Packers 2017 Recap: G Justin McCray
Technically, Justin McCray has been a professional football player since 2014.
An undrafted free agent out of Central Florida, he spent a season on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad before joining up with the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League.
After a set of circumstances bordering on coincidence landed him a second shot at a pro day with Central Florida in early 2017, he signed the Packers in what could have been his last and longest shot at making the NFL.
He didn’t disappoint, and after an excellent season, he figures to be a significant part of the Packers’ offensive line plans going forward.
Appeared in 13 games with eight starts (595 snaps on offense, 35 on special teams)
Expectations going into the season: Low
Expectations were: Exceeded
Analysis: McCray makes the most of his NFL shot
McCray was billed as a tough, strong run blocker and definitely lived up to his press in that regard. He looked most comfortable this season when he could put his head down and push, opening up holes for the Packers’ rotating cast of running backs.
Pressed into duty at right tackle, McCray was rough at times but generally did what was asked, showing himself to be a capable swing lineman. He struggled against speed rushers at tackle but still played well against the run.
McCray was definitely more comfortable at guard, though, where he could use his bulk and strength to body up against players who didn’t have the advantage of working against him in space.
Ultimately what made McCray’s 2017 season a success was that he made it at all. Though every player invited to training camp theoretically has a shot at making the roster, McCray was certainly down to his likely last shot in the NFL. He made the most of it and helped the Packers shore up their offensive line when they needed it most.
The opportunity was not lost on McCray, who shared this reflection as the Packers closed out their season: