QB Bryce Petty to visit Packers before draft

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers would like to get back into the business of developing quarterbacks, but even that can't fully explain why they are bringing in one of the top ones in this year's class for a pre-draft visit.

A source confirmed Thursday that the Packers will use one of their 30 allotted pre-draft visits on Baylor's Bryce Petty, who threw 61 touchdowns and only 10 touchdowns the past two seasons of his college career and could be the third quarterback taken in this year's draft.

It's too early to starting thinking about a replacement for Aaron Rodgers, who turned 31 in December and is at the top of his game. Rodgers is coming off his second NFL MVP in the last four years and is under contract through 2019. But the Packers have only one other quarterback on their roster, Scott Tolzien.

Tolzien, who spent all of last season as the Packers' No. 3 quarterback behind Rodgers and Matt Flynn, signed a one-year, $1.35 million contract last month. The Packers have not shown any interest in re-signing Flynn.

General manager Ted Thompson has drafted only one quarterback -- B.J. Coleman (seventh round) in 2012 -- in the past six drafts, and coach Mike McCarthy has said this offseason that he would like to develop a young quarterback.

Thompson said he hasn't purposely avoided taking quarterbacks in recent drafts.

"I think you weigh the cost of the draft pick, the investment that you have to make for that, and then try to figure out if that's the right guy to take at that particular spot, just like any other position," Thompson said at the NFL scouting combine this year.

Petty's visit, first reported by PackerReport.com, is an unusual move for the Packers on several fronts.

ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Petty third in this year's quarterback class behind only Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Both Winston and Mariota are expected to be high first-round picks, and either could potentially be the No. 1 pick in the draft. Petty could follow, perhaps in the late first round but more likely in the second or third rounds.

Plus, the Packers typically use their pre-draft visits on late-round picks or potential undrafted free agents.

However, when it comes to quarterbacks, McCarthy likes to get an up-close look, which he explained earlier this offseason at the scouting combine.

"I always felt the ability to work a quarterback out personally is extremely important at that position," McCarthy said. "You have to be able to stand next to the young man and certain throws and certain things, and ask him certain questions to see how he reacts and so forth. Just to really see where he's at. It's a long process."