No love for Stocco

PackerReport.com is pleased to welcome veteran Packers beat writer Dylan Tomlinson as a contributing columnist. Tomlinson has covered the Packers in recent years for the Appleton Post-Crescent. He will add his insight on the Packers each Monday, beginning with his thoughts on ex-UW quarterback John Stocco, who received a tryout with the Packers this past weekend.

John Stocco deserved better.

After leading the University of Wisconsin to a 29-7 record during three seasons as a starter, Stocco deserved to hear his name called sometime on the second day of the NFL draft.

Sure, he can't run. Sure, no one is going to mistake his arm with Brett Favre's.

No one is suggesting that Stocco is going to be a superstar, but in a league where former Badgers quarterbacks like Brooks Bollinger and Jim Sorgi are able to linger around on NFL rosters, one would think Stocco would get at least a chance.

If it weren't for the Green Bay Packers, he might not have gotten one.

Stocco's phone started ringing around the fifth round of the draft, which is right about where many analysts expected him to be taken. The St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals called, but neither team pulled the trigger.

While it was somewhat surprising that Stocco wasn't drafted, the real surprise came in the days that followed when no NFL team offered him a free agent contract.

"It may have been the toughest weekend of my life," Stocco said. "It definitely didn't go the way I thought it would."

Eventually, the Packers invited Stocco in for a three-day tryout. Stocco was grateful for the chance, but the writing was on the wall for Stocco from almost the moment he set foot in Lambeau Field.

It certainly wasn't a good sign that Stocco was assigned to share a locker with UW-La Crosse's Joe Werner, another tryout player in the team's auxiliary locker room. It also wasn't a good sign that the No. 10 jersey he was assigned was also given to another player. It also doesn't bode well for his chances that the Packers already have four quarterbacks on their roster with Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Ingle Martin and Jerry Babb, a rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday he was pleased with what he saw from Stocco, but admitted that it wasn't exactly likely that the Packers will enter training camp with five quarterbacks on the roster. In fact, the best thing Stocco has going for him is that Favre and Rodgers are expected to be limited at the Packers mini-camp and McCarthy might be looking for an extra arm.

"I can see why he was successful in college," McCarthy said, adding, "I wouldn't rule anything out."

McCarthy said the coaching staff would decide in the next day or two if they will keep Stocco around. Even if Stocco lasts though the next mini-camp, it would be absurd for McCarthy to bring five quarterbacks to training camp. It's hard enough to find snaps for Rodgers and Martin during the preseason and last year's No. 4 training camp quarterback Brian Wrobel, a La Crosse native, barely touched the ball during the preseason.

Stocco almost certainly had envisioned a less arduous road to the NFL, one where he was drafted to be the No. 3 quarterback and had a chance to compete to be a backup. Now, he may have a hard time even getting a training camp invite.

"It wouldn't surprise me if he gets a shot somewhere in the National Football League." McCarthy said.

That chance may eventually come, but it won't likely be with the Packers. Anyone who watched Stocco play in college and saw his gritty play and winning attitude can't help but think that he deserved better.

Dylan Tomlinson will be contributing columns each Monday on PackerReport.com. E-mail him at dylan1226@gmail.com.

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