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TE Finley's Athleticism Intrigues Packers


Tight end Jermichael Finley is young, having spent just three seasons at the University of Texas, including one as a redshirt.

But the athletic ability he displays for such a young player is intriguing to the Packers, who chose him in the third round of the NFL Draft on Sunday, the 91st overall selection.

"When you start watching guys, obviously you look for things you can't coach, and I think he has a few of those qualities," tight ends coach Ben McAdoo said. "He's someone who was intriguing the minute you turned the tape on."

McAdoo said he first watched film of Finley in the week leading up to the scouting combine in late February, and the Packers showed interest in Finley from that point on, according to several media reports.

Offered scholarships in both football and basketball at Arizona, Finley decided to go to Texas and concentrate on football with the goal of making it to the pros.

"He's a very smooth, gifted athlete," McAdoo said. "With his youth I think his best days are ahead of him and I think he can really develop into a good player in this league."

Finley, who has two young children, said his decision to enter the draft early was simply because he's ready for the next challenge in his life.

The biggest of those on the field will probably be his run blocking. At 6-foot-4 and just 243 pounds, Finley grades himself just a B-minus as a blocker. That's likely the area he'll have to focus on the most as he battles Tory Humphrey for the No. 2 tight end spot behind starter Donald Lee.

"I need to work on the run game," Finley admitted. "When I get there, I'm going to bust my butt to do what I need to do."

McAdoo feels Finley, who already bulked up significantly in college, can add more size to his 6-4 frame. But in the meantime he sees the right attitude when it comes to doing a tight end's dirty work.

"He's got some scrappiness to him and I like that about him," McAdoo said. "They don't get a bunch of time to work on developing skills like we do at this level, ... but I like what I see as far as willing to put his face in there and scrap with some pretty good defensive ends and linebackers in the Big 12."

Those defenders certainly had trouble staying with him in the passing game. In two seasons, Finley caught 76 passes for 947 yards and five TDs. His biggest game came last October against Oklahoma, when he caught two passes for longer than 50 yards and finished the game with four catches for 149 yards and a 22-yard TD.

Seeing those kinds of plays alleviated any concern about less-than-optimal 40-yard dash times at the combine (4.82) and his pro day (4.76).

"I saw him run at Indy and it surprised me he didn't run a better time because he plays a lot faster than that," McAdoo said. "The time didn't concern me. He ran better later on at his pro day, and I think his best days are ahead of him as far as his speed and his explosiveness. I think he's going to improve that as he goes, and you see that by how he plays the game, not necessarily how he runs a 40 per se."

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