Justin Beaver Has a Chance

ToughJ.Riggins

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I thought I'd start a topic on Justin Beaver. Interesting that he is another guy who "supposedly" wasn't good or big enough for Div. IA, but he is now getting a legit shot at the NFL. I honestly think Beaver has a good chance of making the Packers practice squad and even an outside shot at a roster spot.

I wouldn't count Beaver out w/ the Packers lack of depth at RB. 2nd teamer Brandon Jackson stunk as a rookie and other than him the only backup tailback they have is Vernand Morency who has done very little in his 3 year career (drafted in the 3rd rd.; 2005), it might be more likely that the Packers cut one of their 3 FBs currently on the roster (all white). I think Justin Beaver has just as good a shot as Kregg Lumpkin if he can impress. Ted Thompson seems pretty fair to white skill players! Go Beaver! Here's an article on Justin Beaver's chances:
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WED., APR 30, 2008 - 8:11 PM
Packers: Mission improbable for Whitewater's Beaver
By JASON WILDE
608-252-6176
jwilde@madison.com
GREEN BAY  Justin Beaver has no idea what happened to it. It might still be in his parents' basement, for all he knows.

Or was sold at a rummage sale years ago. Perhaps it simply ended up in the trash.

But the former UW-Whitewater running back sure loves the symmetry between the headgear he'll be sporting this weekend and what he used to in his back yard.

"When I was 8, I had this mini plastic football helmet I used to wear. And it was a Packer helmet," Beaver said Wednesday afternoon as he prepared for his big NFL break  a tryout with the Green Bay Packers at their post-draft rookie orientation camp. "It's kind of hard to believe that come Friday, I'll be putting an actual one on."

Beaver is one of 15 to 20 undrafted free agents who'll participate in the camp on a tryout basis.

Unlike the dozen or so undrafted players whom the Packers signed after Sunday's seventh round ended, Beaver, who set the WIAC career rushing record with 6,584 yards, doesn't have a contract.

In a league where there are no guarantees, he's got even less than most. All he has is an opportunity. Which is all he ever wanted to begin with.

"This whole time, all I've asked for is one chance. I just want a shot," said Beaver, a former Palmyra-Eagle athlete who won last year's Gagliardi Trophy, the Division III equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. "Then, it's in my hands.

"I couldn't have worked any harder to get ready for this. I'm going to go up there and give everything I got and hopefully, they like what they see."

So far, they do.

The Packers first showed an interest in him during last season's final home game, when the Warhawks were recognized at Lambeau Field.

In a luxury box during the game against Detroit, Packers college scouting director John Dorsey approached Warhawks coach Lance Leipold with all kinds of questions about the kid who'd capped his college career with a 249-yard performance in Whitewater's Division III title game victory over Mount Union.

Then, general manager Ted Thompson got his first up-close look at Beaver in action on March 5, following the University of Wisconsin pro day at the McClain Center.

Several WIAC players were invited to work out there, and Beaver was terrific, running the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds, bench-pressing 225 pounds 25 times, leaping 32 inches in the vertical jump and scoring well in the various speed and agility drills.

Combined with what he did at Whitewater  Beaver finished his career as the second-leading rusher in Division III history  the workout solidified in Thompson's mind that Beaver was a bona fide prospect. (The Buffalo Bills and other teams also showed interest in him before the draft.)

"First of all, he's been phenomenally productive," said Thompson, who attended the workout along with scout Eliot Wolf, the son of retired GM Ron Wolf. "When Eliot and I got to see him work out after the Badgers, you could see it. He's so gung-ho, intense, competitive, strong.

"Obviously you have fewer upper-echelon athletes and competitors at a smaller school, but I don't think it'll affect this kid at all. He's all-go, all-the-time. In some respects, especially with offensive and defensive linemen, there's quite a difference between the players in Division I and Division III. We'll see how he fits in with our group and see where it goes."

Interestingly, Beaver's workout numbers are remarkably similar to that of No. 4 overall pick Darren McFadden (4.33 in the 40, 33-inch vertical, 13 times benching 225).

And while it's been suggested that Beaver's lack of height  he's 5-foot-7 and 191 pounds  eliminates him from ever playing in the NFL, Thompson said that's not necessarily true.

"With him, it's not so much size. He's not very tall, but he's big and thick and strong," Thompson said. "You know, Barry Sanders was 5-7. And (Jacksonville's) Maurice Jones-Drew is shorter than that, I think. But when filling in the boxes as you have the 'ideal' look for a running back, yeah, those guys are a little taller."

Said Leipold: "I don't know if he's going to make it or not  I understand that part of it  but I wouldn't bet against him, either, just based on his work ethic. The more people have told him he can't do something, the more he's worked hard to prove 'em wrong. He's responded every time."

The odds certainly aren't in Beaver's favor. Last year, for instance, of the eight undrafted rookies they had in for tryouts at the rookie camp, three were signed to contracts. Only one of the three  Alabama-Birmingham fullback Corey White, who spent all of last season on the practice squad  made it to training camp.

Former UW quarterback John Stocco was among those who never were heard from again.

"It's up to me at this point," Beaver said. "I go up there, and either I'm good enough or I'm not. That's why I've prepared so hard the last few months. It feels good to get a chance."

Since the Packers didn't draft a running back and none of their current backs participating in the rookies-only camp, Beaver should get ample opportunity to impress. So far, the Packers have signed only one undrafted running back, Georgia's Kregg Lumpkin.

And just to be clear: Although Beaver was working out with another local-boy-making-good, University of Wisconsin punter and Green Bay-area native Ken DeBauche, on Wednesday  as the two have been doing for awhile now  the Packers' interest in both players is more than just a public-relations stunt.

"We don't waste people's time  his or ours  with stuff like that," Thompson said. "We wanted to take a look at him. That's it. The fact that he's a Wisconsin guy is nice, but it has nothing to do with what we do.

"We just thought it was a great chance to bring him up here and see how he looks in a Packer uniform."

And helmet. For real this time.


Edited by: ToughJ.Riggins
 

ToughJ.Riggins

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Well, I just checked and the Packers have Deshawn Wynn (7th rd. pick from last yr. on the roster as a tailback). Wynn ran for a respectable 203 yards on 4.1 YPC for 4 TDs as a rookie. He actually overtook Brandon Jackson (who was playing horribly) for a while as a starter before the emergence of Ryan Grant. My guess is that the Packers will cut FB Corey White and RB Noah Herron. Their final roster will probably look like this:

RB: Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Deshawn Wynn, Vernand Morency

FB: Kory Hall, John Kuhn

Practice Squad: Justin Beaver (hopefully). Beaver has a small chance of beating out John Kuhn or Morency for a roster spot, but it is very unlikely.

We want Beaver, We want Beaver, We want Beaver; let's start a chant! BTW: That could also be chanted at a strip club!
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Gi-15

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We want Beaver!

Deshawn Wynn is my less favorite runner on the packers, and I hope he is cut. He plays like ron dayne, a big back who is a finesse player, and I hate those. Plus he's injury prone.
 

ToughJ.Riggins

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Well, according to a Footballsblackfuture.com poll Justin Beaver will make the final roster or Practice squad:

http://www.footballsfuture.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=229215

A few posters also talked about Beaver's incredible work ethic and his fantastic athletic measurements. They said he is a GB type of guy and they hope he beats out Wynn and Morency. One poster brought up how Beaver broke the Div. III single season rushing record and was a man amongst boys this year in the Div. III championship game racking up over 200 yards in helping Wisconsin W-W to victory!

We want Beaver!
 

backrow

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this guy is a horse, i think he bench pressed 220 25 times or so, wich is great considering he doesn't even weigh 200 pounds. great speed/power combo. go Justin!
 

Gi-15

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some stuff from rookie camp :

from the Journal Sentinel's Online blog

Mike McCarthy's comment

On RB Justin Beaver: "He's quick as a hiccup, as they explained, or as advertised. I thought he did a nice job. He plays with both excellent pace and tempo. He's got an excellent spirit just the little that I've seen. But that's something that actually as a staff we'll sit down Sunday and we'll have an opportunity to sit down and watch all the film and we'll make some adjustments there. With the 80-man roster and even going down to 53, we're going to have some good football players that we may not be able to bring back."

from the guy writing the blog :

Justin Beaver, as McCarthy said, was as "quick as a hiccup." He is very quick. He's just very small. Beaver reminded me of Chargers RB Darren Sproles -- and they're about the same size, although Beaver supposedly has 2 inches and 10 pounds on Sproles. Seems that Sproles might be a little thicker in the legs and faster overall, but I might be wrong. Beaver is definitely giving it everything he has, even on scout-team defense as a tackle. Found myself saying, "Ru-dy, Ru-dy," a couple of times. It's hard not to watching Beaver out there.

hate the Rudy comment, but glad Justin is looking good.
 

Gi-15

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more from the same source :

# McCarthy talked with the personnel department he expects to sign "about four" of the 19 tryout players, which would give the Packers 79 players on their roster heading into OTAs;
# McCarthy said he "would love" to seen Wisconsin-Whitewater RB Justin Beaver be one of those players "because he's been impressive." McCarthy said Beaver was one of the players he and the front office would discuss this evening.

looks good for Justin!
 

Gi-15

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more on beaver :

It sounds like coach Mike McCarthy is going to make a push to keep Justin Beaver, the diminutive running back from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, on the Green Bay Packers' roster.

McCarthy today said no final decisions have been made on the 19 players they had in this weekend for tryouts, but the team likely will sign four of them to the 80-man offseason roster.

The 5-foot-7 Beaver, who won the Division III equivalent of the Heisman Trophy, got plenty of work during the weekend rookie orientation camp and opened some eyes.

"I'll tell you what, he's been very impressive," McCarthy said. "He's done a very nice job. He plays with a lot of energy. He's very quick (and) explosive. Does he have a shot? That's something we'll discuss when we get upstairs, but I would love for him to have an opportunity because he's been very impressive."

The Packers didn't draft a running back and signed only one undrafted rookie back - Kregg Lumpkin of Georgia. They had only one other running back in for a tryout - Lance Ball of Maryland.

"I definitely believe in myself, and a big reason for that is we ran the same offense in college," Beaver said. "We ran the zone (rushing) offense in college, and I can use what I learned in college."

A decision on which players will be offered contracts could come in the next day or two.

"I spent some time with the personnel department just going through a number of guys," McCarthy said. "(Director of pro personnel) Reggie McKenzie is meeting with the tryout players right now. We'll make some decisions. We're looking to bring back approximately four of them."


It does sound good, but isn't McCarthy the guy who makes decisions out here? I know he doesn't hand out contracts, but he is in charge of football decision I guess. If he want him on the team for TC, why would there be a problem?
 

ToughJ.Riggins

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The more I read about this guy Beaver, the more I think he'll rise above the obstacles and may even make the 53 man roster. I see two outcomes for the Packer's final roster this season. Remember this is one of the "relatively" fair teams to white skill players, which will improve the white player's chances:

Best Outcome:
1st RB: Ryan Grant
2nd RB: Brandon Jackson
3rd RB: Vernand Morency
4th RB: Justin Beaver
1st FB: Kory Hall
2nd FB: John Kuhn (some goal-line carries)

WR:
1st WR: Greg Jennings
2nd WR: Donald Driver
3rd WR: Jordy Nelson (wins spot from camp and pre-season)
4th WR: James Jones
5th WR: Ruvell Martin
6th WR: Brett Swain

Tolerable Outcome:
1st RB: Ryan Grant
2nd RB: Brandon Jackson
3rd RB: Vernand Morency
4th RB: Deshawn Wynn
1st FB: Kory Hall
2nd FB: John Kuhn (some goal-line carries
Practice Squad: RB Justin Beaver

1st WR: Greg Jennings
2nd WR: Donald Driver
3rd WR: James Jones
4th WR: Jordy Nelson
5th WR: Ruvell Martin
6th WR: Koren Robinson
Practice Squad: WR Brett Swain

My take: Personally I think the final outcome will be somewhere in between the two since the Packers are a "relatively" fair team to white skill players. And if it is somewhere between the two, that will be a small victory for us here at this site! And BTW, I'd rather see Justin Beaver make the final 53 man roster than Brett Swain if we can only get one or the other.
 

Gi-15

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more from the same source :

If I were a betting man, I would expect the Packers to sign a cornerback, safety and possibly a linebacker in addition to Bledsoe. Wisconsin-Whitewater RB Justin Beaver wasn't in the team's plans as of Saturday night, but that may have changed.

doesn't look good, but hey, at least they signed another tryout guy, DT Fred Bledsoe, who has an outsanding TWO career start, but I hear he has unlimited upside and a room brightening smile

I guess they really needed that 8th defensive tackle...Edited by: Gi-15
 

Gi-15

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from the same source:

Green Bay - The Packers have informed the representatives of former Wisconsin-Whitewater running back Justin Beaver that they will not be signing him to a contract.

The Packers will sign three players. Former Arkansas defensive tackle Fred Bledsoe was told he would be one of those people, according to his agent.
 

bigunreal

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Wow- here we go again; slapped in the face with the cold reality of the Caste System. The coach raves about this player, who has all the "measurables" they use to promote blacks, yet somehow he isn't signed to a contract?

Look at how far we've lowered our expectations; wildly hoping that a fast and elusive white RB gets a free agent contract, to be invited to a training camp. Not that he gets to compete for carries. Not that he gets to be the primary backup. Not that he gets to be the latest "special teams demon." Not that he makes an active game roster. Not even that he makes the practice squad. And despite having the vocal support of the head coach, he doesn't even get invited to training camp.

This was a local kid. He was getting some press as a "human interest" story. McCarthy raved about him, and was going to speak to pro personnel director Reggie McKenzie about him. I guess Reggie showed McCarthy who the real boss is.

It's impossible to be optimistic when we hear tragic stories like this. My hat is off to every one of these white players, because I honestly don't know how they can motivate themselves to "compete" on such an uneven playing field.
 

backrow

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WTF. i hope he will get picked up by some other team, but most likely he's seen his last NFL practice...
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Capt. Larsen

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Gi-15 said:
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from the same source:

Green Bay - The Packers have informed the representatives of former Wisconsin-Whitewater running back Justin Beaver that they will not be signing him to a contract.

The Packers will sign three players. Former Arkansas defensive tackle Fred Bledsoe was told he would be one of those people, according to his agent.
What a joke! This will come back to bite them, and I hope Beaver can catch on with an NFC North squad, and stick it to 'em!
 

Thrashen

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Why on earth they signed another generic black DT (Bledsoe) is beyond me. I'm actually a little shocked by this, from how many good stories were coming out about Beaver.

All of their current RBs suck majorly, which is even more a reason to at least invite the guy to camp. Even Ryan Grant, the assumed starter, isnt anything special (their OL in awesome). As for Brandon Jackson and Morency, they shouldnt even be playing in the NFL.
 

celticdb15

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Im just reflecting on what a bummer it was to see him not make it. I know it might have been naive to think he would have a shot, but common fred bledsoe? Do the packers as an organization really think this punk will pan out?
 

ToughJ.Riggins

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So Justin Beaver is done in the league I guess?
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I hope if he doesn't get a chance on any other teams training camp roster he goes the CFL, Arena League or ALL American Football League route. This guy should have been good enough to make it as a backup in Green Bay with the way he was performing in Mini Camp. I am disappointed.
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