Packers Host Former Ravens Starting RB for Roster Workout

Ty'Son Willams Packers

Getty Former Ravens running back Ty'Son Williams worked out for the Packers on Tuesday, September 27.

The Green Bay Packers appear to be interested in adding another running back to their practice squad after signing Patrick Taylor to the 53-man roster last week.

According to the NFL’s official transaction wire for September 27, the Packers hosted four running backs — including former Baltimore Ravens starter Ty’Son Williams — for roster workouts on Tuesday along with three other players at different positions.

Williams, who went undrafted in 2020, started the first three games of the 2021 season for the Ravens while J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justin Hill were injured, but he quickly fell out of favor in Baltimore and had lost his starting job to Latavius Murray by the start of October. After taking 27 carries for 164 yards and a touchdown in his first three outings, Williams was limited to just eight carries over the Ravens’ final 14 games and was buried behind Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman in the rotation.

Another familiar name on the workout list was Ryquell Armstead, who spent some time on the Packers’ practice squad last season after Kylin Hill tore his ACL in Week 8. He never received any elevation opportunities for the team, but he was eventually poached off their practice squad and signed to the active roster of the Jacksonville Jaguars — who had originally employed him for the start of his career. He has comparable production to Williams with 50 career carries for 188 yards and no scores.

The Packers currently have just one running back — undrafted rookie Tyler Goodson — on their practice squad after signing up Taylor to the active roster prior to their Week 3 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has played exclusively special teams in 2022 behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, but he posted 23 rushes for 89 yards and his first-career touchdown in his second season with the Packers last year.

How Close is Kylin Hill to Returning for Packers?

On the surface, it makes plenty of sense for the Packers to show interest in adding another running back to their practice squad. They have traditionally kept more than one rusher on their practice squad throughout Matt LaFleur’s tenure as head coach and the promotion of Taylor leaves them with an unproven rookie as their only backup option. Signing either Williams or Armstead could help mitigate the risk there.

That said, the Packers are also closing in on their first activation window for Hill — their 2021 seventh-round pick and kickoff returner — to come off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which makes it just a little odd that they are sizing up other rushers.

Hill tore his ACL on October 28, 2021, in the Packers’ victory over the Arizona Cardinals and was the lone player to land on their in-season PUP list once training camp ended. His placement on the reserve list meant he would have to miss at least the first four games of the 2022 season, but there won’t be an actual ticking clock on his return until they designate him for return to practice, at which point they will have 21 days to either activate him to their 53-man roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

Hill is just about to eclipse the 11-month mark on his injury and could be getting close to returning to the lineup, but the Packers have provided no updates on his status and may be more interested in taking things slow with him given they have a competent two-back rushing attack at the moment with Taylor available to chip in as needed.

Packers Also Worked Out Young Kick Returner

Most of the other names on the Packers’ workout list for Tuesday were rookie players, such as running back Max Borghi or former Virginia wide receiver Ra’Shaun Henry, but there was also a young kick returner among the group that could signal the Packers are looking into alternatives for second-year wideout Amari Rodgers at the spot.

Corey Ballentine, a cornerback and 2019 sixth-round pick for the New York Giants, has logged 35 kickoff returns over his first three NFL seasons with an average of 24.4 yards per return. He has yet to return one to the house for a touchdown, but he has broken away for multiple returns of more than 50 yards. By comparison, Rodgers has averaged 18.2 yards per kickoff return over his 13 returns with the Packers and has never broken the 30-yard threshold on a single return.

Ballentine could also give the Packers an option to shore up the depth of their cornerback room should All-Pro Jaire Alexander need to miss time with the groin injury he sustained in Week 3’s win over Tampa Bay. While Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes and Keisean Nixon would receive a bulk of the defensive reps, it could justify giving another roster spot to a cornerback, even if the majority of his value comes from special teams.

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