for a 2024 third-round selection.
"“We’ll see,” said Matt LaFleur when asked about that available roster spot. Gutey and I have been in communication about that in terms of what we are going to do with that spot.”"