Even during a pandemic, the Green Bay Packers found a way to stick to tradition.
The Packers were forced to make some adjustments to their traditional American Family Insurance DreamDrive bike ride during training camp this year due to COVID-19 restrictions, keeping players from riding alongside fans on their way to practice.
Still, the Packers worked out a way for several of their drafted rookies to partake in the special event on Saturday morning with first-round quarterback Jordan Love hopping aboard a small, pink bike and riding to practice alongside second-round running back A.J. Dillon and third-round tight end Josiah Deguara.
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 29, 2020
Others, including seventh-round safety Vernon Scott, were featured in a longer highlight video the Packers later shared on their YouTube account. The players all autographed their bikes following their ride with two of them set to be given away in a fan sweepstakes and another eight going to local charities as auction items.
The Packers’ complete 2020 rookie class also includes fifth-round linebacker Kamal Martin, sixth-round offensive linemen Simon Stepaniak, Jon Runyan and Jake Hanson and seventh-round outside linebacker Jonathan Garvin.
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Packers Rookie Go ‘Game-Like’ on Sunday
Saturday’s practice marked the 11th of the summer for the Packers with exactly one week remaining before NFL teams are required to cut their active rosters down to 53 players. While the Packers’ top three picks in the 2020 NFL draft are safe from the cutdown, each of them is expected to have an opportunity to show off their skills — for the first time in a Packers uniform — during Sunday’s scrimmage at Lambeau Field.
“It’s going to be our closest opportunity to a game-like experience,” LaFleur said during Saturday’s Zoom call with reporters. “Hopefully, we can get into some situational ball that happens naturally throughout the course of the game. … We’ll have some officials, that’ll be the first time we have officials here. I’m really excited to see how these guys respond to that situation, just to hear the call so they can go out there and play fast.”
While fans will be interested in hearing how Love, Dillon and Deguara perform during their “game-like” reps, the scrimmage will be most important for players who are competing for spots on the back end of the regular-season roster. Some of those will undoubtedly be rookies with nine UDFAs also still fighting for their first real shot in the NFL.
Some UDFAs Making Strong Roster Cases
The Packers could reach double digits in terms of rookies retained for their initial 2020 roster, as some undrafted candidates have been better than expected in training camp.
Cornerback Stanford Samuels will be a big name to watch during Sunday’s scrimmage after turning some heads with his speed and ball skills through the first 10 practices. An injury to roster hopeful Kabion Ento has already improved his chances of winning a backup corner spot, and an impressive live performance could help seal the deal.
Another undrafted rookie to watch for Sunday is former Utah State edge rusher Tipa Galea’i. According to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Galea’i has gotten “acquainted” with both Love and Aaron Rodgers during 11-on-11 drills while others have also noted some standouts moments. With little established behind Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Rashan Gary at the position, he could parlay a strong camp into an important depth spot.