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Packers wrap up rookie orientation

Five more things learned upon first impressions


GREEN BAY – The Packers wrapped up rookie orientation on Saturday with a second practice inside the Don Hutson Center.

The practice was not open to the media, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy addressed reporters to give his concluding thoughts.

Here are five more things we learned:

Vince Biegel's hand injury is, indeed, nothing to worry about.

As McCarthy suggested on Friday, the injury to Biegel's hand that forced him to leave practice was minor. Biegel practiced on Saturday with a precautionary club on his left hand.

"He's doing OK," McCarthy said.

The young QBs made an impression.

All the offensive snaps over the two practices were taken by BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, an undrafted signee, and Minnesota-Duluth QB Drew Bauer, invited for a tryout.

"They threw the ball really well, and they took a huge jump," McCarthy said. "It's as good or better than I can remember, two guys improving from Day 1 to Day 2, and actually the Day 1 video was really good."

Hill is a prospect who very well may have been drafted had he not dealt with various injuries during his college career.

"He belongs," McCarthy said. "That's really (what) you're watching these guys for the first time in live action."

It sounds like some tryout players will get signed …

… and not just because there are currently three roster spots available, but because they deserve a shot. The Packers have 82 players under contract and five unsigned draft picks at the moment. The maximum size for the offseason roster is 90. Green Bay brought in two dozen tryout players this weekend.

"I think our personnel department did an outstanding job," McCarthy said. "We've been having conversations all morning about a number of our tryout players.

"As Ted (Thompson) and I were talking, when you have 90 spots, you wish you had 95, and I'm sure when you're at 95, you wish you were at 100. We have some decisions to make. We've been very impressed with a number of young men."

The rookies get a breather now before joining the veterans.

The rookies will take next week off and jump into the offseason program with the veterans the following week. The week after that, OTAs begin.

The pace will pick up and the playbook will expand, exponentially, but the rookies' transition to the NFL is at least underway.

"It's important to take the time and lay that foundation and get these guys off to a good start," McCarthy said. "Because there's nothing worse than, you go and have a new job, a new opportunity, and you're worried about 10-12 things that have nothing to do with your ability to make the team.

"So, we try to eliminate as much of that stress as we can, and it started Thursday night."

Some undrafted players have already jumped out, but there's a long way to go.

McCarthy wouldn't name names, but there are definitely legitimate candidates to be the next Marwin Evans or Kentrell Brice and crack the season-opening roster amongst the undrafted crop.

"Absolutely. There's always at least a half-dozen or more of those," McCarthy said. "It really points to how hard it is to make it in this league. It takes a lot more than talent.

"You see what they're all about mentally. Can they handle it? Can they handle the stress of the grind and the competition? What these guys do for a living is not normal."

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