GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A look at what's happening around the Green Bay Packers:
A possible position switch: The Packers weren't just looking at Blake Sims as a quarterback. Sims, who was in Green Bay on a tryout basis, began his college career at Alabama as a running back before switching to quarterback after his freshman season, and the Packers put him through some non-quarterback drills after Saturday's rookie practice. "That's something that’s been thrown around," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "The evaluation process doesn't end today. But it's nice to have video. We did some post-practice work with guys we may want to look at different positions. We did a lot more open-space drill work and tried to put these guys in football drills to make sure the personnel department is getting everything they needed." The Packers have room on their 90-man roster to sign at least two tryout players.
No special treatment: You know those pictures you see with first-round draft picks holding up their new uniform before their introductory press conferences? That hasn't happened around here since 2009. The last time the Packers had such a photo opp was when they picked B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews in the first round of the 2009 draft. Since then, first-round picks are treated like everyone else. No press conferences. Nothing special. McCarthy joked that it has been so long since the Packers have done it that he can't remember the reason. This year's first-round pick, cornerback Damarious Randall, met with reporters in the locker room like the rest of his draft class did this weekend. "I think the expectations are high enough on these young men," McCarthy said. "The way we bring them in as a group, having a rookie orientation has served us well, and I think that's the way that you want young men to come into your facility -- coming in as a group."
Welcome to Phase 2: Now that rookie minicamp camp is over, it's time for McCarthy to bring his entire football team together for the first time. The rookies, who arrived last Thursday for their orientation camp, will meld with the veterans, who have been working out in Green Bay since the offseason program started April 20. "The rookies will be integrated into the program starting Monday," McCarthy said. "They'll be in Phase 2 with the rest of the football team." Phase 2 is the beginning of on-field workouts in position groups. No 11-on-11 drills can take place until Phase 3, which is the OTA and minicamp period. The next chance to see players on the field will be May 28, which is the first of three open OTA practices.
Not just for rookies: The rookie orientation camp wasn't just for rookies. Nine returning players took part, including linebacker Joe Thomas, who was injured (knee) last year in the preseason. He was waived with an injury settlement and then returned to the practice squad in November. With all the turnover at inside linebacker, Thomas could have a legitimate shot at a roster spot this season. "The opportunity's wide open," Thomas said. "There's a lot of guys here, but I'm going to continue to be me, continue to work hard and if my hard work elevates me to the starting spot, so be it." The other returning players to take part this weekend were: punter Cody Mandell, safety Jean Fanor, cornerback Tay Glover-Wright, cornerback/safety Kyle Sebetic, linebacker Josh Francis, outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard, tackle Jeremy Vujnovich and guard Josh Walker. All are considered first-year players because they don't have an accrued season of NFL service. Running back Rajion Neal was ineligible to participate because his injury settlement was longer than Thomas' and it gave him an accrued season toward his pension.
Contract updates: In addition to the deals we already reported on for fourth-round pick Jake Ryan and fifth-round pick Brett Hundley, we have more details on some rookie contracts. Fullback Aaron Ripkowski’s four-year deal is for $2,386,396 and included a $106,396 signing bonus. The other two sixth-round picks, defensive end Christian Ringo and tight end Kennard Backman, both received identical deals: four years and $2,370,484 with $90,484 signing bonus. They were both compensatory picks. The only three unsigned draft picks are Randall, second-round pick Quinten Rollins and third-rounder Ty Montgomery.
Way-too-early mock draft: The most interesting part of Todd McShay's way-too-early mock draft for 2016 wasn't who he had the Packers taking -- it was Nebraska defensive tackle Maliek Collins, by the way -- but rather where they were in the order. They were at No. 27, which would mean they would have come up short of the Super Bowl (and the NFC title game for that matter). The order was based on Football Outsiders' projected records, which had the Packers at 10-6 this season.
Local products: Only two players from the state of Wisconsin were picked in last week's draft. That's 37 fewer than Florida produced. However, both players -- cornerback Trae Waynes and running back Melvin Gordon -- were first-round picks. And both were from the same high school, Kenosha Bradford. Only one other high school in the country produced more first-round picks in this draft. It was St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which had first-round pick Phillip Dorsett, fifth-rounder Rashad Greene and seventh-rounder Bobby Hart.
Programming note: I'll be taking some down time this week, but that doesn't mean the information will come to a halt here. There were plenty of leftovers from rookie camp to fill the plate this week, and any breaking news will be handled by the rest of our ESPN NFL Nation team.