Monday mailbag: Rookie camp impressions

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Rookie orientation camp concluded over the weekend for the Green Bay Packers. It was our first look at the eight draft picks, 17 undrafted free agents, 25 tryout players and even some returners who qualify as first-year players.

In this week's edition of the mailbag, we will discuss:

As always, you can submit questions for future mailbags via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail.

Demovsky: Let's start off with this caveat: The rookie camp consisted of just two practices, only one of which was open to reporters, so it's an incredibly small sample size. With that in mind, both Rollins and Montgomery stood out. Rollins returned an interception for a touchdown during a team period, and Montgomery showed why scout Sam Seale called him a bigger Randall Cobb. Rollins, the second-round pick, played both in the slot and at the outside cornerback position. His pick-six came from the slot. Montgomery caught the ball well. Yes, that sounds basic for a receiver drafted in the third round, but you might be surprised at how some rookies struggle with that early on.

As for the undrafted players, it's a little tougher to get a gauge on them, but here's who some scouts told me to keep an eye on going in: receiver Adrian Coxson (Stony Brook via Maryland), receiver Ricky Collins (Texas A&M-Commerce), defensive tackle Lavon Hooks (Mississippi), cornerback LaDarius Gunter (Miami) and inside linebacker Tavarus Dantzler (Bethune-Cookman).

Demovsky: No, that's not a stretch. The Packers liked Thomas last summer before he hurt his knee in training camp. It would have been interesting to see how much of a run he would have made at winning a roster spot had he not missed the rest of the preseason. Dantzler, as I wrote in the previous answer, came highly recommended. Coach Mike McCarthy said Thomas has "done very well in the strength and conditioning participation so far" this offseason. Behind Sam Barrington, Clay Matthews and fourth-round pick Jake Ryan, there are plenty of question marks at that position.

Demovsky: Hubbard was allowed to participate in the rookie camp because he did not earn a year of accrued service last season. He spent the entire season on the practice squad. McCarthy said Hubbard spent the entire offseason in Green Bay, working out even before the offseason program kicked off on April 20. McCarthy said Hubbard has added weight and has "really taken a huge step like you see from every player that's been here from year one going into year two." McCarthy said he was "impressed with what Hubbard has done so far." Perhaps Hubbard could make a run at Elliott for a roster spot at outside linebacker, but Elliott has an entire year on the roster to his advantage.

Demovsky: It's quite extensive actually. On Thursday night, one of the first things was an address to the players from both McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson. Several rookies noted that it was then when it really hit them that they were in the NFL. On Friday, several staff members from both the football side of things and the business side of things were introduced to the players. On Saturday, they took a tour of Lambeau Field, then that night they wrapped things up with a rookie dinner at Brett Favre's Steakhouse.

Demovsky: It sure seems like the Packers are counting on Casey Hayward to make the transition from the slot to the outside to replace Tramon Williams. With Sam Shields returning on the other side, that would leave Micah Hyde to compete with Rollins and first-round pick Damarious Randall for the nickel and dime spots. Hyde has played that spot -- and played it well -- the last two years. But both Rollins and Randall seem best suited to play inside based on their college experience. Of those three, one will be on the field in the nickel and another will join in the dime. How much of that could change as the season goes on? Well, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt always says he will play the best guys and isn’t afraid to change that from week to week. Even though Shields makes $9.75 million a year, he will still have to perform to keep his spot.