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Packers found right time to pick quarterback

GREEN BAY, Wis. – For the Green Bay Packers, the fifth round was the perfect time to take a developmental quarterback.

For said quarterback, UCLA's Brett Hundley, it probably wasn't the best time or place – at least not if he expected to play anytime soon.

And Hundley's disappointment came through in his conference call with reporters at Lambeau Field shortly after he was picked at No. 147 overall on Sunday.

"It's a blessing in disguise," Hundley said. "And you know, I have a chip on my shoulder, and I'm coming in to work and that's what I've come down to. I've got my opportunity; that's the way I look at it. It's a blessing in disguise. I'm where I’m supposed to be, and I know when I get there I'm going to continue to work and do what I've always done."

Hundley didn't leave UCLA a year early to go in the fifth round or to a place where there's almost no chance to play unless something happens to two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, who is just 31 and under contract for five more seasons.

"I wanted to be the No. 1 pick," Hundley said. "Obviously that's always everybody's expectations. But I had a hope or at least an expectation to maybe go the first day. Obviously that didn't come true. Or the second day. But like I said, I’m here, I got my opportunity, and that's all I ask for."

It probably couldn't have worked out better for the Packers. They had been in talks with the Patriots during the fifth round and all it took to swap picks – New England's at 147 and Green Bay’s at 166 – was the Packers' seventh-round pick (No. 247 overall).

At UCLA, Hundley was a dual-threat quarterback. He rushed for more than 2,500 career yards and threw for nearly 10,000. As a junior in 2014, he threw 25 touchdowns and just five interceptions, which is a Rodgers-like ratio. At a shade over 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds with 10.5-inch hands (biggest among all quarterbacks at the combine), the Packers like his physical attributes.

"He's got rare athletic ability," Packers director of player personnel Eliot Wolf said. "He's a big guy. He's got big hands. Strong arm. He was pretty productive at a big-time place. And he's really smart. He was good at our interview at the combine. And he's all football."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy probably would have been excited with any quarterback in the draft, given that Thompson has given him just one before the seventh round in the previous eight drafts. But he rattled off a long list of things that excite him about Hundley.

"Athletic ability," McCarthy said. "When I look at players, the first things I look at are the things you can't teach. I think it's important. Let's not forget [that]. Everyone wants to talk about Xs and Os, specifics, training, techniques and the exactness of the game of football. But the reality of it is, it's a game where it's 11-on-11, things happen and the ability to play beyond the designed play, the 2.3 seconds that everything's designed to go a certain way, get into extended plays and things like that, Brett has a ton of that. He's a tough guy; that stands out. He's athletic."

The addition of Hundley made it a virtual lock the Packers will keep three quarterbacks again this season. It's unlikely Hundley will be ready for the No. 2 job, which at this point belongs to Scott Tolzien, but they also don't cut many fifth-round picks, either. The Packers also signed free agent Matt Blanchard earlier this offseason and have invited Alabama quarterback Blake Sims to their rookie camp next weekend, according to ESPN and media reports

"It's a healthy room," McCarthy said. "We've always talked about the quarterback room and importance of having the right kind of people in there. You can never have enough talent, and we just brought in a young guy that definitely will contribute to the room."