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Packers agree to terms with four draft choices

Four down, six to go.

The Packers agreed to terms on a contract with four of their rookies from the 2010 NFL Draft Thursday. Fifth round tight end D.J. Williams, sixth rounders offensive guard Caleb Schlauderaff and Ricky Elmore, and seventh round tight end Ryan Taylor all signed their first NFL contracts, which will be four-year deals, due to theNFL’s new collective bargaining agreement.

Full contract details were unavailable as of Thursday night.

Williams, whose contract involved a $198,000 signing bonus, was selected with the 141st overall pick and will join a deep and talented tight end group consisting of Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree. The recipient of the 2010 John Mackey Award, given to college football’s top tight end, Williams caught 54 passes for 627 yards and four touchdowns. Undersized at 6-feet, 2-inches, 245 pounds, Williams posted a 4.59 forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine and was labeled the top H-back in his draft class by ESPN’s Mel Kiper.

The newest addition to Aaron Rodgers’ arsenal was also rewarded with the 2010 Disney Spirit Award, given to college football’s most¬†inspirational¬†figure, after he, his mother and siblings moved from Texas to Arkansas to escape an abusive father. Williams fits the bill of “Packer people” and will be a threat down the middle of the field. He must add size and, as will be with all rookies, will need to work on his timing in the offense.

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July 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers save cap space, release Poppinga and Harrell

Rejoice, members of the anti-Justin Harrell fan club.

The defensive lineman’s era in Green Bay is finally over.

The Packers announced two roster moves Thursday afternoon, releasing veteran linebacker Brady Poppinga and the oft-injured defensive lineman Justin Harrell. The moves will save the Packers around $3 million in cap space, just one day after parting ways with inside linebacker Nick Barnett.

Harrell was plagued by injuries in each of his four years in Green Bay, limiting him to just 14 of a possible 64 games in which he totaled just 27 tackles. General manager Ted Thompson drafted the defensive tackle out of Tennessee in 2007, yet his stock had been dropping on many team’s draft boards due to a torn bicep muscle. Many questioned Thompson reaching on an injury-prone player who did not fill a need, but the defensive tackle showed signs of progress in the seven games he played in his rookie year.

That offseason the injuries began to rack up, as a back injury forced Harrell to the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, and he appeared in just one game before being sent to injured reserve. In 2009, another back injury forced him to miss the entire 2009 season, and after a promising preseason in 2010, the injury bug struck again as Harrell tore his ACL in Week 1 in Philadelphia.

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July 29, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment