- Jeremy Thompson
Thompson has all the physical tools necessary to blossom into a good all-around defensive end. Not great, but good. Thompson showed flashes and should only get stronger and better overall. What he lacks right now can't be taught - namely, he needs a killer instinct. Several times this season he came blazing off the line on a passing down only to have the offensive tackle direct him past the quarterback with his hands. He needs to spend some time watching film of Deacon Jones, not for technique, goodness knows, but to see how passion, a burning hatred of quarterbacks, can go a long way in your ability to put QBs on their backs.
- Pat Lee
Lee is raw, and he got limited time from scrimmage this year in the few games he was active before going on Injured Reserve, but I'm here to tell you - he is the real deal. I can't explain it, other than to say I see a lot of the same things I saw in Tramon Williams back when no one knew how Williams would fare as Al Harris' replacement. Lee is going to be good, perhaps very, very good. Not only does he have the ability to jam guys on the line, but he showed flashes of being able to play zone quite well in the game down in Tampa. Only the coaching staff's infatuation with Will Blackmom kept Lee from being the Dime back, a job that will be Lee's next season.
- A.J. Hawk
Alright, clean up the coffee you just spit out all over the monitor and hear me out. After what can only be described as a horrific season, A. J. Hawk is being vilified by fans and the media as being a gigantic bust. Now, is he playing as you would hope the 5th overall pick would play? Far from it, but he is hardly the lost cause so many are making him out to be. Hawk did indeed look lost from the Saint game on and he is perilously close to a liability in man coverage (which is why you saw him on the bench against Indianapolis) But the fact remains that Hawk is a good (not great) football player. And I'm pretty certain the groin and chest injuries he suffered at the beginning of the year had a lot more to do with his play than most people realize. My guess is you will see a lean, mean Hawk with a chip on his shoulder at the beginning of next season, one that, while not exactly flying around making plays like a Lewis or Harrison, will be much better utilized by whomever takes the reins of the Packer defense in 2009.
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