GREEN BAY – Mike McCarthy didn’t walk away from the second rookie orientation practice on Saturday feeling overly surprised by anything.
That was a good thing.
“The biggest thing that comes out of this weekend when you have a draft class is, are they what you think they are?” McCarthy said after Saturday’s workout. “I think that’s definitely been answered.
“They’re bright, they communicate very well. Most are from big schools, so it’s not too big for them. So far, so good.”
The draft class and undrafted rookies will now join the veterans for offseason workouts on Monday, which is the start of the fourth week for the rest of the team. Two weeks after that will come the start of OTAs.
Two of the Packers’ draft picks, first-rounder Kenny Clark and sixth-rounder Kyle Murphy, will have to miss time due to the school calendars for UCLA and Stanford, respectively. Third-round pick Blake Martinez has already graduated from Stanford, so he will not have to return to school.
McCarthy said those players forced to depart will have what they need to stay as prepared off the field as possible before their return later this spring.
Whether any new names will be added to the mix will be known over the next day or two. More than two dozen tryout players were trying to earn rookie free-agent contracts this weekend, and decisions will be forthcoming.
“It gives you one more opportunity to evaluate, and particularly evaluate in a live environment,” McCarthy said of the approach to the tryout players. “It’s always been very important for us to do as much as we can in this rookie orientation to make sure we give everybody a chance.”
Saturday’s practice was not open to the media, but McCarthy said it was much sharper than Friday’s, which is par for the course in this introductory phase. As with Friday, there were no 11-on-11, offense vs. defense team periods, but the videotape has what it needs for evaluations.
“Today’s practice was significantly improved,” McCarthy said. “The quarterbacks threw the ball better, had some timing. I look forward to watching it on tape.”
Fans can now look forward to seeing the rookie class for themselves at the first OTA open to the public on Tuesday, May 24, at Ray Nitschke Field (weather permitting).
“I’m excited they’re all here,” McCarthy said. “I like all the guys. They’re bright-eyed. I thought they picked it up well. You could see as a group everybody made a jump today.”