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Packers throw QB Brett Hundley right in

5/8/2015

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It may be years before Brett Hundley gets the chance to do what he did Friday for the Green Bay Packers: He took all the starting quarterback reps in practice.

And it will be that way again Saturday.

But once rookie orientation camp ends and the veterans join in next week, Hundley's snaps will decrease significantly.

That's why even though he only received his playbook the day before, the nearly two-hour practice was key to the start of Hundley's indoctrination into the NFL. And if his initial performance was any indication, he might have a future in this league.

Sure, he bobbled an exchange with his center once and threw an interception that second-round pick Quinten Rollins returned for a touchdown, but the fifth-round draft pick from UCLA displayed some of the athleticism and arm strength that made the Packers trade up to take him at No. 147 overall last week.

"I thought he threw the ball well, particularly anticipation," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Friday's practice. "Any time you watch a quarterback come in Day 1 with all new receivers, new cadence, new center, particularly working on under center exclusively with a new center, I thought he had some throws that he threw on anticipation, that's always encouraging.

"But there's always a lot to learn, particularly at that position. I'm sure there will be some things when he goes through the quarterback profile practice that we have with all the quarterbacks next week, there will be something there that we'll continue to work on. But [he's an] excellent athlete. I'm glad he's here."

Can Hundley realistically compete with Scott Tolzien to be Aaron Rodgers' top backup?

That won't be known until training camp and perhaps the preseason games, but Hundley handled the rookie camp with relative ease. He didn't appear fazed that he took the majority of the snaps in practice. The only other quarterback in camp is Blake Sims of Alabama, who is in on a tryout basis.

"There was no, 'Hey, welcome.' It was all like, 'Let's jump into it and let's roll,'" Hundley said. "That's what you want, just to start playing football again. So it's been non-stop and I'm enjoying it."

The biggest adjustment for Hundley -- other than the Packers' massive playbook -- probably will be playing under center. In UCLA's spread offense, he operated from the shotgun or pistol. At times Friday, quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt would stop a drill to show Hundley the proper footwork on a drop back.

"That's probably a big change," Hundley said. "I didn't do that much in college. Schemes is just learning the terminology. They have a lot more detail in their playbook, but you can relate to things you did in college."

Hundley spent time before the draft with former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, who also was tutoring San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Asked if his game resembles Kaerpnick's, Hundley chose a different, yet perhaps equally mobile quarterback in the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson.

"Colin's a great quarterback, but at the same time I see myself more transitioning into a Russell than a Colin," Hundley said.

Damarious Randall, the Packers' first-round pick, can attest to that. The defensive back from Arizona State faced Hundley twice in college. In the 2013 meeting, Hundley completed 18-of-26 passes for 253 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Last season, Hundley completed 18-of-23 passes for 355 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. In the 2014 game, he also rushed eight times for 72 yards and a touchdown.

"I actually think he's a physical freak," Randall said. "I mean, I think he's a great, great athlete. He has tremendous arm strength."