GREEN BAY – With mounting injuries at cornerback, the Packers added third-year veteran Robert Rochell off Carolina's practice squad on Wednesday.
Rochell, 25, has recorded 19 career tackles, four passes defensed, and an interception in 28 NFL games with five starts.
Here are five things to know about the Packers' new cornerback:
- Rochell trains with Eric Stokes during the offseason.
The 6-foot, 193-pound cornerback was a fourth-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams from the same 2021 NFL Draft that saw the Packers select Stokes No. 29 overall.
The two got acquainted with one another during the pre-draft process and have continued to train together at the same facility in Atlanta each offseason they've been in the NFL.
"I know him pretty well. We have a good relationship," Rochell said. "Coming into it, I lean on him to get some understanding. The guys since I've been here, they've been teaching me everything, talking to me, interacting with me, getting me up to speed. Just happy to be here."
The Packers brought Rochell in this week due to its recent shortage of healthy cornerbacks. Jaire Alexander has missed three of the last four games with a back issue, while Stokes was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with the hamstring injury that he sustained last Sunday in Denver.
- He won a Super Bowl ring as a rookie with LA.
Rochell started five of his 11 appearances as a rookie in LA, snagging his first career INT off quarterback Daniel Jones during a 38-11 win over the New York Giants on Oct. 17, 2021.
He finished his rookie season on injured reserve due to a chest injury but still won a Super Bowl ring. Rochell played just 26 defensive snaps in 2022 and was part of LA's final cuts earlier this summer.
Coincidentally, the Packers are set to host the Rams at Lambeau Field in two weeks.
"That's always fun, especially going against the guys that you grinded with," said Rochell of facing LA. "Going back to go against those guys and see all my old coaches and teammates is going to be great, just to compete against those guys on another team and a different type of atmosphere. It'll be fun."
- Rochell was a former FCS All-American at Central Arkansas.
His successful four-year college career saw Rochell tally 77 tackles (66 solo), 25 career pass breakups, 10 interceptions and two forced fumbles. Rochell earned first-team All-American after grabbing five INTs as a junior in 2019.
He then solidified his draft status after a strong pro day in which he ran a 4.39 time in the 40 with a 43-inch vertical and 11-foot-1 broad jump. Rochell has been lauded for his length, including 32 3/8 inch-arms and a 79-inch wingspan.
After leaving LA, Rochell spent three weeks with the Seattle Seahawks before signing to Carolina's practice squad. The move reunited him with Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and cornerbacks coach Jonathan Cooley, who both coached for the Rams when Rochell was drafted in 2021.
"Everything happened so fast but it's a part of the process of staying down and believing in yourself at the end of the day," Rochell said. "Just thankful to be here for the opportunity. Hopefully I'm able to step into a role to help the team win."
- Rochell has familiarity with Green Bay's defense and is a four-core player on special teams.
While their time didn't overlap in LA, Rochell and Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry both spent three years with the Rams.
In his brief time in Green Bay, Rochell already has noticed some similarities between the scheme Barry employs and what Evero runs. He believes that experience should hasten his transition.
"What's a little different is the verbiage on what they call things and how they run it," Rochell said. "For the most part, it's the same scheme and the same with how they run things structurally. The learning curve will be quick."
Rochell played on all LA's kickoff and punt units last year, registering four tackles and two fumble recoveries. His 325 special-teams snaps (73%) were the third most on Rams' roster.
"Whatever role they assign to me or whatever situation they need me to be in, I'll be ready to go," Rochell said. "From defense to special teams – even if they need me on offense – whatever it takes for us to get some wins."
- Rochell's first call was to his mom LaBrinta.
After starting his third NFL season on practice squads in Seattle and Carolina, Rochell said his mom has been feverishly waiting to watch her son play football again.
Depending on what happens, that could happen as soon as this Sunday at Lambeau Field.
"I told my mother first just because we've been going through the process of changing teams and my mother wants to watch me play on Sundays," Rochell said.
"It's been difficult because I played on Sundays with the Rams, and she missed a few of the games this season. I had to call her and tell her that we're in Green Bay."