On the Bubble – Devante Mays (5-10, 230), Joe Kerridge (6-0, 245), Kalif Phillips (5-9, 218), Williams Stanback (6-0, 231)
Barring major injury, four roster spots are pretty secure in the Packers backfield going into training camp.
The remaining five backs on the 90-man roster will likely fight for one roster spot this summer. One or two may even end up on the practice squad if they show enough promise during the preseason.
Mays has as good a chance as any to make the final roster. The Packers thought high enough of him to select him in the seventh round and prevent him from hitting the undrafted free agent market.
The 23-year-old from Utah State only started two games in 2016. He rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener, but then suffered a serious knee injury in Week 2 against USC.
The injury hindered Mays for a few more weeks, keeping him out of the lineup, before the coaching staff decided to shut him down for the season.
In 2015 Mays rushed for 966 yards and nine touchdowns in a part-time role as a junior. Despite the injury, he’s still a 230-pound back with breakaway speed (4.47) and impressive lower body explosion. He recorded a 129-inch broad jump at Utah State’s pro day.
Stanback is another big 230-pound halfback with a limited college resume. After spending three seasons with Central Florida in a backup role, the 23-year-old transferred to Virginia Union and led the Panthers in rushing (1,299 yds) and scoring (18 TDs).
The Packers brought Stanback in as an undrafted free agent, but he’ll have a steep hill to climb to get ahead of the three drafted rookies on the roster.
Phillips is in a similar predicament. As an UDFA it’s difficult make an impression, especially with four other rookies at the position to share carries with during the preseason.
The former Charlotte University star will have to impress coaches in practice to get more opportunities in the exhibition games.
Charlotte is a program that hasn’t been around very long, but they’re already producing some NFL-caliber talent. Phillips’teammate, Larry Ogunjobi, was drafted by the Broncos in the third round this past spring, and now Phillips looks to join him to become one of the school’s few pro prospects.
As a four-year starter, Phillips averaged 5.5 yards per carry and amassed over 4,000 yards rushing and scored 43 touchdowns. Impressively, he also eclipsed 100 yards rushing in 15 games in college.
The North Carolina native could be a dark horse candidate to make the 53-man roster and crack the running back rotation.