Ranking the Packers (Nos. 87-90): Leading Off with Fullbacks
GREEN BAY, Wis. – In a tradition that stretches more than a decade, here is our annual ranking of the 90 players on the Green Bay Packers’ roster. This isn’t merely a look at the best players. Rather, it’s a formula that combines talent, salary, importance of the position, depth at the position and, for young players, draft positioning. More than the ranking, we hope you learn a little something about every player on the roster.
No. 90: FB Elijah Wellman (6-1, 241, 1st year, West Virginia)
Wellman was West Virginia’s primary fullback for his final three seasons. For his career, he rushed 35 times for 137 yards (3.9 average) and caught 16 passes for 71 yards (4.4 average). Plus, he blocked for a pair of 1,000-yard rushers. He was a team captain as a senior. Wellman went undrafted in 2018 and spent parts of the 2018 and 2019 offseasons with Washington. Last year, he was released a week into training camp. The Packers signed him to a reserve/futures contract in January.
“I’m going to go in there, try to smack some heads around and show them what I’ve got,” Wellman said upon signing with Washington, though the quote resonates just as well today. “One reason that I think they liked me is because I’m a bit versatile. I’ve got to prove that to them that I can go out in the flat and catch the football and get upfield while also blocking linebackers — anything they need me to do so that I don’t have to come out of the game.”
Why he’s got a chance: He’s one of only two fullbacks on the roster. Signing a reserve/futures contract gave him a critical jump-start on learning the offense.
No. 89: FB Jordan Jones (6-1, 255, rookie, Prairie View A&M)
Jones played tight end at Prairie View, where he caught passes from rookie Packers quarterback Jalen Morton. As a senior, he caught 28 passes for 497 yards (17.8 average) and four touchdowns. He had a catch of 25-plus yards in seven out of 11 games, including a 27-yarder against Houston, the Panthers’ top opponent. He earned all-conference honors in 2017 at Grambling and 2019 in his one and only season at Prairie View.
“Jordan is an exceptional athlete with great size and the ability to play multiple positions," coach Eric Dooley said. "He's highly intelligent and already has his degree, which is a plus. Green Bay is going to find out that Jordan should have been drafted, but he will make the most of this opportunity.”
In a predraft interview with NFL Draft Diamonds, he said his most embarrassing moment was leaving his wallet at home on prom, meaning his date had to pay for everything that night.
Why he’s got a chance: He’s one of only two fullbacks on the roster. With 56 receptions in four seasons – plus experience at tight end and even running back – he’s got some intriguing versatility. The Packers gave him a $4,500 signing bonus.
No. 88: G Zack Johnson (6-6, 301, rookie, North Dakota State)
Johnson was second-team All-American at right tackle as a junior and first-team All-American at right guard as a senior. During his final three seasons, the Bison set school records for rushing and won FCS national championships. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed one sack and no additional quarterback hits in 340 pass-protecting snaps as a senior.
While the Bison aren’t an elite FBS powerhouse or football factory, the school has produced the Packers’ Billy Turner and the Chargers’ Joe Haeg on the offensive line in recent years.
“When I was younger, I always dreamed of playing in the NFL,” Johnson told HometownSource.com after signing with the Packers as an undrafted free agent. “In school, when they asked you what you want to be when you grow up, I was that kid that said playing NFL football or NHL hockey. I was good at it, so as I grew it became more of a possibility. When I got to college, that’s where the reality set in. The college coaches said, ‘You’ve got a pretty good shot here.’”
Why he’s got a shot: The Packers drafted three offensive linemen in the sixth round, which is why he doesn’t rank higher on this list, but they thought enough of him to give him a $7,000 signing bonus. With experience at guard and tackle, he’s got the versatility that’s critical for a backup lineman.
No. 87: S Henry Black (6-0, 204, rookie, Baylor)
Black goes by the nickname “Jackpot.”
“My parents gave me the nickname before I was even born,” he told Packer Central last month. “My mom hit the jackpot at the casino several times.”
Black hopes he’ll hit the jackpot with the Packers. An undrafted safety Baylor, Black was a part-time starter as a sophomore and junior before becoming a full-time starter as a senior. He recorded 62 tackles, one interception, four additional pass breakups and one forced fumble. Without a Scouting Combine invitation or a pro day due to the pandemic, Black had to stand on that 2019 resume.
“It wasn’t as stressful as I thought,” he said of his long wait on draft weekend. “I was just looking at it from a different standpoint of being blessed to even have an opportunity. I knew I probably wouldn’t be drafted, and if I did, it would probably be late rounds, so I already had my mind-set of being an undrafted free agent, coming in and getting ready to work.”
The Packers liked him enough to give him a $7,000 signing bonus and guarantee $25,000 of base salary. However, it's a deep position with starters Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage, returning players Will Redmond and Raven Greene, and seventh-round pick Vernon Scott.
Why he’s got a chance: He played some linebacker in Baylor’s 3-3-5 scheme, meaning he should fit what defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to do. Plus, Greene’s two seasons have ended on injured reserve.