The Packers’ roster is filled with stars, but there are just as many little-known backups whose dreams are a lot bigger than their current roles. I’ll be focusing on those players in this new weekly feature.
How did he get to Green Bay? Ryan Taylor was picked by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL draft. His selection was a bit of a surprise considering that he played linebacker for his first three years at North Carolina. A productive senior season at tight end (36 receptions and 2 TDs) and a surprisingly good 40 time (4.65) obviously caught the attention of general manager Ted Thompson and his scouts.
What has he done in Green Bay? Taylor showed enough in his first training camp with the Packers to earn praise from Aaron Rodgers, but his work at tight end hasn’t been as appreciated by the coaches. He received 30 snaps on offense in 2011 and that number only increased to 138 last season – even though Andrew Quarless didn’t play a down and neither Tom Crabtree nor D.J. Williams distinguished themselves.
What can we expect in 2013? If Jermichael Finley stays and Quarless is healthy, Taylor will have his work cut out just trying to make the final 53. Crabtree and Williams are still around (I think Taylor is a better player than both, but the people that matter don’t seem to agree), and Thompson will probably bolster the position in the draft. What will keep Taylor in the mix is his outstanding work on special teams.
“The thought definitely crossed my mind (of not getting draft). I was out playing golf with my dad and about seven of my friends and as I watched the draft go by, it definitely started crossing my mind and I can’t tell you how excited I am just to get the opportunity to play on a team like the Green Bay Packers. That’s one of the best opportunities I’ve ever had.” [Green Bay Press-Gazette]