Jayrone Elliott registers his fourth sack of the preseason against the Oakland Raiders. Jim Oxley photograph

Jayrone Elliott: Can't wait to watch him Thursday

May 10, 2014, might not have been a big day for most Green Bay Packers fans, but for Jayrone Elliott, it was the day that gave him a shot at professional football.

You see, that was the day when Jayrone signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Green Bay Packers.

Between May 10 and Aug. 16 when the Green Bay Packers played the St. Louis Rams, Jayrone toiled away quietly with the Packers through the first couple of weeks of training camp.

When everyone’s attention was focused on Aaron Rodgers, the safeties, the offensive line, the wide receivers and the tight ends, Jayrone worked his way through camp pretty much unnoticed.

When everyone’s attention was focused on Aaron Rodgers, the safeties, the offensive line, the wide receivers and the tight ends, Jayrone worked his way through camp pretty much unnoticed.

That was until the fourth quarter of that preseason game against the Rams when he got onto the field for eight of the Packers 71 defensive plays.

He wasn’t about to waste his chance; he wasn’t about to be just a guy.

Yes, he was playing against the third stringers from St. Louis, but he didn’t play like a third-stringer. All he did was dominate. In four plays he registered three sacks. Those who had fallen asleep near the end of the game when the Packers had the game won, they may have been awakened by the noise Jayrone created on the field.

He was the talk of the town for the days following and then followed that performance up with another solid outing in his Lambeau Field debut last Friday night against the Oakland Raiders.

Awarded with 22 snaps out of the Packers 70 defensive plays, Jayrone didn’t disappoint as he came away with a quarterback sack, 2 quarterback hurries, 1 batted pass and one assisted tackle.

Jayrone Elliott. Jim Oxley photograph

Jayrone Elliott. Jim Oxley photograph

In other words, the guy has been a stud and deserves to get even more snaps when the Packers hit the field against the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night.

In fact, like so many other Packers fans, I can’t wait to see what this guy can do … clearly, his performances to date have helped him play a spot onto the Packers roster. No doubt, he’s been the surprise of the camp. Each year, there is always one or two undrafted free agents who step onto the field and come off of it as a star. Think Tramon Williams and Sam Shields.

Drafted out of Toledo from the Mid America Conference, the Cleveland, Ohio, native saw limited playing time and success as a freshman and sophomore.

However, as a junior he recorded six sacks and seven tackles for a loss.

But last year as a senior, he broke out. As the anchor of one of the nation’s best pass rushing teams when he racked up 70 tackles, 14 for loss, while pasting the quarterbacks for nine sacks and forcing five fumbles. He was named to the All-MAC first team.

But he still didn’t catch the attention of teams during the draft. For one thing, last year he played at 240 pounds, small in comparison to others at his position. He ran a 4.67 40-yard dash – not a time that turned many heads along the way and his 18 reps on the bench didn’t place him in the strong man category.

But we all know that the fastest and strongest don’t always make the best football players.

My impressions of Jayrone in the early going is that he is a football player – a player whose heart and desire is worn in full view on his sleeve.

Yes, we’ve only seen him for 30 snaps in preseason games, and we’ve got to see more, the coaches need to see more, the league needs to see more.

And frankly, I can’t wait to see more.

Come Thursday night, if you’re like me I’ll be watching with interest the quarterbacks; I’ll be watching the wide receivers and I’ll be watching the outside linebackers, especially Jayrone.

Stay tuned …

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