Packers Work Out Ex-Jaguars RB After Kylin Hill’s Injury

Armstead Workout Packers

Getty Ryquell Armstead #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars participates in warmups prior to a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Green Bay Packers could be looking to add some depth at running back after placing rookie Kylin Hill on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

According to the NFL’s transaction wire for November 1, the Packers had former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead in for a workout on Monday along with four others hoping to earn consideration for their active or practice-squad rosters. The remaining tryout players included guard Nathan Gilliam, offensive tackle Jonathan Hubbard, center Michal Menet and defensive back Jayson Stanley.

The Packers also made a series of roster moves to start the week, including placing both Hill and starting tight end Robert Tonyan on injured reserve with season-ending ACL injuries. They also activated wide receiver Allen Lazard from the reserve/COVID-19 list, leaving one spot still available on their 53-man roster.

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COVID Derailed Armstead’s Second Season

Armstead — a fifth-round pick for the Jaguars in 2019 — is coming off an unfortunate year in which he was hospitalized twice due to complications with COVID-19 and robbed of an excellent opportunity in Jacksonville’s backfield. He had stood to potentially succeed Leonard Fournette as the Jaguars’ starting running back in 2020 after rushing 35 times for 108 yards and catching 14 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, but two separate stints on the COVID list kept him from joining the team at the beginning of the year.

By mid-October, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Armstead would not return for the Jaguars from the remainder of the season as he recovered from his various complications with the virus, which included “significant respiratory issues.” He remained with the team for a few months into the offseason, but he was cut loose in May following the first-round selection of Travis Etienne.

Armstead has also spent time with the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints, but both opportunities were fleeting with his most recent one as a member of the Saints’ practice squad ending on October 28 after just a week.

Still, Armstead could be a talent worth exploring for the Packers. They already have a primary rushing duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to handle a bulk of the reps and would most likely consider promoting Patrick Taylor from the practice squad before dubbing a newcomer their third-stringer, but a move with Taylor would leave room for another reserve running back to join their ranks.

The bigger problem the Packers are facing with Hill’s season-ending injury is replacing his contributions as their kickoff returner. Wide receiver Malik Taylor took over the role in Thursday night’s game after Hill was injured and might keep the gig moving forward, but it is possible they will explore adding another rusher who can compete on that front. Armstead, however, wouldn’t be a candidate in that department given that the last time he returned a kickoff in a live game was during his 2015 freshman season at Temple when he fielded exactly two.

Menet Has Visited With Packers Before

Another name on the workout list that is worth paying some attention to rookie center Michal Menet, who was a seventh-round pick for the Arizona Cardinals back on May 1. He actually visited with the Packers once already in late September as second-round rookie center Josh Myers was playing through a finger injury, but he came and went without getting a contract from the team.

With Myers now on injured reserve, the Packers could be entertaining the idea of adding more depth at the position. They do, however, already have two options to play center between stand-in starter Lucas Patrick and backup Jake Hanson, while do-it-all lineman Elgton Jenkins could also fill in if necessary — especially once David Bakhtiari returns to action and reclaims his starting left tackle job.

Menet was a three-year starter for Penn State who draft analyst Lance Zierlein projected could go as early as the fourth round in this past spring’s draft. Given the Packers heavily scouted the centers in the 2021 class following veteran Corey Linsley’s departure, it is possible he was already on their radar and could still hold some developmental value to them.

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