Being selected in the seventh round of the NFL Draft usually doesn't come with too many expectations. When you happen to be the 251st player taken off the board and the fifth-to-last pick like Scott Wells was, many people think that you are a long shot to make the team.
If you thought that, you'd be wrong.
The 6-2, 300-pound Wells is anything but a long shot. He may have been drafted late, but if people doubt him he doesn't seem to mind one bit. In fact, Wells, the only offensive player taken by the team in the 2004 draft, looks forward to proving that the Green Bay Packers made a wise decision in selecting him.
Wells' resume speaks for itself and shows what kind of player he was in college and what kind of athlete he has been for a long time. Wells was the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the nation as a prep at Brentwood Academy (Tenn.). Then at the University of Tennessee, he went on to start 49 straight games, the third-longest starting streak of any college offensive lineman in college football history.
Besides being durable, Wells' versatility will go a long way in helping him make the roster.
Wells, started at center throughout his college career, but the Packers drafted him with hopes that he could add much needed depth across the offensive line. They plan on working him in at both guard spots and, as is the case with most rookies, Wells will have to contribute on special teams as well.
Training camp can come and go quickly when you are trying to crack a roster spot. Wells plans on sticking around and will share his experiences in a Training Camp Diary, exclusive to Packers.com. In his first installment, Wells talks about his first full squad practice with the Packers, playing with new teammates, and his goals for the upcoming season.
Scott Wells: My first practice today was a little tough at first. I was just so excited, nervous and anxious. I think I got a little too excited at times and I got a little winded early on. I had to learn to relax and rely on the coaching they gave me in mini-camps. I just had to take care of my assignments and work on technique. I knew the coaches had high expectations and I just wanted to do everything right.
Today, I snapped the ball to Brett Favre before practice. That was the first time I've gotten to do that and it was an honor. I exchanged snaps with Peyton Manning back home one summer so now I have two great quarterbacks I can say I snapped with in my life. I tried to relax and snap the ball correctly. The worst thing I could have done was break his finger.
The Packers are asking me to play guard. I haven't done that since I was a redshirt freshman in college and that was only during practice. It's a little bit of an adjustment to go back, but I played it all throughout high school. I've done it, but at this level it takes a little more concentration. I'm more comfortable playing on the inside at guard, but either way you still have to block the guy in front of you. I prefer to play whichever position that will keep me on the squad.
In addition to offensive drills, they have me working on the kick return unit, too. If I can get my short snaps down on field goals, that would also benefit me in my attempt to grab a roster spot. I'm not comfortable doing that yet, but I think I will be. The more positions I can play, the more likely I'll be able to stay.
I am trying to learn as much as I can from Mike Flanagan. He's not in the lineup right now and that gives me an opportunity to ask him questions. Grey Ruegamer has also done an excellent job of helping me out. Any time I mess up or feel that I haven't exactly done something right, I can pull both of them aside, as well as Mike Wahle. They are excellent sources of information and they are very easy to talk to. They're a very close-knit group and they look to help everyone out.
So far, I like the city of Green Bay. It's a great football town and it's very similar to Knoxville (Tenn.) where everyone is a football fan. Everybody here is a Green Bay Packers fan and it's great to have that type of support. The main difference is the pressure. If you mess up too many times you are going to get cut, whereas in college if you mess up you will only get benched. That's the biggest adjustment, handling that pressure. This is your livelihood now, it's a job. They expect you to do everything right, all the time. It just increases the intensity and the pressure.
James Campen, the assistant offensive line coach, has done a good job of pulling me aside. We're very similar in stature. He had a lot of the same critics when he played that I do now. People said he was too small when he played and people have said that about me. I just take it in stride and use that as motivation. He's talked to me a lot about it and how he used his lack of height to an advantage. People say that I am too short, but I view it as an advantage. It helps with pad leverage and if I can get to the defender's chest and he's got long arms, he's not going to be able to grab me.
I don't have much free time but when I do, I talk to my wife Julie, and study the playbook. It's tough being away from her, especially since I don't see my son, Jackson, either. He's at an age (eight months) where he is a lot more active and fun to play with. I miss them both. I've been through it before, but camp in college isn't as long as it is here.
We've been staying at St. Norbert College, which is a really nice campus. I was surprised at how comfortable it is there. The rooms are big and they stay cool. I room with BJ Sander. We have a lot in common because he's married, too. Even though he hasn't been married that long, we still have more in common than others.
Right now I am just trying to take advantage of every rep I get. Having Flanagan and Wahle out has presented me with an opportunity to get a lot more reps than I normally would. I'm in for a few plays at center and then they move me to guard. I'm trying to show them that I can learn on the fly if I need to. I'm just trying to focus on the installation of the plays for that day, build on those from day to day and take advantage of every chance I get to play.
I want to work into a backup spot somewhere and be there if they need me to play and hopefully work into a starting position down the road. My goal isn't to be active for some of the games, it's to be active for all of the games.