The Green Bay Packers announced a trio of roster moves on Tuesday. The first being that they released cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly from the active roster. The other two took place on the practice squad, with Green Bay signing reciever Thyrick Pitts, and releasing linebacker Austin Ajiake as the corresponding move. Here is what you need to know.
Kelly is a 2023 undrafted rookie who has bounced around in his young career. He was claimed off waivers by the Packers on November 15th after being released by Seattle. Kelly was only active for Green Bay against Detroit, where he played three snaps on special teams and two on defense.
Presumably, the release of Kelly is to make room on the 53-man roster for Eric Stokes. Stokes has returned to practice but is still on IR. He was a full participant in all three practices last week and was listed as questionable for the Giants game before being inactive. The Packers have until December 19th to add him back to the active roster, as that is when Stokes’ three week window to return expires.
The other two moves involve the practice squad, including signing Pitts, a 2023 undrafted rookie from Deleware. Pitts was recently in for a workout with the team.
Pitts has the prototypical size and athleticism that the Packers covet at receiver, standing 6’3” – weighing 201 pounds and posting a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 8.68 out of 10. During his college career, Pitts spent most of his snaps lined up on the boundary. He was a key part of the Deleware offens for several seasons, totaling 237 targets and catching 61 percent of those passes at 13.5 yards per catch with 21 touchdowns. For what it’s worth, in 2022, Pitts graded out very well as a run-blocker by PFF’s metrics.
For a closer look at Pitts’ game, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had this to say about his in his pre-draft scouting report:
"“Perimeter receiver with the measurables and pro-day testing to garner late round or priority free agent looks. Pitts has the ball skills teams are seeking at the position. He will need extensive route work to become a more elusive target and needs to play to the speed/quickness he showed at his pro day.“"
Very quickly the Packers have found themselves potentially quite shorthanded at the receiver position. The timetable for Christian Watson’s return is still unknown, and following Monday night’s game, Dontayvion Wicks left with an ankle injury and Jayden Reed with a potential concussion. Pitts won’t be asked to play this Sunday, but he provides depth in practice if any combination of those three misses time this week, not to mention that Bo Melton and possibly Grant DuBose will be thrust into larger roles, depending on the severity of Wicks’ and Reed’s injuries.
To make room for Pitts, the Packers released linebacker Austin Ajiake from the practice squad. Ajiake is a 2023 undrafted rookie from UNLV and was added to the Green Bay practice squad on November 14th. He comes to the NFL with good athleticism and a lot of special teams experience. Given the makeup of the Packers linebacker room, this is a position of depth for them, with De’Vondre Campbell, Quay Walker, Isaiah McDuffie, Eric Wilson, and Kristian Welch all on the active roster.