GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last year, an NFL scout agreed to pick his top-three rookie free agents from the Green Bay Packers' undrafted class. His choices – running back Don Jackson, defensive tackle Brian Price and receiver Geronimo Allison -- all ended up on the active roster at some point during the season.
Given the scout's track record and the Packers' penchant for keeping their undrafted rookies on their roster -- last year, they kept six of them in the final cuts (although only four made it to the regular-season opener) -- it's a good time to inquire about this year's class, which includes the 15 players they signed initially plus the five more who were signed after tryouts at rookie camp last weekend.
With that in mind, that same scout offered his top three from this year's class:
Donatello Brown, CB, Valdosta State
Why he stands out: His size. At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Brown is bigger than Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, the two cornerbacks the Packers drafted in 2015. He might be one of the biggest unknowns among the undrafted class because of his small-school roots. He's been referred to in reports as a “speedy” cornerback, but he did not run the 40-yard dash at his pro day. The Packers saw him at the Tropical Bowl, an all-star game for the top FBS players.
Why he had a chance: It appears the Packers are intent on getting taller at the cornerback; their top draft pick, second-rounder Kevin King is the tallest (6-3) corner general manager Ted Thompson has ever taken. They've also shown the willingness to keep undrafted rookies at the position. Last year, they opened the season with two of them -- Josh Hawkins and Makinton Dorleant -- on the roster.
Lenzy Pipkins, CB, Oklahoma State
Why he stands out: Another tall cornerback (6-0, 196), Pipkins transferred to the Big 12 school after playing three years at Louisiana-Monroe and handled the jump in competitive level just fine. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Pipkins ran the 40 in 4.46 seconds at his pro day. That was just a few ticks lower than King's time (4.43) at the combine.
Why he had a chance: See above.
Adam Pankey, G, West Virginia
Why he stands out: Like most of the offensive linemen the Packers bring in, Pankey has a history at left tackle. He started every game there as a junior before he moved to left guard last season. He's a more natural fit in the NFL at guard, where his size (6-5 and 315 pounds) and athleticism should show up. He was an honorable mention All-Big 12 selection with 37 career college starts to his credit. The only major knock against him was a DUI arrest last summer. He was suspended for the regular-season opener.
Why he has a chance: The Packers drafted only one offensive lineman, and that came in the sixth round (South Florida's Kofi Amichia, who is moving to guard from tackle). Even though the Packers signed veteran Jahri Evans as a possible replacement for Pro Bowl right guard T.J. Lang, who signed with the Lions in free agency, the 33-year-old, 12th-year veteran is likely just a one-year replacement. Pankey could be someone the Packers want to groom for the future.