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Rookie orientation 'a very important two days' for newest Packers

Draft picks, undrafted free agents and tryout players getting first taste of NFL in Green Bay this weekend


GREEN BAY – There will be a lot going on when the Packers' 2018 rookie class takes the practice field inside the Don Hutson Center this weekend.

A group of Packers draft picks took their 2018 headshots at Lambeau Field. Photos by Ryan Hartwig,

Green Bay's 11 draft picks will be called upon to set an example, the undrafted rookies will be looking to make a strong first impression, and several tryout players will be vying to get noticed and earn a contract.

Rookie orientation and its format have become an annual tradition in Green Bay, and the emphasis is on the opportunity in front of all the players.

"You've got every young man sitting on the edge of their seat," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said shortly before the first practice Friday. "This is a great opportunity for these guys, and they realize it."

McCarthy noted that roughly 30 percent of the players on NFL rosters last season consisted of undrafted free agents, so that message is relayed. The Packers annually sign a tryout player (or two or three), and those players are aware of that as well.

"Every man that steps on that field today has an opportunity to be part of our 90-man roster," McCarthy said. "That's how we approach it. We coach them all the same. The draft picks will probably be first in line, we clearly understand that, but this is a very important two days."

The goal is to get an evaluation of the tryout players while giving all the rookies an introduction to the team's meeting structure, practice structure, and the expectations in each phase.

Any decisions made after the weekend will be geared toward building the most competitive 90-man roster possible for OTAs and training camp.

"There are going to be tryout players you'll look at and not know the difference," McCarthy said. "That's the norm. Everyone has a story, a different vehicle for why they're here. Every one of those men has earned the opportunity to be in that room, so it's important to take a close, hard look."

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