The importance of undrafted free agents to Packers over past five years

Keisean Nixon, Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers
Keisean Nixon, Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Shortly after the NFL draft this past weekend, the Green Bay Packers inked a 12-man class of undrafted free agents (UDFAs) to the team. They signed six offensive and six defensive players. On the offensive side of the ball, the Pack signed a pair of wide receivers, a tight end and a fullback.

UDFAs have been an important element of the Packers team. Consider this: Over the past five seasons, nine different UDFAs scored a TD for the Packers. In fact, of the 217 TDs scored by the team from 2018-2022, 48 were scored by UDFAs, just under 20% of the team's touchdowns in that period.

Two UDFAs who played for the team last year but are no longer on the team carried the brunt of those scores: Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan.

Lazard, now with the Jets, who apparently have a new quarterback, had 20 of those TDs over the past five years, while Tonyan, who recently signed with the division-rival Chicago Bears, had 17 of those 46 touchdowns.

The other seven Green Bay UDFAs who scored TDs from 2018-22 were Geronimo Allison, Jake Kumerow, Dominique Dafney, Keisean Nixon, Chandon Sullivan, Malik Taylor and Patrick Taylor.

Last season, the Packers' UDFAs scored nine TDs, six by Lazard, two by Tonyan and one by Nixon. Those nine TDs scored by UDFAs tied for the fourth-most in the league last year.

Most touchdowns scored by undrafted free agents in 2022

Here are the total number of TDs by UDFAs by each team in 2022:

  • 23: L.A. Chargers
  • 20: New Orleans
  • 16: Miami
  • 9: Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota
  • 8: Indianapolis, New England, Tennessee
  • 7: Atlanta, Jacksonville
  • 5: Arizona, Carolina, Cincinnati, San Francisco
  • 4: Baltimore, Dallas, Denver
  • 3: N.Y. Giants
  • 2: Buffalo, Chicago, Kansas City, Las Vegas, N.Y. Jets, Seattle
  • 1: Houston, L.A. Rams, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington
  • 0: Cleveland, Tampa Bay

Eighteen of the 23 TDs scored by UDFAs for the L.A. Chargers were scored by Austin Ekeler. He led all UDFAs with the most touchdowns last season.

He was followed by Taysom Hill, New Orleans (9), Juwan Johnson, New Orleans (7), and Lazard, Jakobi Meyers, New England, Adam Thielen, Minnesota, and Jeff Wilson, Miami and San Francisco, each with six.

So, the big question for the Packers… will there be any of the recently-signed UDFAs who will contribute in 2023?  

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