Packers Claim Multi-Purpose Utility Player Off Waivers from Chiefs

Packers Claim JLovett

Getty Head coach Matt LaFleur (L) of the Green Bay Packers celebrates as he walks off the field after their 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 12, 2020 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The NFL has mandated each of its teams must limit its training camp rosters to just 80 players before engaging in full-squad practices on Aug. 16, but that isn’t keeping the Green Bay Packers from picking up useful talent in the meantime.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers claimed H-back/fullback John Lovett off the waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, bringing their current roster size to 85 after in the same day placing three other players on the COVID-19 reserve list.

Lovett, who played quarterback at Princeton and had a pre-draft meeting with the Packers in 2019, was renovated into more of a utility player during his rookie season with the Chiefs; though, he separated his shoulder in the team’s first preseason game and did not see the field for Super Bowl champions during his rookie season.

Prior to the NFL, Lovett was a star passer who helped commandeer the Tigers’ first perfect 10-0 season since 1984, leading the Ivy League in passing touchdowns (18) and helping Princeton finish as the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense.

Lovett is now one of three undrafted free agent fullbacks on the Packers’ roster alongside rookie Jordan Jones and third-year Elijah Wellman, who signed a futures contract with the Packers earlier this year after spending portions of the past two seasons with Washington. The Packers also have third-round pick Josiah Deguara, who is classified as a tight end but could have some utility in the backfield as an H-back.

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Fullbacks Haven’t Worked Out for Packers . . . Yet

The Packers have fielded at least one fullback on each of their past two regular-seasons, but the position hasn’t exactly been known for its success in Green Bay lately.

The most recent example is Danny Vitale, who played in 20 games over the past two seasons for the Packers but never produced more than the occasional play. While he did haul in seven passes for 97 receiving yards last season, he was trusted to carry the ball just one time during his stay with the Packers. Some of that was surely the result of Aaron Jones’ breakout season and Jamaal Williams stepping up as a reliable No. 2 option, but his forgettable numbers leave some mystery about how the team plans to deploy fullbacks in 2020.

Clearly, LaFleur is stocking up to attack from the backfield in ways unseen last season. Not only does he have the stability of returning all of his primary rushers from 2019 — including return specialist Tyler Ervin — but he also adds second-round power rusher AJ Dillon along with two new fullbacks, an H-back and a tight end/H-back combo package. The Packers won’t keep them all, but man … those pieces could fit into an interesting playbook.

“I love Josiah,” LaFleur said of the Packers’ third-round pick after April’s 2020 NFL draft. “He is extremely versatile. The thing that he brings to our offense is we can be in the same personnel grouping and we can line him up on the line of scrimmage or in a wing alignment or we can line him up in the backfield. So I just think that adds stress to a defense in terms of how are these guys going to line up and what is it exactly they’re going to do. When you watch Josiah, you just see such a gritty tough player.”

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