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Four of Last Season's Forgotten Names to Remember for 2013

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Four of Last Season's Forgotten Names to Remember for 2013

Late March on the calendar typically means the majority of eyes are focused directly on the NFL draft. Rightfully so, as free agency has usually begun to slow down and the draft enters its last month of preparation.

However, this time of year also provides a chance to take a glance back, particularly at some unknowns from the season before. Seemingly every year, a mostly forgotten-about player from the previous season surprises by making an impact during the next.

The Packers may have a few names that fit that profile. Rarely seen last season, these four players have the opportunity to seize much bigger roles for Green Bay in 2013:

ILB Terrell Manning

Despite significant injuries hitting the inside linebacker position, Manning appeared in just seven games and played zero defensive snaps in 2012. However, it's easy to forget that Manning arrived at training camp with a mystery stomach illness that caused him to lose 15 pounds, and his chances of making an impact as a rookie all but evaporated in the summer heat. Given a full offseason and a healthy start to camp, Manning could surprise.

Remember, the Packers did move up in the fifth round last April to snag Manning, who was an athletic (4.63 40-yard dash) and aggressive defender at NC State. He also had collegiate experience rushing the passer and could have went in the top 75 or so picks had he stayed in school another year. Desmond Bishop (hamstring) and D.J. Smith (anterior cruciate ligament) will head into next season with major injury question marks, and Brad Jones could still leave in free agency. There may be a golden opportunity to be had for Manning in 2013.

CB Davon House

A shoulder injury during the 2012 preseason sapped House of the opportunity to play a significant role last season. However, his early camp showings haven't been forgotten by head coach Mike McCarthy, who raved about House during the NFL owners meetings in Arizona this week. He went as far as to call House the "best cornerback we had" during the first three weeks of camp.

The Packers remain deeper at cornerback than any other defensive position, with Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward capable of being the starting three next season. Don't count out House making a run at one of those spots. He has ideal size (6-1, 195 lbs.) to play press-man, as evidenced by the way he man-handled receivers at the line of scrimmage early in camp. His top-end speed isn't great, but that isn't a make-or-break requirement to be a very good boundary cover man. Another full offseason and a healthy shoulder could give House a real chance to jump one of the cornerbacks (Williams?) for playing time next season.

TE Andrew Quarless

The road to recovery has been a long one for Quarless, who tore up his knee in December 2011 and still hasn't played a snap since. Despite the lengthy time off, McCarthy sounded very confident at the owners meetings that Quarless will be back and healthy in 2013. While expecting the former fifth-round pick to be productive after nearly two years on the shelf might be overly optimistic, his 2011 film was very promising.

No offense to recently-departed tight end Tom Crabtree, but Quarless was the team's best in-line blocker when his knee went out in New York. He also showed more flashes of receiving ability over his first two seasons than we've seen from helmet-and-shells All-Pro D.J. Williams. Losing Crabtree to Tampa Bay has obviously opened up the competition to be the offense's blocking tight end, and Quarless, Williams, Ryan Taylor and a potential draft pick will all get a crack at winning it. But if Quarless is anywhere near where he ended 2011, this could be his job to lose.

S Sean Richardson

A neck injury that put Richardson on IR to end last season is worth monitoring, but barring a setback, he's expected to be ready by the start of training camp. If he is, Richardson might have a chance to emerge as a candidate to play alongside Morgan Burnett at safety in 2013.

At 6-2 and 215 pounds, Richardson ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at the NFL combine.  That combination of physical attributes could help a Packers defense that so obviously lacked speed, size and toughness against top teams last season. Neither M.D. Jennings or Jerron McMillian—who each saw significant playing time at safety in 2012—can provide what Richardson can from a physical standpoint.

Obviously, Richardson is still raw after entering the NFL as undrafted free agent. But if the Packers can get him on the right page mentally, the physical skills are all there. Taking a few big strides in next year's camp could make it difficult for Dom Capers to keep him off the field.

Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (53) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Fish/Crane's picture

Nice article...another reason perhaps that we will again draft fewer of more.

Evan's picture

"Seemingly every year, a mostly forgotten-about player from the previous season surprises by making an impact during the next."

Just out of curiosity, who was that player last season? Brad Jones, maybe?

Zach Kruse's picture

Brad Jones obviously jumped out to me. M.D. Jennings also went from relative unknown to playing a significant number of snaps. DuJuan Harris, while not in Green Bay, was a complete unknown before 2012.

Evan's picture

EDS would also qualify, I think. Hell, so would Mike Neal.

DrewTheDraftGuru's picture

I was going to mention Mike Neal. 4.5 sacks is quite a few from a 3-4 DE that plays limited snaps, but then again maybe his limited snaps are the reason you wouldn't count him.

This is just another great article from Mr. Breath of Fresh Air Zach Kruse.

PackerBacker's picture

Add in injured rookie Nick Perry and give Dujuan Harris a full offseason of work in the system. I'm pumped to see what these guys can do.

Stroh's picture

I certainly didn't forget about them. House and Manning were 2 players that I identified leading up to their respective drafts that I wanted the Packers to draft. House was known a tough, physical CB that excelled at press coverage. And I had him as a possible 2nd round pick who would probably slide a round due to some nagging injuries in college.

Manning was a player alot of scouts thought would play OLB, but I didn't think he could get big enough from his 240+ lbs to be a 34 OLB. However, he is another physical player in the mold of Bishop except he's quite a bit more athletic than him. Manning would be an ideal ILB on the blitz something he excelled at at NC st. He's a little raw in coverage having mostly been a blitzer, but he's certainly athletic enough to match almost any ILB in this years draft.

Both of these guys I identified before the draft as players I wanted to see in GB. Thompson and the Packer scouts did a great job finding them and getting them in the mid rounds that I thought would go a round earlier. House I figured as a 3rd and Manning as a 4th, but both had the ability to go a round earlier had it not been for minor injury concerns.

Mike's picture

Agree on both

House still has much more potential and just needs to avoid the hard-luck injuries he's dealt with his first two seasons. He's sort of like Neal, and look how he worked out for the team this season! House could eventually lead to Tramon being let go...

Manning has a great opportunity, especially if Jones doesn't come back. TT only trades up for guys he REALLY likes, and the only such draft pick to falter was Will Thompson. Just keep the kid away from odd food choices and I agree that he could become something of a Barnett/Bishop hybrid. I don't know if he has as much nasty in his play as Bishop, but he certainly hits hard and has that flair for flying around making plays everywhere like Barnett did.

philip's picture

who's will thompson?

Stroh's picture

Thompson is an athletic DE/OLB drafted 08. 1st name not will, don't remember it either. Had to retire due to spinal stenosis.

Evan's picture

Jeremy Thompson.

greenngold's picture

All due respect to TT and the staff, and 20/20 hindsight, we could have had Richard Sherman instead of House... just sayin

Stroh's picture

All due respect, but for all we know House might turn out to be better then Sherman. Sherman has been able to play, House hasn't had much chance. That comparison isn't over yet. Shermans an excellent CB, lets see how House does when he gets on the field.

Idiot Fan's picture

Good article Zach, although let me tweak one sentence for you:

"He has ideal size (6-1, 195 lbs.) to play press-man, should Capers ever decide to play press man..."

Stroh's picture

Name seems to fit... we play much more man than zone coverage.

Idiot Fan's picture

Ok then. I guess then all those 8-yard cushions we were all bellyaching about the past two years were just the worst press-man-coverage technique I've ever seen.

PackerBacker's picture

I had heard somewhere that Capers felt pressured to do more of the off-technique because of Williams shoulder.

Idiot Fan's picture

Yeah, it was meant mostly as a joke. People around here have gotten a little touchy...

Stroh's picture

Yeah it was more zone in 11 due to Williams shoulder but not so much last year. We're still man cover team and the young CB are all better in man except Hayward.

Hard to know jokes wo context and w that screen name!

MarkinMadison's picture

I think this article is just dead on the money. Fans and pundits sit around in the off-season and give our opinions about what we think the Packers need based upon the performance last year. Usually we forget about the guys in the stable. The coaches and managment at Green Bay (should) know better than anyone where these guys are at, and what their potential is. So the draft and FA goes differently than we expect because we're not seeing all of the cards the Packers are holding in their hand.

redlights's picture

+100

Lars's picture

Manning is exactly why people want Ogletree in R1. He's the same player without the sociopathy. And, because AJ Hawk is still TT's favorite, he will be buried on the depth chart playing ST's for a few more years. Then, in 2015 he'll start.

Cole's picture

Probably true. It's like Bishop. Only injury allowed him to get on tw field, just showing coaches incompetence. Assignment sure is one of McCarthy's blind spots.

Stroh's picture

Except that Ogletree used to be a Safety so his coverage skills are much better. ILBin coverage has been an issue for a long time w Hawk snd Bishop. Manning should be better at it but he's inexperienced in coverage. Ogletree id very good incoverage from playing safety. Otherwise he and Manning are very similar.

MarkinMadison's picture

"because AJ Hawk is still TT’s favorite, he will be buried on the depth chart playing ST’s"

I think this idea really does not account for the fact that Hawk spent a lot of time riding the pine at the beginning of last season. Hawk's contract changes were not just nibbling around the edges; he lost some real coin. I have to think the Packers might have parted ways with him if they were more sure about their depth and injury recoveries at the position.

DrewTheDraftGuru's picture

Guaranteed money was part of the problem with cutting Hawk.

Stroh's picture

They didn't cut him. Just restructured his base salaries.

PackerBacker's picture

I think Drew was saying that guaranteed $ was the reason they restructured instead of cut. They had to pay him anyway.

MarkinMadison's picture

True, cutting him would not have given as much cap relief as some in the media represented. But that just reinforces my basic point - if he is so protected he would not have been on the bench so much at the beginning of the season. There is no reason to think his starting spot is guaranteed this year.

lmills's picture

I think the biggest asset to this team is health. If they could ever have a year where they don't have 10+ players on IR, I think they would look like a different team.

Stroh's picture

Just curious. Where did you get the 4.63 40 for Manning? Best I've seen was 4.70.

IowaPackFan's picture

With the loss of Jennings, which young receivers could have a chance to make a splash? I remember hearing good things about Jeremy Ross (muffed punt in the playoffs, notwithstanding), Jarret Boykin?

Zach Kruse's picture

I really debated putting Boykin on this list, because it sounds like the coaches really like him. But I can't get over my nagging suspicion that the Packers will draft a WR in the first 4 rounds.

Brooklyn81's picture

What about sherrod

PackerBacker's picture

Hasn't played real football in quite a while. It'll be a challenge for him to get in the lineup. Even if he's got a full bill of health, I still don't see him taking over starting duties until they're into the season.

trvs's picture

When I think about all of the injuries and the late additions (Ross and Harris) it becomes hard to determine the needs of this team. There is a lot of unproven potential. With all of the names mentioned the Packers could be a much better team.

I see OL, DL, and RB as biggest areas of concern. I just think bringing in some solid competition could help weed out some players that aren't performing well. I mean seriously if our OL was stonewalling defenders and we had a scary RB, the offense would be humming for sure.

Ted knows, I don't.

cow42's picture

while there are some position groups that look to have more "holes" than others... the fact of the matter is that there is really only one position (qb) that couldn't use an upgrade.

go ahead and just draft the best players.

if that's on the OL - cool.
DL - cool
OLB - cool
ILB - cool
CB - cool
S - cool
RB - cool
TE - cool
WR - cool

every one of those spots could use a playmaker.

packeraaron's picture

You know what Cow? Other than TE, I totally agree.

Stroh's picture

We would all love to have a playmaker at every position but too bad its just not possible. Salary cap basically prevents it. And playmakers have plays drawn up for them to make plays. You can't have a playmaker at every position or they would all be unhappy playmakers. Lets face facts here... You want 2 or at most 3 playmakers on each side of the D and then surround them play roles players to keep team chemistry. Role players play their role so playmakers can make plays. If you have a playmaker at every position you would have guys at every position jumping routes or playing a hunch instead of playing the role the scheme calls for.

Playmakers at every level of D works fine. So does one at QB, WR and RB since the OL is largly role players.

PackerBacker's picture

This is the exact reason why I don't get how people want to get rid of Hawk. He did need a paycut. He was making more than he was earning. However, he is a solid, dependable ILB who doesn't get hurt. We need more than a few of those guys.

Stroh's picture

Richardson and McMillan are very similar in style of play. Both are physical box safeties who struggle in coverage. McMillan might be a little better in coverage but not much. Both are athletic good tackers and play w physicality but neither was near being ready for NFL coverage responsibility. If one ir the other improves dramatically we have our other safety. I would still look at safety in 1st or 2nd. They're both too far away ti count on being a starting safety IMO.

redlights's picture

I agree on drafting S high this year. If no one from last year progresses, they have a budding star. If some one does progress, they can let Burnett walk in FA, as he's in his contract year.

asdf's picture

I expected this list to include Derek Sherrod. Sherrod looked good in his limited time in 2011 before breaking his leg and being placed on IR for all of 2012. I'm really rooting for the guy this year.

Lou's picture

Looked good in 2011 ? He washed out at left guard in camp/pre-season and was totally over matched at right tackle when they were forced to play him. Barclay an undrafted free agent played right tackle much better than Sherrod. You must have mixed his number up with someone else.

Jake's picture

I remember him not doing very well at guard, but I think it was the Falcons game 2 seasons ago when he was forced in at tackle. I didn't think he played that bad. Correct me if I'm wrong but come second half with him in the offense came alive.

I'm not saying he was awesome, but I think people may have given up on him too soon.

Stroh's picture

Sherrod is definitely in the Packers plans. They'll give him the time to get his leg right, hopefully this year, he'll be in the hunt to start at LT. Your right, he did struggle at LG, but once he was moved outside to OT he started to play much better. Sherrod just isn't suited to playing OG, neither was Newhouse.

Lets hope one of the steps up and takes the LT job. Newhouse was OK at LT, but we need better play at that spot and at Center. Then the OL could actually become a strength!

Turophile's picture

I'm looking at McMillien more than Sean Richardson to make an impact in 2013. Although a little lighter (listed 5'11", 203 to Richardsons 6'2", 216), McMillian is both more intelligent and more football smart. He is also faster (ran a 4.35 at his pro day and vertical-jumped 39").

Of course, the best case scenario is that they both progress well.....

MarkinMadison's picture

I'm wondering if part of the reason the Packers had so few fumbles last year is that the safeties are more "ball hawks" (Burnett, Woodson) than "enforcers." A lot of times its the second guy that makes the fumble. So the first guy (usually LB in a 3-4) is wrapped on and the second guy jars it loose. Then there is an extra 10 lbs of muscle for the run game with Richardson. McMillen could pan out fine, but if the Packers are going to get better against the run I'd like to see a bigger safety paired with Morgan Burnett.

Stroh's picture

LB should cause most fumbles. Hawk and Walden never caused any. That was a big problem. More physical safeties would certainly help but need. Just need more physical players overall on all levels of D to cause more fumbles.

andrew's picture

crazy to me that people are talking about replacing tramon who has been a great pro bowl caliber corner for quite a few years for us. he had a bad season and an average season the year before that. but that does not mean that his career is over. With that said we play the nickle so much and woodson isnt going to be around to sit in the slot anymore so hayward and house are clearly going to see the field quite a bit if they stay healthy i think both have potential to be starters in 2-3 years if sam shields slips up. but i dont want to think tramon is already so replaceable when he has been a playmaker for us

Stroh's picture

Tramon has to play a lot better in'13 than he has the past 2 seasons. If not he'll not only lose his starting job but his roster spot. He's being paid like a playmaker but isn't making any. If he rebounds he'll get another year or 2. Otherwise this is probably his last year in GB.

Brando's picture

Hopefully the nerve damage in his shoulder clears up enough for him to confidently tackle at least. It seemed painfully obvious that teams were deliberately running his way knowing he couldn't/wouldn't make the physical tackle. If he makes his comeback then he, Shields, Hayward and House would seem to be pretty solid!

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