The Green Bay Packers took a swing on athleticism on May 16 by utilizing the NFL waiver wire to sign another piece along their offensive line.
Reporter Aaron Wilson broke the news via Twitter that the Packers picked up guard D.J. Scaife Jr. following his release by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins signed the rookie lineman out of the University of Miami as an undrafted free agent earlier this month.
Also on Twitter, Kent Lee Platte noted in April that Scaife’s relative athletic score (RAS) slots him in roughly the 75th percentile of ranked athletes at the guard position over the past 36 years. In other words, Scaife is more athletic than three out of every four such players, according to his 7.49 overall RAS figure.
Packers Ignored Offensive Line During 2023 NFL Draft
Although no team saw fit to draft Scaife and he didn’t merit an invitation to the NFL Combine in February, he had a productive collegiate career that bodes fairly well for his chances to make Green Bay’s 53-man roster.
Scaife played five seasons as a member of the Hurricanes, starting multiple games in all five of them at either right tackle or right guard. Standing at nearly 6-feet, 4-inches tall and weighing 321 pounds, he profiles as an offensive guard at the NFL level.
The Packers drafted 13 players in 2023, though none were offensive linemen. Scaife on Wednesday became the 15th lineman on Green Bay’s roster, per ESPN. He will have a shot to play his way onto the roster this summer against a handful of other backups that includes undrafted free agents Chuck Filiaga (offensive guard) and Kadeem Telfort (offensive tackle).
Packers Betting Big on David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins Next Season
For any undrafted free agent rookie to earn a Week 1 spot in the starting lineup is rare, though injuries sometimes facilitate such an elevation. Green Bay is banking that a couple players with recent injury histories will stay healthy enough to protect quarterback Jordan Love’s blindside during his inaugural campaign as the Packers’ starter.
David Bakhtiari was discussed as a potential salary cap casualty this offseason as he enters the third year of a four-year, $92 million deal. Instead, the Packers restructured the former All-Pro left tackle’s contract to lower his cap hit and retained him. Bakhtiari missed four games in 2020 and tore his ACL in December of that year. He missed 16 of 17 contests in 2021 due to complications from the ACL tear and played in only 11 games in 2022 due to a variety of injury concerns.
Green Bay also extended Pro-Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins for four years and $68 million this spring. Jenkins has earned two Pro Bowl nods in four professional seasons, but missed more than half of 2021 with a knee injury of his own.
The other three projected starters on the Packers’ offensive line are Josh Myers at center, Jon Runyan at right guard and Yosuah Nijman at right tackle.