General Manager Ted Thompson has talked about the the benefits of creating competition throughout the roster, and the Packers did that Sunday by adding Quinn Johnson of LSU to their fullback group.
Johnson, who was selected with the No. 145 overall pick, will be joining veterans John Kuhn and Korey Hall at the fullback position. Like Hall, who started four seasons at Boise State at linebacker before being converted to fullback with the Packers, Johnson came to LSU as a linebacker in 2005 before making the switch to fullback himself in 2006.
"Quinn Johnson is a player that the staff thought highly of, the scouting guys thought highly of as well," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "He's a good football player. He comes from a great program. He plays hard and he is a physical guy.
"We feel like we have gotten better at that position. We are going to have great competition. Three guys that are hungry, good football players and we'll see how it falls."
Johnson was regarded as one of the top linebackers in Louisiana at West St. John High in Edgard, La., earning Top 20 Blue-Chip honors from the New Orleans Time-Picayune. Along with defensive end Tyson Jackson, who was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 3 overall selection on Saturday, Johnson helped lead his team to the state Class 2A title in 2003. Johnson also saw time in high school as a fullback, rushing for 800 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.
Johnson was recruited by Nick Saban to LSU as a linebacker, but Johnson made the move to the offensive side of the ball as a sophomore under Les Miles.
"I just felt like I'm a football player, so moving from defense to offense was just something that came very easily to me because I also played both positions in high school," Johnson said. "As long as I am playing football, I'm happy."
The 6-foot-1, 250-pound Johnson started 10 games at fullback for the Tigers as a senior in '08, ranking second on the team with 11 touchdown-resulting blocks on the season.
"I just love the contact," Johnson said. "It doesn't matter who it is, if you get in front of me, I feel like that is my job so that is what I have to do, and I take my job very seriously."
Johnson had limited opportunities as a rusher and a receiver, carrying the ball just 14 times for 28 yards and three touchdowns along with two catches for 33 yards. Despite being used primarily as a blocker in college, the Packers felt Johnson has the versatility to contribute in other ways.
"I think the first thing that jumps off at you is just physicality," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "I can recall Ted coming back from his LSU visit during the season. He usually returns on a Thursday or Friday, and talking to him about the players he had seen that week, Quinn Johnson was somebody he was very excited about.
"He is our type of player. He is a hard-nosed fullback. We think he also has special-teams value, and also was able to run the football. We just felt particularly at that point in the draft that we couldn't pass him up."