Packers Add Young RB to Active Roster, Sign Blake Bortles

Taylor'Bortles Moves

Getty Patrick Taylor #27 of the Green Bay Packers runs with the ball against the New York Jets in the second half of a preseason game at Lambeau Field on August 21, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The Green Bay Packers are ready to see what Patrick Taylor can do.

On Thursday, November 4, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst signed the second-year running back from their practice squad to the active roster, making Taylor the new third man in the rushing rotation after the team lost rookie Kylin Hill to a season-ending ACL injury. He also announced that veteran quarterback Blake Bortles had been officially signed to the practice squad.

Taylor signed with the Packers as an undrafted rookie in 2020 after rushing for nearly 2,900 yards and 36 touchdowns over four seasons at Memphis, but he spent the majority of his first year on the non-football injury list recovering from a foot injury he sustained during his senior season with the Tigers. While he competed for a roster spot with Hill and former sixth-round pick Dexter Williams during training camp, he ultimately missed the cut and was stashed on the practice squad for later use.

Now, with Hill no longer in the picture, Taylor will get his shot at making an impression as the third-string running back behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. The only other experience he has at the NFL level came during the 2021 preseason when he rushed for 89 yards and caught another two passes for 22 yards over three games and 27 snaps.

As for Bortles, the move has been expected since ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported he was traveling to Green Bay with the hopes of signing on Wednesday, November 3. The Packers will most likely promote him to the active roster for Week 9’s road game against the Kansas City Chiefs to serve as the backup for Jordan Love, who will make his first career start on Sunday with Aaron Rodgers on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

How Big of Role Will Taylor Play?

Taylor’s being signed to the Packers’ active roster isn’t particularly surprising given that they had to do something to improve their depth in the backfield. While they technically had a second option on their practice squad after adding former Jacksonville Jaguars backup Ryquell Armstead one day earlier, Taylor has spent more than a year learning their offensive system and is overdue for an opportunity to prove his worth.

At this point, though, it isn’t clear how much of a role Taylor might play for the Packers offense. Hill had only taken 26 total offensive snaps prior to his injury against the Cardinals and was better known for his role as their primary kickoff returner, a job that would seem to now belong to wide receiver Malik Taylor. That’s not to say the Packers won’t find another special-teams role for him or let him compete with Taylor, but his reps will be limited if he is pigeon-holed into only being their third-string rusher.

Davante Adams Removed From COVID-19 List

Bortles and Taylor were the only two roster additions the Packers made official, but more good news on Thursday suggests another one isn’t too far away.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Davante Adams returned to practice from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, bringing him one step closer to rejoining the Packers’ active roster. He was originally placed on the reserve list last Monday, October 25, and was forced to miss the team’s road game with the Arizona Cardinals in Week 8, but the hope remains he will be activated in time to play against the Chiefs this week.

“We’re hopeful,” LaFleur said of Adams’ potential return. “There’s a protocol he has to work through. Provided he’s able to do that, he’ll play.”

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