Monday mailbag: Rookie camp wrapup

May, 19, 2014
May 19
8:00
AM ET
Each week, I ask for questions via Twitter with the hashtag #PackersMail and then answer the best ones. Here's the latest edition, which comes after the Green Bay Packers' rookie orientation camp over the weekend:

Demovsky: Having only gotten the chance to spend a couple of days around the rookies during last weekend's orientation camp, it's hard to gauge where the rookies are at in terms of their readiness to compete. But there were several who made a good first impression, especially from a personality standpoint. Sometimes, it's easier to get a read on a player's personality than his football ability during the rookie camp because the brand of football is so new to them. In that regard, it was hard not to be impressed by how second-round pick Davante Adams comes across. He was very much a look-you-in-the-eye kind of guy. So was sixth-round pick Demetri Goodson. Maybe that won't mean much when the pads go on, but I'll be especially interested in seeing how both of those guys progress just because they seemed outgoing and ready for what's ahead.

Demovsky: It's not the only way to measure what the team thinks of an undrafted rookie but you can tell a little bit about who the top ones are coming in based on the size of their signing bonuses. Last year, offensive lineman Lane Taylor got the largest signing bonus ($7,000) among the Packers' undrafted rookies and sure enough he made the team. This year, the top bonus was $5,000, and five players got that. Four of them -- Utah State's Jake Doughty, Toledo's Jayrone Elliott, Alabama's Adrian Hubbard and South Carolina State's Joe Thomas -- were linebackers. The other was Washington State guard John Fullington.

Demovsky: It's hard enough for late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents to make a 53-man roster, so imagine how much more difficult it is for a guy who comes into the NFL with only the promise of a two-day tryout? That said, Colt Lyerla's situation is not the norm. From a pure talent level, he probably would have been at least a mid-round pick if not higher. But his highly-publicized off-the-field issues scared everyone away. If Lyerla even makes it to training camp and if he can stay out of trouble, he's got a chance. How good? It still has to be considered a long shot.

Demovsky: The easy answer is we'll see in Week 1 at Seattle. And at this point, that may be the only answer that we're able to give because there are too many ifs at this point. If Ha Ha Clinton-Dix becomes the play-making safety the secondary needs, if Julius Peppers adds a spark to the pass rush, if second-year defensive end Datone Jones makes a big jump … You get the idea. The Packers need those ifs to turn into certainties in order for anyone to even begin to think they have closed that gap.

Demovsky: I wouldn't count on that, especially if they are as committed to their special teams as they say they are. Plus, Jarrett Bush probably had his best season on defense in 2013. He does have the third-highest salary-cap number ($2.033 million) among the Packers' cornerbacks this season, but that's not prohibitive from keeping him for another year.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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