Josh Boyd, DE, Mississippi State
Fifth round (No. 167 overall)
Boyd has yet to do much to draw attention – other than get yelled at by Trgovac on a regular basis in practice. While he has good size – 6-foot-3, 310 pounds – he’s adjusting to a new system and with the resurgence of veteran Johnny Jolly after a three-year absence, Boyd may be ticketed for the practice squad.
“He’s got a lot of good ability. Just like any rookie that’s coming in from a different system, and transitioning into our system, he’s working,” Trgovac said. “He’ll see it faster the more reps he gets. But I think Josh is going to be a good football player. It’s just a matter of time and just you see it. In this defense, it takes a little bit longer. You see a lot of those Pittsburgh D-linemen, those guys are good players but it takes a little bit of time to pick this system up because it’s not just flying off the ball, getting off the ball and going to it. You have some different responsibilities.
“If it just came natural and easy to him, they wouldn’t need me to coach him. That’s my responsibility for him to be second nature in that regard, and I’m not going to back off him. I’m going to stay on him. I told him, you know, ‘You’re going to hate me for a couple months here, but someday you’re going to love me.’”
Nate Palmer, OLB, Illinois State
Sixth round (No. 193 overall)
Despite plenty of opportunity at a surprisingly thin position, Palmer looks like he’ll need more time under position coach extraordinaire Kevin Greene. So far in camp, it’s been undrafted rookie free agent Andy Mulumba and second-year man Dezman Moses, an undrafted rookie a year ago, running behind starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry. The practice squad seems likely.
“I think he’s growing, he’s progressing. Like all kids do in this position,” Greene said. “There’s so much to this position that you’ve really got to see and have reps in the cleats on the grass, and I think he is progressing naturally. He’s a smart kid, I quiz him every day, put defenses up on the board, I flash video at him, I tell him to call his own pressure, he’s the defensive coordinator, and he’s pretty much spot-on. He’s a smart kid. I think he’s tracking.”
Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State
Seventh round (No. 216 overall)
Johnson, out since the first week of training camp with a knee injury, finally returned to the practice field on Wednesday. But with undrafted rookie free agents Tyrone Walker of Illinois State and Myles White of Louisiana Tech both having had solid camps, it may be too little, too late for Johnson. He missed almost all of the OTAs with a knee injury, too, and there’s a good chance he won’t play in a game until the Aug. 29 preseason finale in Kansas City.
“(We need to) see him play, see if he’s able to go out and play fast, has a clear understanding of what’s asked of him,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “Charles is at a disadvantage. He doesn’t have the timing and the reps down with the quarterbacks as far as throwing him the ball. Really, for a young man to go out there in his first live action, you just want to see him play, play fast, play with confidence and try to do the best he can. He definitely has a lot of ability. That’s why we drafted him and hopefully he can go.”
Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland
Seventh round (No. 224 overall)
Like Johnson, Dorsey has barely played. He too missed almost all of OTAs (his injury was a hamstring) and then he reinjured it two days into training camp. While Dorsey got on the practice field last week, he wasn’t cleared for game action against the Rams and will make his debut against the Seahawks. Unless he sets the world on fire in the final two preseason games, the best he can hope for is the practice squad.
“I can tell you what we saw on tape from our study coming into the draft, I can tell you about some of the practices we saw those guys participate in, and I can tell you how those guys are in the classroom,” wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett said of both Dorsey and Johnson. “I think they have a good grasp of our offense, our concepts, what we do. But unfortunately, a big part of what we do is taking it from the classroom and going out on to the practice field and working our fundamentals to improve. And that’s the area that unfortunately due to injury they haven’t been able to take full advantage of. Will they get some opportunities in these next two preseason games? We’ll see.”
Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida
Seventh round (No. 232 overall)
Barrington incurred McCarthy’s wrath on the first day of pads when he put an unnecessary shot on an unsuspecting ballcarrier. But that’s been Barrington throughout camp: Tough, physical. He’s on the No. 1 kickoff return and punt return units, which is a sign that he could be ticketed for the 53-man roster even though he’s worked with the third-string defense behind starters A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones and primary backups Robert Francois and Jamari Lattimore.
“Sam’s been positive in camp. I think he’s taken the most of his opportunity,” inside linebackers coach Winston Moss said. “We’ve given him a lot of reps, he’s very diligent, he’s very professional, he’s all work, he doesn’t say a lot. So what’s shown up on the field has been effort. If he makes a mistake, he tends not to make that mistake again. It’s very cliché, you’ve heard that before, but he’s very diligent about correcting his mistakes. He plays hard, he has a little bit more speed than I anticipated, and he’s really working to get all his technique down, his pads low. I’m pleased every single day he goes out. he’s very serious, he doesn’t want to take a step back, and he always wants to move forward.”