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Packers hoping positional saturation pays off

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Packers hoping positional saturation pays off

With rookie minicamp in the books, the Packers have now had a first look at what the new additions to their team will look like in an NFL setting. Green Bay’s roster is now full at 90 players as they head into the next phase of the offseason program.

Last week, after the draft, head coach Mike McCarthy talked about how competitive he thinks the roster will be this offseason. Now that the dust has settled in terms of draft picks, undrafted free agents and rookie camp tryout signings, it is abundantly clear there will be competition about in Green Bay, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Of the 90 men on the current roster – including the Packers’ five unsigned draft picks – eleven reside in the wide receiver group. Another six come to camp as running backs, along with five tight ends. Add to that another nine players who could feasibly play guard in 2017, and just over a third of the Packers roster is made up by four position groups.

Logjams at each of those positions will certainly foster the competition McCarthy and his staff are looking for. Hopefully, that competition also spawns options.

On the surface, receiver was not viewed as a position the Packers needed to attack heavily this offseason. The receiving corps, led by the reinvigoration of Jordy Nelson and the resurgence of Davante Adams, help up just fine in 2016. Still, Green Bay spent draft picks on DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre.

On the flip side, running back was a question mark for the Packers heading into the draft. They addressed those questions by taking three running backs on the final day, as well as signing two undrafted players at the position.

After the chemistry Jared Cook showed with Aaron Rodgers during last year’s stretch run, it almost seemed like a lock the Packers would sign the tight end to a longer term deal. Instead, Ted Thompson decided to look elsewhere, bringing in Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks to give the position more pop.

As far as what the Packers will do at guard, no one seems to have a firm grasp on the positions. Sure, there are established leaders in the clubhouse, but there’s a reason the Packers have loaded the roster with potential guard talent.

It’s the same reason the team has gone heavy at certain positions: they want options. Nay, the need options. The old adage is, “You’re either getting better, or you’re getting worse.” In the NFL, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels at any position, and the folks at 1265 Lombardi Avenue seem to have subscribed to that thinking in 2017.

I’ve focused on the offense here, but it’s worth pointing out Green Bay’s greatest perceived need this offseason was cornerback, a position at which they’ll bring eleven players into camp. By saturating the roster in spots, the Packers are giving themselves a good a chance as possible to find the most impactful players they can put on the field.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (27) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Eleven wide receivers, six running backs, and five tight ends.

The camp arms better stretch out.

RCPackerFan's picture

Competition brings out the best in people.

Drafting 2 WR's to add to the 6 they are returning from last years team definitely puts pressure on Janis, Allison and Davis.

Drafting 3 RB's and adding 2 UDFA RB's, will make that competition very, very strong. Not just amongst the rookies, but also for Montgomery and Ripkowski.

Both the OL and DL will be very good battles.

The next competition I am looking forward to seeing is the CB competition. Randall, Rollins and Gunter all return, but they now added House and King along with some UDFA's (who Thompson has been good at finding CB talent). The competition should be very good.

DThomas's picture

IMO the most important competition on the team will happen in the secondary and the most important competition on offense will occur at RB. Next important is who emerges to rush the passer at OLB after Matthews and Perry. The rest of the competition will be for backup spots and STs.

Lane Taylor will start at LG unless he gets injured, and Jahri Evans will start at RG unless he gets injured or age catches up to him in a hurry ala Jeff Saturday. Lots of others are in the mix to backup, so how that shakes out is certainly in doubt with Barclay (who'll likely backup OC too), perhaps Murphy and Lucas Patrick leading contenders. However, I don't think it's a mystery who will be the starting OGs.

The battle at TE will be for the #4 spot. The battle at WR will be for the 4th through 6th spots, with the newcomers battling Geronimo, Janis, and Davis for those spots.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

The likeliest winner of the battle for the #4 TE spot is no one. GB likely carries just 3 with one of the PS.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I mostly agree, but I don't consider Richard Rodgers a lock for the #3 TE spot.

#3 TE's rarely play on offense, so RR's strongest asset--his hands--means little.

#3 TE's must excel on Special Teams, and RR is completely worthless there. He's also a poor blocker with awful athleticism, so it's not like he carries value in potential.

Beau Sandland is a perfect #3 TE. Here's hoping he sends Rodgers packing so we aren't wasting a valuable roster spot.

Ben Pearson's picture

CB competition shouldn't be too difficult. Just gotta figure out which UDFA/New draft pick/Davon House can keep their QBR-against under 112.00 (our lowest out of all 3 starters last season) and we're instantly better.

(Rodgers had an average QBR of 104.2 last year just for some fun context)

PackEyedOptimist's picture

It's a lot of roster turnover, but not among the starters, so I'm not worried. The WR competition is going to be crazy! Allison showed a lot last year, but he's going to have a tough time making the roster, I think. With Davis and MacCaffery as 4.3 speed demons, and Yancy and Dupre as 4.55 guys with size and ball skills, the level of competition is just going to be too high for Geronimo. Janis is going to have his roster spot threatened as well, if any of the guys I mentioned prove to be good ST players, or if one or two of the DBs or RBs or LBs show themselves to be close to Janis's equal as a gunner/returner.

CAG123's picture

The pressure is definitely on Janis, Davis, and Mcaffry (However you spell it) Geronimo was just an undrafted rookie and still did more then Davis and seems to have better chemistry with Rodgers then Janis. Mcaffery is just a guy at this point and will probably be cut before anyone else.

Bearmeat's picture

I'm very happy with the depth across the entire squad. With 2 caveats: OLB and Z WR (in that order).

The top line quality is another question. I think we've got it in many areas. CB, RG, RB, Z WR, OLB, ILB are yet to be determined there.

I am hopeful for this team.

Finwiz's picture

Forget the receiver group - that won't be any concern as long as Jordy is healthy. OLB on the other hand, is an accident waiting to happen.
One injury and it's 5-6 yards a carry for any descent RB.

Bearmeat's picture

Outside of Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis, they really don't have a HWS boundary guy to stretch defenses. No, Jordy really isn't a deep threat anymore. They've got a LOT of slot guys and TEs.

Someone to blow the top off the defense that will scare opposing DCs would really help too. Obviously, it's nitpicking. :)

Finwiz's picture

I understand your point, but there's far less concern about the WR than there is the defense and OLB. Light bulb could flip on this year for Davis, Janis or both, and that won't be an issue. I have greater hope for Davis or Janis becoming deep threats, than I do our defense becoming championship caliber. JMO of course.

That defense ripped my heart out the last few years so I'm not optimistic.

Bearmeat's picture

Agreed.

ironman3169's picture

I need to go a step further. The packers defense has stabbed me in the belly, twisted the blade, turned it upward, and rammed it through my heart, one of my lungs, and out of my mouth.

Here's hoping.....

Finwiz's picture

Graphic - but effective.
Any fan that doesn't understand the Packer defense has problems, isn't anything more than a casual football fan.

JohnnyLogan's picture

Doesn't seem like there's enough depth at OLB. I don't see it.

Bearmeat's picture

Or quality at the top. CM3 is no longer a blue-chip player and Perry is always hurt and not a blue chip player either. Then there's unproven rookies/2nd year players.

Worztik's picture

Can anybody NAME the 11 WR prospects that are competing for the roster spots??? Just askin'???????

Worztik's picture

In contrast, the OLBs can be listed on my 5 fingers... actually, 4 fingers and a big toe for a thumb...

Worztik's picture

Here's another question for youse guys, hay... why can't we convert Gunter to a "hybrid LB" as he has the height and weight of Josh Jones??? It this a stoopad question or???

GBPack's picture

Jones has 20 pounds on Gunter...

Since '61's picture

Parts of the roster will be faster, more versatile and more athletic. RB will be faster and more versatile. TE will be more versatile. Chuck Janis and our WR group improves. Our DL should be more athletic. Our CBs should be faster and more athletic. If we use Jones in a hybrid ILB/safety role our ILBs and safety position groups will both get faster and more versatile. The questions remain at OG and OLB. I actually think that with Evans, Murphy, Spriggs, Amichia, and Patrick we'll be OK with whoever starts at RG and the OL backups will be a better unit. OLB looks like our weakest link as of today. On top of all of this we already have the most versatile QB to ever play the position. If we stay healthy we're fine, at least until the playoffs. Then it's a matter of making plays when they need to be made. Thanks, Since '61

Ferrari Driver's picture

The Packers certainly have increased the competition in several areas, but the thing that is missing is the lack of any difference makers and unfortunately most of those are found in the first 10 picks of the draft and not the bottom 5 where the Packers draft year after year do to their winning records.

We have been luck to have two decades of superior QB play with Favre and Rodgers which are the primary reason our team has remained highly competitive and also because Thompson and his staff are just pretty darn good evaluators when it comes to drafting after the cream has been removed.

We are indeed fortunate to have a solid GM and coaching staff.

Spock's picture

Ferrari Driver: I would argue that King and Jones MAY be difference makers. We shall see. Your point about drafting in the bottom of the 1st is valid, but I think that shows how well TT has done given that handicap. Let's see how this all goes.

Packer_Pete's picture

It is true that the competition for most position groups was increased through draft and FA. The position group that wasn't are LBs - ILBs may be alright, but OLBs are a severe question mark. Unless the plan is to generate more rush through the middle, I just don't see how and from where the pressure on opposing QBs will come from. Matthews will have his annual injury worries, and so will Perry. that leaves Fackrell, Elliott, and Biegel as starters, unless they'll count on Lowry or Adams to play elephant end - I just don't see it... Will be a lot of pressure on DBs to stick with their receivers for a long time.

PatrickGB's picture

Like the others here have posted, I too worry about the depth of our pass rush. I don't think we will miss Datone much and think Adams is fast enough to be the inside guy to replace him but do it more from the inside. However, I think we will miss Peppers. Lowery, Fackrell, and Elliot had better step up and Clay, Vince and #53 all better stay healthy.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Overall, our LB group has to be considered bottom tier in the NFL. Bottom 5. Perry is the only high quality asset, and that's if his health holds.

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