Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Angelo Pease knew his role while playing at K-State. He was the back up to stud John Hubert. He was a big body capable of providing excellent backfield blocking against rushers. And he was instructed not to screw up. He did all three, rushing for 333 yards while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. His production, fundamentals, and potential didn’t land him on anyone’s draft board, but Pease was intriguing enough for Green Bay to pick up as a free agent, and he has apparently been turning heads in camp.
Green Bay’s running game was dreadful last year (when hasn’t it been over the past decade?), so the team brought in both Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin through the draft. While Lacy is the better known of the two as the Offensive MVP of the BCS Championship Game, Franklin left college as the all-time leading rusher in UCLA history. With last year’s talent returning and two new stallions in the stable, Pease faces a decidedly uphill battle to get signed with the Packers. That doesn’t mean he’s not giving it his best shot.
Pease made an immediate impression back in May during rookie orientation camp, with coach Mike McCarthy calling him out during the post-practice press conference that Friday. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"Running up the middle, Pease made a hard cut right into a developing hole and burst up the field for a big gain.“That’s a big time cut,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice. “Frankly, I thought it was Eddie Lacy, the way he dropped his weight and hit the hole. Those are things we’re looking for.”"
Granted, it was only one play at the time. But McCarthy discussed him again during the presser at the conclusion of rookie camp, commenting, “I’m going to do it to him again…I thought Pease of Kansas State had a very good weekend. I think he’s a good young back.” So as of May, Pease had a good first impression. Where does that leave him now? Well, he’s gotten at least a couple shout outs on Twitter since training camp for the entire team started, and all of the attention appears positive:
The NFL is becoming an increasingly versatile league, and the Green Bay Packers have been a league leader in plugging players and finding success. Pease is an incredibly versatile athlete, having played quarterback in high school before heading to Hutchinson Community College and playing quarterback (both traditional and out the of the wildcat formation), running back, kick returner, and spot duty as a wide receiver. At the end of the day, he was a true athlete. And this team has turned more undrafted running backs into contributors than any other team in the NFL (although injuries have admittedly been a part of that equation). A spot on the final roster may not be in the cards this year, but Pease looks like a surprise yet solid candidate to make the practice squad if nothing else this year.