Packers Work out Ex-Nebraska Quarterback, Multiple Receivers

Tanner Lee Packers Workout

Getty Quarterback Tanner Lee #13 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers signals against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Memorial Stadium on November 24, 2017 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

On a day where the Green Bay Packers worked out five potential players, there was an interesting name among them: former Nebraska quarterback Tanner Lee.

Lee, who was a sixth-round pick for Jacksonville in 2018, has been looking for a new team since the Jaguars waived him in mid-August and got an opportunity Tuesday to audition for a place with the playoff-bound Packers along with four other offensive players, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. The Packers also worked out running back Alex Collins, fullback Ricky Ortiz and wide receivers Brian Burt and Emanual Hall.

Working out a quarterback isn’t in any way, shape or form the Packers suggesting something is wrong with Aaron Rodgers. Instead, it seems likely to be a probe for a possible practice-squad addition as Green Bay contemplates its long-term future at the position. The 36-year-old Rodgers has said in the past he wants to play until he is 40, which makes thinking ahead to a time without him a perfectly reasonable thing.

To be clear: The Packers will probably select Rodgers’ successor in an early round of some future NFL draft as they did back in 2005 when he was brought in to replace Brett Favre, but taking a closer at the young talent left lying around in the league couldn’t hurt if it means potentially finding a diamond in the rough. Or even just a better option at backup.

Tim Boyle has only been brought in for garbage-time reps in relief of Rodgers this season, not that a healthy starting quarterback is a bad thing. Meanwhile, rookie Manny Wilkins has been running with the practice squad ever since the preseason and hasn’t given any reported signs of going anywhere in the near future.

During his one and only season at Nebraska in 2017, Lee played inconsistently as the Cornhuskers won just four games. He finished with 3,143 passing yards along with 23 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, throwing multiple picks in five different games.

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Rookie Receivers Have Floated Around  in 2019

A pair of rookie wideouts also worked out Tuesday for the Packers after both spent time with other teams — albeit, no playing time — earlier this season. That’s certainly a point of intrigue with the Packers still exploring various options to work opposite Davante Adams.

Burt drew plenty of attention at Fresno State’s Pro Day last year when he was unofficially clocked at 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and he impressed the Oakland Raiders enough to earn a spot in their training camp roster. He ultimately didn’t make the final 53-man cut, but his previous comments suggest he hasn’t given up just yet on playing in the NFL.

“I’m a fighter and I’m a grinder,” Burt said via The Fresno Bee. “I’ve been like that my whole life. I made it this far. I’m blessed and humble and I’m going to keep working and I promise you I’ll be a problem in the NFL.”

It should also be mentioned that Burt worked out in the offseason with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who does annual workouts with Packers star wideout Davante Adams. There is always a possibility there is a slight, unknown connection between the two of them there, not that Adams gets a say in roster additions.

The other receiver, Hall, originally signed with the Chicago Bears after going undrafted and later spent some time on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad for the first few weeks of the season. In his pre-draft assessment, NFL analyst Lance Zierlein compared Hall with Mike Wallace and listed his combination of speed and size as one of his top assets, but he conceded he was a little rough around the edges as a route-runner.

Here’s what Zierlein wrote about Hall in a projection that saw him going in the fourth round:

“One-trick pony at Missouri with impressive turbo boost to rocket past cornerbacks and take the top off of defenses. Hall’s transition into the NFL could be slowed by the challenge of physical press corners with good top-end speed, but his athleticism and short-area quickness should allow him to counter as a three-level route-runner with more exposure to an NFL route tree. It could take time, but he has the size and speed to become a low-volume, high-impact WR2/WR3.”

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