The Green Bay Packers got around to beefing up just about every one of their weaker positions with 11 selections in the National Football League draft.

Safety was the glaring exception, and that's where Greendale's Ben Ericksen comes in.

A two-year starter at Illinois State, Ericksen and his agent fielded offers from about 10 teams Saturday night before making what for him was an easy decision.

"To be honest, it was probably the Ravens, the Packers or the Jaguars," Ericksen said. "But I was really focused on the Packers. I like being in my home state, you know?"

Ericksen, 6 feet ½ inch and 197 pounds, was well aware that the retirement of Charles Woodson created an opening on the Packers' safety depth chart that includes holdovers Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian and Sean Richardson.

Jennings, in 2011, and Richardson last summer traveled the undrafted free-agent route that Ericksen plans to navigate this year.

If Ericksen fails to forge a respectable career in pro football, he would be disappointed.

"I'd be surprised," he said. "Just because I put so much hard work into it, and that's my personality. I feel like I'm better than a lot of people. I'm always going to be like that.

"I always believed in myself when no one believed in me. I came from Greendale High School. I'm from Wisconsin. I was 155 pounds coming out of high school. I don't worry about getting cut."

Milwaukee area football fans will remember Ericksen as a unanimous all-state wide receiver for the Panthers in 2008. Despite his size, he averaged 20.1 yards per catch (66 receptions, 1,323 yards) and scored 20 touchdowns.

Before his senior season, Erickson said he ran the fastest 40 at the Wisconsin football camp. The Badgers came to Greendale but offered him preferred walk-on status, not a scholarship.

"It was kind of like a slap to the face," Ericksen said. "I love the state to death, and I just wish they would have believed in me. Because clearly, these coaches at this school believed in me and look where I'm at now.

"Just imagine if I would have had the meal plan they would have put me on. How much bigger I would have been. I have so much up side to me. A lot of potential left."

His only Division I offer came from Buffalo. He chose Illinois State over seven other Football Championship Subdivision teams and several Big Ten walk-on chances.

Ericksen caught 21 passes in his first two seasons before requesting a move to safety. Reluctantly, the Redbirds staff agreed but only if Ericksen could add 20 to 25 pounds.