DeShawn Wynn is the type of young prospect that has to drive general managers like Ted Thompson nuts. Wynn has all the talent to be a starter in the NFL, but he’s injured so much that the Green Bay Packers have never been able to utilize those talents on a consistent basis.
Like last year at this time, Wynn will get one week of training camp practice and the preseason finale next Thursday against the Tennessee Titans to prove he belongs on the roster. He has missed most of training camp this year with an ankle injury and hasn’t been able to participate in any preseason games.
Last year, Wynn missed most of the preseason with a stomach virus and quadriceps injury. He returned to practice on Aug. 26 and played most of the preseason finale against Tennessee four days later, finishing with a team-high 54 yards on 21 carries.
“I did all I could do and as it turned out, I did make it, but it might not be the same case this year,” said Wynn this week. “All I can do is control what I can control and go as hard as I can the last preseason game.”
Wynn will have to have an outstanding game in order to make the team this year. Buried on the depth chart behind Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson, Noah Herron, Vernand Morency and Kregg Lumpkin, Wynn is a longshot at best to make the 53-man roster, despite the flashes of potential he showed in 2007.
Due to injuries, Wynn started Oct. 7 against Chicago and looked great, rushing four times for 59 yards and a touchdown, including a 44-yard burst. However, he was forced to leave with leg cramps before halftime and finished with a game-high 78 yards on 13 rushes.
Not long after the Chicago game, Wynn’s season ended in Denver on Oct. 29, when he went out in the second quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. He was placed on injured reserve a day later, though he said at the time he could have resumed playing during the season.
Wynn finished with 50 carries for 203 yards and four touchdowns in seven games with four starts in 2007. He also had nine catches for 73 yards. Though the seventh-round pick from the University of Florida appeared to be the steal of the draft at times last year, the reality with Wynn is he has no durability. Just when you think the 5-foot-10, 238-pounder is going to be the next Jerome Bettis, he’s not around for the next practice or game because he’s in the training room as much as Justin Harrell.
“You’ve got to be optimistic, even though it is disappointing,” Wynn said. “You can’t get too down on yourself. I’m a strong believer in what’s meant to be is meant to be. All I can do is go out there and give it my best when I am back.”
Credit Wynn for remaining positive in another one of his frustrating situations. It just seems, however, that Wynn falls short of the “football guy” kind of player that Thompson wants on the roster. Wynn’s inability to keep himself off the injury report is his biggest enemy.
Yet, because of his talent, the Packers are giving him one last chance to prove he is worthy. And he'll have to come through like never before.
“You can’t be in a position like mine where you’re trying to prove and compete for a spot on the team and be missing preseason games,” Wynn said. “Coaches really want to see what you can do in game action.”
They’ll take another look, but don’t count on Wynn sticking around on the team when the final roster cuts are made next week.
Todd Korth writes for PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.