Not every member of the Green Bay Packers will be at full strength when training-camp practices begin later this week.
The Packers placed second-year running back Patrick Taylor on the PUP list on Saturday, making him the third player on their roster to be given an injury designation ahead of Wednesday’s first camp practice.
Taylor, a 2020 undrafted rookie signing, spent his entire first season with the Packers on the non-football injury list as rehabbed a foot injury from his final collegiate season at Memphis. It remains unclear whether the same injury landed him on the PUP list, but a long-term recovery would likely make it difficult for him to make the active roster.
Taylor’s move to the PUP list comes after the Packers sent three other players to injury lists last week. Tight end Josiah Deguara, the team’s 2020 third-round pick, was also placed on the PUP list, while rookie linebacker Isaiah McDuffie was added to the non-football injury list. The Packers also moved linebacker Ray Wilborn to the reserve/COVID-19 list.
The latest Packers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Packers newsletter here!
Taylor’s Chances to Make Roster Get Slimmer
The Packers can’t be entirely sure what they have in Taylor. The 6-foot-2, 217-pound running back averaged 5.4 yards per carry during his four years at Memphis, delivering his best season in 2018 as a junior when he rushed for 1,122 yards and 16 touchdowns on 208 carries. The foot injury, however, has prevented Taylor from getting a chance to show whether his solid production in college can translate to the NFL level.
In his first year, the Packers had plenty of reason to be patient with Taylor. Their backfield was armed with Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams AJ Dillon and Tyler Ervin heading into the 2020 season, giving them the luxury of being able to stash Taylor on the NFI list and develop him behind the scenes during his recovery process. There was also the lingering fact that Jones, Williams and Ervin were each set to hit unrestricted free agency in 2021, which could have severely depleted their depth this year.
Patience will start to wear thin, though, if Taylor is unable to return to camp in a reasonable time frame.
While the Packers have a clear 1-2 punch in Jones and Dillon heading into the 2021 season, they will need at least one other rusher behind them on the depth chart to ensure the integrity of the group. Normally, Taylor would have a fair shot at winning a roster spot as RB3 or RB4, but the extent of his injury could allow his competition — Dexter Williams and rookie Kylin Hill — to leave him in the dust.
The Packers could also potentially add another running back to their roster for camp to make things even more challenging for Taylor. Even if Williams and Hill are worthy of making the active roster, the practice squad will still need filling. The Packers had six running backs going through last year’s camp, excluding Taylor, so adding another body to the room would make plenty of sense in terms of roster building.