Obvious statement alert: the vast majority of the players currently on the Packers’ roster will be all but an afterthought less than a month from now. 37 men have to be cut by the time the Packers piece together their final roster, and not even all 53 of those jobs are safe as the season goes along.
For many players, this is as close to NFL stardom as they’ll ever get. Toiling away in July, far from the bright lights of Monday Night Football and light years from the big stage of the Super Bowl, most of the names on the roster will be barely a footnote in the history of the Green Bay Packers.
Alex Gillett is one of those names.
It’s important to remember that virtually everybody on roster right now was one of the two or three best players on their college team, and before that they were likely the best on their high school teams, perhaps even one of the best in their whole state at the high school level.
Alex Gillett was one of those players.
His senior year of high school, Gillett was named the Player of the Year by his local newspaper, the Sandusky Register, and for good reason. An option quarterback, Gillett posted a monster season, passing for 1,470 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushing for 1,689 yards and a whopping 29 touchdowns. Here’s just a glimpse of what he accomplished.
Gillett’s dual threat ways continued at Eastern Michigan. While never dominant and rarely even a standout, Gillett was a versatile threat, rushing for 1,138 yards and 7 touchdowns, catching 14 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, and completing 154 passes for 2,052 yards and 19 touchdowns.
Again, never dominant, not terribly spectacular, but impressively versatile. Take a look:
Despite all that versatility, though, Gillett is just a guy in Green Bay. Receivers that can throw passes are unique in college, but an afterthought in the NFL. Gillett suffers under the curse of being a good football player, but not one who is big or fast or strong.
Gillett is back for his second go-round in Packers camp. He is one of 11 wide receivers on the roster presently, and by all accounts he’d need a miracle to make the cut. Three roster spots are occupied by returning veterans (Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jarrett Boykin), three more are taken up by draft picks from this year (Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, Jeff Janis), another belongs to a draft pick from last year (Kevin Dorsey), two more are guys who spent time on the active roster last year (Myles White and Chris Harper), and the other belongs to a recently signed guy (Gerrard Sheppard) who is bigger and faster than Gillett.
And yet still he’s there. He’s practicing with the team, making money playing football, and getting some great life experiences. For all intents and purposes, he’s in the NFL.
He’s a lot closer than I’ll ever be.