GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers filled six of their eight practice-squad spots on Monday.
Why are these practice-squad players important? The Packers have a history of promoting from their practice squad, so there’s a good chance you might see a few of them on the field at some point. Five players currently on the 53-man roster -- receiver/kick returner Jeremy Ross, cornerback Tramon Williams, linebacker Robert Francois, guard/center Greg Van Roten and tight end Brandon Bostick -- began their Packers careers on the practice squad.
Here’s a look at the six players the Packers have signed so far:
G Bryan Collins: The 6-foot-3, 301-pound rookie from SMU was an undrafted free agent who broke in with the Houston Texans, where he played in two preseason games. He’s one of two practice-squad signees who wasn’t with the Packers in training camp. A 20-game starter in college, Collins was a second-team, All-Conference USA pick as a senior in 2012.
WR Charles Johnson: A rookie seventh-round pick of the Packers who missed most of the offseason program and half of the preseason because of a knee injury. Johnson has good size (6-2, 215) and athleticism but was raw coming out of Grand Valley State.
CB James Nixon: Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said during training camp that Nixon might be the fastest player on the team, even faster than cornerback Sam Shields. The 6-foot, 186-pounder, who was on the Packers’ practice squad most of last season, reportedly ran a 4.31 40-yard dash at his pro day coming out of Temple. Shields reportedly ran a 4.30.
TE Jake Stoneburner: The undrafted rookie from Ohio State made a strong bid for a roster spot at a crowded position but hurt his chances when he fumbled near the goal line in the Packers’ third preseason game against Seattle.
QB Scott Tolzien: The former University of Wisconsin quarterback was released last week by the San Francisco 49ers. Originally an undrafted free agent signed by the San Diego Chargers in 2011, he spent the past two seasons on the 49ers' active roster but remains practice-squad eligible because he never appeared in a game.
WR Myles White: The 6-foot, 182-pound rookie from Louisiana Tech was the Packers’ second-leading receiver in the preseason with eight catches for 90 yards.
UPDATE: The Packers have completed their practice squad by signing two more players:
T Aaron Adams: A 6-5, 303-pound rookie from Eastern Kentucky, Adams spent the entire preseason with the Cleveland Browns, who signed him as an undrafted free agent.
RB Michael Hill: A 5-10, 210-pound rookie from Missouri Western, Hill spent the entire preseason with the San Diego Chargers, who signed him as an undrafted free agent. Hill finished his career at Missouri Western as the school’s career rushing leader (4,969 yards) and had 35 touchdowns.