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Packers address long snapper, edge rusher in final round

Defensive lineman James Looney brings NFL bloodline to Green Bay


GREEN BAY – The Packers' 2018 NFL Draft class is complete.

With three selections in the seventh round, Green Bay drafted defensive lineman James Looney (No. 232), long snapper Hunter Bradley (No. 239) and linebacker Kendall Donnerson (No. 248) on Saturday afternoon.

Bradley, who was the only long snapper to be drafted this year, took one of the most unique paths to the NFL of anyone in this year's draft class.

The son of a college long snapper, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Bradley walked on as a tight end at Mississippi State in 2012 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee before his senior year at Collierville (Tenn.) High School.

Within his first two years on campus, Bradley would again tear the ACL again in both knees and nearly gave up on football all together before a coach  suggested he give long snapper a try.

Bradley expected to start one year as a graduate senior, but wound up seeing action in final 39 games of his college career after Mississippi's starting snapper, Winston Chapman, tore his own ACL early in the 2015 season.

Bradley joins practice-squad holdover Zach Triner as the only long snappers currently on the Packers' offseason roster.

"It's a dream come true. I always dreamed this day would come," said Bradley, who earned a scholarship at Mississippi State in 2016. "Being a long snapper, it's not something that happens often. I'm just thankful and blessed to be one of those selected to be drafted by an organization like the Packers."

Donnerson, the final of the Packers' 11 selections, is expected to line up as an edge rusher in Green Bay after playing multiple positions during his time at Southeast Missouri State.

The 6-foot-2, 248-pound linebacker had 10 sacks during his final two seasons and clocked a 4.48-second time in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. Coupled with a 40-inch vertical, it was enough to make Donners the first Redhawk to be drafted into the NFL since the titans took center Eugene Amano in 2004.

"They see me as a pass rusher," said Donnerson, whose lone pre-draft visit came with the Packers. "I'm a speed guy but I need to learn how to use my hands more when it comes to tackles that have fast feet."

The Packers opened the seventh round with the selection of Looney, which marked the 22nd consecutive draft Green Bay has taken at least one defensive lineman.

A good athlete with NFL bloodlines, Looney clocked a 4.89 in the 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine with a 35 ½-inch vertical and 28 bench reps. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound defensive lineman had 130 tackles (20½ for a loss) and eight sacks in three years at Cal after transferring from Wake Forest in 2014, including 3½ sacks in each of his final two seasons.

Looney received a ton of advice during the pre-draft process from his older brother, Joe, an offensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys who was a fourth-round pick in 2012.

Although he doesn't have protocol size for the position, Looney hopes to follow the lead of other undersized defensive linemen, such as Aaron Donald and Mike Daniels, who have still thrived in the NFL.

"I think have pretty great quickness and a good body frame that transfer into the league," Looney said. "You look at guys like Aaron Donald, the new d-tackle type who are quick and fast and can come off the ball and get into the backfield. I think I can contribute in that aspect."

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