Ranking the Packers' roster from 1-53

From Lambeau to Lombardi, Starr to Favre and now Aaron Rodgers, we’re talking Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers football. This Packers Forum is the place to talk NFL football and everything Packers. So, pull up a keyboard, make yourself at home and let’s talk some Packers football.

Moderators: salmar80, NCF, JustJeff, packfntk, APB, BF004, mnkcarp

Ranking the Packers' roster from 1-53

Postby JKB » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:21 am

Ranking the Packers' roster from 1-53

Posted: Sept. 11, 2009





writer covering the Green Bay Packers, provides his annual analysis of the 53-man roster.

The rankings were decided on the basis of each player's value to the 2009 team. Sometimes a player was downgraded because he plays a position with so much depth that his absence wouldn't be significant. Others were upgraded because of the importance of their positions as well as the shortage of depth behind them.

1. AARON RODGERS, QB
Excelled in the four exhibition games as well as on a daily basis. Prepared himself mentally and physically in the off-season to become one of the NFL's top-flight quarterbacks. Competes hard in practice, a la Brett Favre, but his exhibition passer rating of 147.9 was 54 points higher than Favre ever posted. Threw the deep ball with remarkable touch and accuracy. Growing with the mantle of leadership.

2. CHARLES WOODSON, CB
Pittsburgh CB Rod Woodson was NFL defensive player of the year in his second season (1993) under coordinator Dom Capers in Pittsburgh. Now look for Charles to contend for the award, if not win it. He is the Packers' best blitzing defensive back since LeRoy Butler. Add half a dozen sacks, a handful of strips and tons of physical tackles to his typical six-interception season and Woodson might need to clear space next to his Heisman Trophy.

3. RYAN GRANT, RB
Spent the summer of 2007 in the Giants' camp and the summer of 2008 unsigned, then injured. A physical specimen, Grant is 26 years old and at the peak of his powers for a running back. No, he isn't a complete back. His receiving skills are substandard and his elusiveness is no better than average. But Grant also is intelligent for the position and highly motivated. This is his third season running basically two zone plays. His production should be high if he can avoid injury.

4. CHAD CLIFTON, T
Slips back to No. 4 after ranking No. 2 in 2008, No. 3 in '07, No. 4 in '06 and No. 2 in '05. Arthroscopic surgery on both knees and both shoulders last winter seemed to work wonders. Coming off possibly his poorest season and did have some alarmingly rough patches as a pass blocker in camp, but he never missed a day due to injury. Even at 33, he's in position to earn another contract after his deal expires in February.

5. CULLEN JENKINS, DE
Dom Capers can't manufacture all the necessary pressure. In sub packages, Jenkins has the quickness to beat better offensive linemen. Should benefit from his decision not to burn himself out in August. Expected to be a much different player now. The unanswered question is whether he can hold the point playing in the 3-4 for the first time.

6. NICK COLLINS, S
Steelers S Troy Polamalu makes a play or two every week because he sees a different game than everyone else. There is only one Polamalu, but Collins has shown flashes of that rare anticipation. Maturing year by year. Not even the death of his father or his disappointment over not yet receiving a contract extension stopped him from having a very solid summer.

7. AARON KAMPMAN, OLB
Nobody can say with any degree of certainty if the dramatic change from playing every snap with his hand down compared to playing every snap standing up will help or hurt him. Turns 30 in November; will be playing for a new contract from the Packers or someone else. One of the NFL's most purposeful players has to prove he can set the edge, rush from a two-point stance and function in space.

8. GREG JENNINGS, WR
One of the game's most electrifying threats down the field. Possesses an uncanny ability to locate the long ball and take it away from defenders. His performance in camp was muted, but so what? On the small side when judged against other premier wideouts but has the guts to play inside. Won't make the Pro Bowl unless he becomes a more consistent catcher and finishes a season.

9. JASON SPITZ, C
Really starting to come into his own as a player and leader. Almost impossible to beat in protection all summer and the extra 10 to 15 pounds has made him a more formidable drive blocker. Looks like a natural at center. With Matt Birk having departed Minnesota for Baltimore, Spitz will challenge Chicago's Olin Kreutz as the leading pivot in the NFC North.

10. AL HARRIS, CB
The consensus among scouts for years has been that the bump-and-running Harris would be a fish out of water in zone. Maybe it will turn out that way. But, for the last month at least, he fit just fine playing backed off and turned toward the quarterback. Harris just keeps defying the odds.

11. JERMICHAEL FINLEY, TE
What a sight to behold as he was striding majestically through the secondary all summer long. With continued growth, he could be a match-up nightmare for safeties, let alone linebackers. Finley posts up defenders like the outstanding basketball forward that he was, catches the ball easily and has exciting speed. His blocking isn't a weakness anymore, either.

12. B.J. RAJI, DE-NT
The Packers need another D-lineman to rush with Jenkins in sub packages and Raji is the next best candidate. Looked like a bull in a china shop after signing two weeks late, messed up some assignments and relied too much on head-down power surges. Playing outside in base is brand new for him. The Packers need him to be good immediately.

13. DONALD DRIVER, WR
Nothing not to like. Still can run fast, still never seems to tire, still will go anywhere to catch a ball and still does his best work from the slot. Needs six more seasons to satisfy his goal of playing to age 40. Don't count him out.

14. DARYN COLLEDGE, G
Should benefit from having played nothing but LG since March. Not a great athlete but more than agile enough. Won't ever be super strong but makes gains in the weight room each year. Now much thicker through the shoulders and neck. For now, he's an adequate starter. If Clifton goes down, Colledge might have to move outside.

15. TRAMON WILLIAMS, CB
Probably will play at least 60% of the snaps as the LC in sub packages. The Packers view him as their third starting CB. Gave up way too many big plays a year ago but seemed to make a seamless adjustment to the zone scheme. Showed some pass-rush skill as No. 2 slot behind Woodson.

16. NICK BARNETT, ILB
Just 9 1/2 months removed from reconstructive knee surgery and playing the 3-4 for first time in his career. Elevated his game in 2007, slipped some in '08 and then got hurt. Even without the knee, Barnett would have to demonstrate he's up for protecting the A gaps with more big people in his face. Now his speed to the sideline and athleticism in coverage will be tested.

17. ALLEN BARBRE, T
Small-town Missourian trying to carve out a niche in the big time. Won the RT job fair and square over Breno Giacomini based largely on superior athletic ability. Tries to finish run blocks as well as anybody on the line. Tends to go off half-cocked, agitates opponents and gets in too many fistfights. Too easily distracted. Yet to demonstrate that the game isn't too big for him.

18. JOHNNY JOLLY, DE
The legal clouds hanging over Jolly in Houston didn't stop him from having a surprisingly effective camp. Pursues well and hustles for a 330-pounder. Capable of winning one-on-one matchups as a rusher. It remains to be seen if he can hold the B gap against double-teams in a system that demands stoutness more than penetration.

19. RYAN PICKETT, NT
Fell from No. 4 at this time a year ago only because B.J. Raji has natural nose tackle written all over him. Like many of his teammates, Pickett is playing for a new contract. Loves to compete, seems to be in OK shape and understands the sacrificial nature of his assignment. Enters ninth season, a stage when durability becomes a question.

20. MATT FLYNN, QB
Displayed a stronger and more accurate arm in his second training camp before a right shoulder injury short-circuited his development. Still learning to do things by the book. Probably at his best when plays break down. Although his toughness and self-confidence might be understated, the offensive linemen respond well to his style of leadership.

21. JOSH SITTON, G
Improved in his second camp and won the job at RG. Reminds Packers somewhat of Marco Rivera, a sixth-round pick in 1996 who started from 1998-2004 and made the Pro Bowl three times. Sitton has the size (322 pounds) to maul but has the feet to pass block, too.

22. CLAY MATTHEWS, OLB
Appeared ready to start on the right side when his hamstring issues reappeared. His pace of development will go a long way in determining the health of the pass rush. He can run and chase, he can stack blockers and he looked more than comfortable in coverage. But with merely 10 career starts at USC it's hard to say just how advanced he is.

23. ATARI BIGBY, S
Didn't make a big play or big hit all summer. Coming back from major ankle surgery in December and hasn't been the same dynamic player that he was down the stretch in 2007. Cut by three different teams, Bigby knows how the game is played. He vows to turn it on come opening night.

24. BRANDON CHILLAR, ILB
Reported in tip-top condition and had a great first two weeks of camp. Easily the best cover linebacker in camp and backs became stressed trying to handle him on blitzes. The expectation was that his shortcomings at the point would be even more noticeable in the 3-4. So far, that hasn't been the case. Excellent unrestricted free-agent signing.

25. MASON CROSBY, K
Made adjustments during the off-season trying to hit the ball more squarely and ended up missing more kicks in camp than he should have. If nothing else, Crosby is supremely confident, and his talent level is more than adequate. Now he needs to sharpen his marksmanship and improve on his directional kickoffs, including onside kicks. His exhibition kickoffs were exceptional, averaging 70.1 yards and 4.08 seconds of hang time.

26. JAMES JONES, WR
When practice began Aug. 1, Jones found himself at the crossroads of his career. His rookie season was a hit until a late fade; his second season was a miss due partially to a knee injury. Jones came to play this summer, overtook Jordy Nelson to claim the No. 3 job and appears to have a bright future.

27. A.J. HAWK, ILB
College scouts who haven't studied Hawk as a pro find it hard to believe that he's just another linebacker. But Hawk basically has been just that since being drafted fifth in 2006, and the same was true this summer in his first taste of the 3-4. It would be hard to ask more of Hawk in terms of effort, commitment and knowledge of the defense. But he doesn't play fast, seems almost too assignment conscious and almost never makes a big play or destructive hit.

28. BRADY POPPINGA, OLB
Poppinga's star took off when Kevin Greene became his position coach. Like Greene, Poppinga marches to the beat of his own drummer. Greene demands physical play at the position, and physical is what Poppinga does best. Poppinga has athletic and pass-rush limitations. But he is stubborn at the point and his energy inspires teammates.

29. WILL BLACKMON, CB
As the NFL's ninth-ranked punt returner in 2008, he was the Packers' best since Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard in 1996. Blackmon packs a punch at 210 pounds, changes directions almost on a dime and has above-average speed. He contributes far more on returns than on defense, where his struggles at the ball were evident again this summer.

30. DONALD LEE, TE
The overriding concern about Lee when he entered the NFL with Miami in 2003 was his ability to assimilate an NFL system. But Lee has overcome all that by applying every ounce of himself on a daily basis. He's 29, probably in the best shape of his life and not ready just yet to step aside for Jermichael Finley. A pro's pro.

31. DESMOND BISHOP, ILB
If you grade the flashes, Bishop should be starting. He can be a lethal inside blitzer, explodes into ball carriers as a tackler and shows a knack for the ball in coverage. Still, he isn't consistent. He takes too many chances against the run, which at times compromises the defense, and misses too much in the open field.

32. JEREMY THOMPSON, OLB
Thompson has the speed, length, hand quickness and brain to be a pass-rushing threat. Those are the qualities that endeared him to the new staff during the off-season. Then the pads went on and Thompson semi-disappeared. Until he becomes more physical in the running game, his role won't be prominent.

33. JORDY NELSON, WR
Dropped a few balls early in camp and slipped behind James Jones in the pecking order. Usually catches everything. A walk-on safety at Kansas State, Nelson gets just about everything out of his ability level. At this point he's a big, reliable possession receiver. Can he ever be more than that? We don't know.

34. BRANDON JACKSON, RB
Jackson has never played to the level of a second-round draft choice. The Packers have wanted him to play on third downs but he lacks feel on screens, is barely adequate in protection and usually doesn't pick up the tough yard. He plays smaller than his 215 pounds and has been hurt too much.

35. SCOTT WELLS, C
The Packers always liked Wells more than some other teams, but in the end they opted to start the bigger man (Jason Spitz) at center. Wells is better than some starters. He's quick-minded, calls an excellent game and moves easily to the second level. Despite his strength and recent gains in weight, he isn't a big man, and it's still a big man's game.

36. MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, DE
Played better early in camp than he did later, then broke his left hand in Arizona. Looks miscast in the 3-4 at 275 pounds but he's tough as an old boot, keeps blockers away from his torso by jamming with his long arms and has a knack for finding the ball.

37. JEREMY KAPINOS, P
Looked dead to rights in the first 10 days after being out-kicked by Durant Brooks. But Kapinos showed some fight and probably would have won the job even if Brooks' hip-flexor injury hadn't acted up. He still has to prove that his leg is NFL-caliber, but his 12-punt exhibition averages of 48.8 (gross), 42.6 (net) and 4.28 (hang time) were a step in the right direction.

38. DERRICK MARTIN, S
The Ravens didn't like his speed as a cornerback in their press-man system and moved him to safety this summer. His speed is good for safety but his size (5-10, 200) isn't. Carries himself with a chip on his shoulder. Green Bay gambled that his drug issues are behind him.

39. JARRETT BUSH, CB-S
Bush was out of options as a press-man cornerback in the old scheme. Much to their surprise, the new staff discovered in mid-August that his limitations in speed and athleticism didn't prevent him from playing rather well as a zone cornerback in the new zone scheme. He also can play safety in a pinch. Valuable on special teams.

40. DeSHAWN WYNN, RB
Beat out Tyrell Sutton in one of the most debated decisions of camp. A talented, complete back when he's healthy and slamming, not dancing, into holes. Wynn is the type of big back that could loom large as the weather worsens.

41. JOHN KUHN, FB
The best ball carrier of the three fullbacks; gives Mike McCarthy another option in short-yardage and goal-line. Solid blocker. Solid on special teams. Limited as a receiver.

42. QUINN JOHNSON, FB
Grant seems to prefer running from two-back sets, which is where the bulldozing rookie from LSU comes in. Johnson needs a ton of refinement, especially as a receiver but also as a track-style blocker. But give him a stationary target to hit and the party's over.

43. JARIUS WYNN, DE
Probably improved as much as anyone on the roster during August. Looked like he had almost no pass-rush ability in the first week and there already were reservations that he was too short to be a 3-4 DE. But then the light went on and he suddenly looked like a player. He is athletic. He can move. He plays hard.

44. SPENCER HAVNER, TE
Capable of playing everything (offense, defense, special teams). Position switches almost never work in the NFL but this one did. Blocked effectively once he got the hang of tight end and never embarrassed himself in the passing game.

45. T.J. LANG, G
Everything about him says NFL offensive lineman: temperament, work ethic, intelligence, poise, strength, body type. Spent most of his summer at LG but easily could get in the mix at RT if Barbre falters or at LT if Clifton goes down.

46. KOREY HALL, FB
Pressed during the off-season program after the selection of Johnson but went about his business and probably had his finest camp. He won't ever make headlines but he will do his job.

47. BRETT GOODE, LS
Came off the scrap heap a year ago, replacing injured J.J. Jansen, and hasn't had a bad snap yet. Country kid goes his own way and blends in well.

48. BRETT SWAIN, WR
Swain never would have had a chance to displace Ruvell Martin if he hadn't reported back in late March as a much grittier football player. The timidity that he showed as a rookie was long gone. Good athlete with hands, route-running skill and special-teams flair.

49. AARON ROUSE, S
Wrecked his hamstring two weeks into camp. His performance had been disappointing to that point. Having shopped Rouse and finding no takers, the Packers folded him back on the roster for another day.

50. BRENO GIACOMINI, T
Didn't practice a down in the off-season after major ankle surgery and never seriously challenged for RT job. Long arms and big body make it a $50 cab ride to get around him, but until he bends better and improves his pass-blocking technique he'll remain a backup. Looks like a one-position player. Plays like he's walking on eggshells. Lacks confidence.

51. BRANDON UNDERWOOD, CB
The Packers were hoping he would be further along. Inexperience at the position showed in his shaky coverage against Cardinals and Titans. Clearly, Underwood isn't ready to play, but with his tough-guy approach and excellent size he might develop.

52. BRAD JONES, LB
Plucked in the seventh round from Colorado to fit the 3-4, which he does. Moves and runs pretty well, applied respectable pass-rush pressure and was OK at the point of attack.

53. EVAN DIETRICH-SMITH, C-G
Undrafted rookie from Idaho State is one of those players with a knack for the game. Height makes him better-suited for center. Better blocking for run than pass right now. Thick, tough and smart.
I have done all the online research, I am basically web certified.
User avatar
JKB
 
Posts: 10451
Joined: Sat Apr 26, 2008 2:50 pm

Return to JustJeff's Packers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests