Former SEC Pass Rusher Wins Packers’ Final Roster Spot

KJones Packers Signing

Getty Defensive end Kobe Jones #52 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs looks to sack quarterback Levi Lewis #1 of the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns during the fourth quarter at Mercedes Benz Superdome on August 31, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Green Bay Packers are signing one of the 18 players they hosted for a tryout during last weekend’s rookie minicamp.

On Monday, May 9, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst announced that former Mississippi State outside linebacker Kobe Jones had been signed to fill the final opening on the team’s 90-man offseason roster. Jones was an undrafted free agent in 2021 and has spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans.

The other 17 players that tried out for the Packers include cornerbacks Zafir Kelly and Andrew Whitaker, defensive lineman Sam Renner, fullback Sean Dykes, long snappers Jack Coco and Cameron Kaye, offensive guard Kyler Schott, outside linebacker Ryder Anderson, punter Will Spiers, quarterback Max Bortenschlager, safeties Kendall Karcz, Alex Spillum and Xavior Williams, tight end Carson Terrell, wide receivers Keke Chism, Anthony Turner and Ryan Wisniewski.

While none of the other tryout players joined the roster on Monday, there is still a chance the Packers could add one or more of them down the road. They would need to subtract someone from their 90-man roster to make another signing, though, after adding 11 draft picks and 14 undrafted free agents over the past two weeks.

Gutekunst also announced that seventh-round offensive tackle Rasheed Walker has officially signed his rookie deal on Monday, leaving just three draft picks — offensive lineman Zach Tom and wide receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs — unsigned.

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Will Kobe Jones Push for Roster Spot?

Jones was an aggressive, high-effort defensive end at Mississippi State who made his pursuits look easy for someone standing 6-foot-3 and weighing 255 pounds. He played in a total of 50 games over his four seasons with the Bulldogs and had a career-best year in 2019 when he recorded seven tackles for loss and four sacks in 13 appearances. Even still, he has his work cut out for him if he hopes to make the Packers’ initial roster for the 2022 season.

As an outside linebacker, Jones is competing for one of the rotational spots behind starters Preston Smith and Rashan Gary where the focus is more on what a player can offer on special teams than what they bring to the table as a defensive contributor. The Packers usually look to keep four or five outside linebackers for their in-season active roster and stash at least one more on their practice squad, so there is room for a job to be won, but Jones will also be competing with guys like Jonathan Garvin, Randy Ramsey and 2022 fifth-round pick Kingsley “J.J.” Enagbare.

The Packers also have Tipa Galeai and La’Darius Hamilton returning from last year’s practice squad and added undrafted rookie Chauncey Manac last week, giving them a total of nine edge rushers competing for a limited number of spots. Never say never, but Jones is going to have to show more impressive stuff than he did in his previous NFL stops to stick around in Green Bay.

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