Four Draft Picks To Reunite With College Teammates


During their playing days at Colorado, LB Brad Jones and K Mason Crosby.

It's not all that unusual for a new draft pick to walk into an NFL locker room and find an old teammate in his midst.

But on a fairly young team like the Packers, the odds are a little greater, and strangely enough this year no less than half of the 2009 draft picks - four of the eight - have former college teammates on Green Bay's current roster.

First-round pick B.J. Raji and 2006 draftee Will Blackmon played two years together, 2004 and 2005, at Boston College. Fifth-round pick Quinn Johnson was in the same LSU backfield as quarterback Matt Flynn during the Tigers' 2007 national championship season. Sixth-rounder Jarius Wynn played the 2007 season at Georgia with non-drafted free agent running back Kregg Lumpkin. And seventh-round pick Brad Jones played two seasons (2005-06) at Colorado with kicker Mason Crosby.

It's all coincidental, and the veteran players certainly aren't doing any lobbying to bring their former teammates here. But they do take some pride in, and get excited about, the pending arrival of guys they used to go to battle with.

"I talked to B.J. right when he got picked," Blackmon said. "I called him up and I told him, 'Let's go!' He said, 'I've been ready,' and I said, 'I've been trying to tell people around here you're real good,' and he's like, 'Well, I'm going to come and show what I can do.'

"He's definitely going to be worth the pick."

Despite being drafted three years ago, Blackmon played two seasons at BC with Raji because Raji was a freshman in 2004 before losing a year of eligibility in 2007. As a junior in 2004, Blackmon was playing cornerback and remembers seeing the new defensive tackle in the middle go to work.

"He played as a freshman, so he actually got in there early, being he was a big guy and really, really strong," Blackmon said. "He gave us that presence in the middle to stop the run. We did a good job that year, and you saw it carry through the rest of his career. We were ranked nationally in defense against the run."

Blackmon sees him blending in well in his new surroundings too, including with the other defensive linemen, some of whom are known for their loud locker room antics.

"He's a character," Blackmon said. "He has a sense of humor. He'll fit right in here. He talks, he has fun, he jokes around, he works hard. Personality-wise he'll fit perfectly in this locker room."

The same was said for the other draftees as well.

"He's a hard worker and has a motor all the time," Lumpkin said of Wynn, who came to Georgia from Georgia Military College. Because they played on opposite sides of the ball, Lumpkin sometimes had to carry the ball in Wynn's direction in practice, a task that wasn't easy.

"He has great quickness off the line, he's powerful, and he has great instincts," said Lumpkin, who added he hasn't talked to Wynn since the draft but plans to see him during rookie orientation this weekend. "I think he's a total package, just an all-around great athlete."

That's the word on Johnson and Jones too. During LSU's national title run, Flynn actually never handed the ball off to Johnson and only threw him three passes, but the bruising fullback started four games and was a special-teams regular in 2007 before becoming the full-time drive-blocker that keyed the Tigers' ground game last season.

{sportsad300}Jones was a reserve and then starting outside linebacker at Colorado for Crosby's final two seasons there and now comes to Green Bay as a three-year starter with a ton of experience. Crosby thinks that makes him a potential sleeper for a final-round selection.

"I think for being in the seventh round, we possibly got a really good pick there," Crosby said. "I know he works hard, he works hard in the weight room. He's a very strong, fast guy. I think he has a lot of versatility as far as playing that outside position. He can get down and rush the passer. I really think for our new defensive scheme he's going to be a good fit."

Crosby said he didn't actually speak to Jones when he was drafted but he got his number from a mutual friend and sent him a congratulatory text message, with an offer of help if he needs anything when he arrives this weekend. Crosby said he'll probably invite him over for dinner during rookie orientation, and he looks forward to having an old teammate around.

"A Colorado guy -- you can't go wrong with those kind of guys," Crosby said with an obvious smile. "It's kind of nice. We haven't had another Colorado guy since I've been here, so it's going to be good."

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