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One Burning Question for Every Packers Rookie as Orientation Camp Begins

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One Burning Question for Every Packers Rookie as Orientation Camp Begins

UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones. Photo by Brian Carriveau of

Rookie orientation camp is the first opportunity for first-year players to come to Green Bay. Think of it like freshman orientation in high school or college.

It's as much about getting acclimated to the team's facilities and their surroundings as it is about getting their first introduction into the team's playbook and learning the Packers' schemes.

Green Bay isn't going to win the Super Bowl because of what happens this weekend in the Don Hutson Center, but this is the point when questions start to become answered.

With many players, the questions are complicated and answers won't come to light until minicamp, training camp, maybe even into the season.

But here's where each rookie on the Packers roster stands as they arrive in Green Bay on Thursday and hit the practice field each of the next three days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Defensive Lineman Datone Jones

Is Jones a three-down player in Year One?

As a first round draft choice, expectations will be higher for Datone Jones than any other rookie on the Packers roster. The reality of his situation is that he joins one of the deepest positions on the Packers roster, at least from a numbers standpoint. The roles for B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett on the defensive line are pretty much firmly entrenched. But if Jones wants be on the field for both run downs and passing downs, he'll be fighting with the likes of C.J. Wilson, Mike Neal, Mike Daniels, Johnny Jolly and perhaps even Jerel Worthy down the road. A heavy defensive line rotation is definite possibility, so Jones will need to be a monster if he doesn't want to come off the field.

Running Back Eddie Lacy

Do Lacy's health concerns affect his play?

First it was reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers passed on Eddie Lacy because of his toe fusion surgery, and then it was learned that the Denver Broncos were turned off by Lacy's injury woes as well. As Kevin Seifert of wrote, "One team's conclusion could be always be considered an outlier. But two? Then you're getting closer to a trend." Over the course of the last year, Lacy has also been affected by elbow, hand, knee, pectoral and hamstring issues to one extent or another. Despite all the injury concerns, however, the reality is that Lacy started all 13 games for Alabama in 2013, missed only one game in 2011 and missed two in 2010. He's shown to be pretty durable during his college days.

Offensive Lineman David Bakhtiari

Can Bakhtiari cut it at left tackle?

At fractions over 6-4, David Bakhtiari doesn't have prototypical height to play left tackle in the NFL, but from everything you hear and read, he does have the feet and movement skills necessary to protect the quarterback's blind side. Now that Bryan Bulaga is moving over to left tackle, the Packers will be looking for his backup. Marshall Newhouse will likely get first crack at left tackle should anything happen to Bulaga, but the Packers will the looking at the long-term picture with Bakhtiari.

Offensive Lineman J.C. Tretter

Where does Tretter fit in on the offensive line?

Despite playing left tackle in college, Tretter admits most NFL teams were looking at him as an interior offensive lineman in the NFL. It' a good thing that Tretter might be able to play all five positions on the offensive line in a pinch, but he needs to find a primary position. Whether that's guard or perhaps even center remains to be seen. With Evan Dietrich-Smith playing under a one-year contract in 2013, the Packers could look to groom Tretter at center in case "EDS" departs next year.

Running Back Johnathan Franklin

Will Franklin be able to overcome his ineligibility for OTAs?

Because he hasn't graduated and UCLA's final exams don't take place until mid-June, Johnathan Franklin is apparently ineligible to participate in the Packers' Organized Team Activities this offseason. It's not the worst thing in the world that Franklin misses a few weeks of practice in May and June, but he'll be behind the eight ball compared to other rookies on the team. How quickly he picks up the team's offense, terminology, schemes and blocking assigments will be crucial to how much playing team he receives in his rookie season.

Cornerback Micah Hyde

Can Hyde be anything more than the fifth cornerback his rookie year?

Cornerback is one of the deeper positions on the Packers with Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Sam Shields and Davon House all ahead of Micah Hyde on the depth chart. If the Iowa product has any hopes of seeing the defensive side of the football in 2013, he'll have a tall task ahead of him. Hyde might have to set his sights on becoming the team's fifth cornerback and overtaking the role of special teams ace currently held by Jarrett Bush.

Defensive Lineman Josh Boyd

Is Boyd able to crack the 53-man roster?

There might be five Packers defensive linemen with contracts expiring after the 2013 season, but that means little for the season at hand. For a team that uses a lot of defensive sets with only two defensive linemen on the field at any one time, Josh Boyd is going to have to really impress to find himself as part of the defensive line rotation as a rookie. There's already 10 defensive linemen on the roster fighting for maybe seven spots, if not six, on the 53.

Outside Linebacker Nate Palmer

How steep is Palmer's learning curve?

Coming from FCS-level Illinois State, it's going to be a major step up in competition for Nate Palmer. Granted, he did play in the Big Ten at Illinois before transferring for his final two seasons of college football. Playing at a position without a lot of depth in Green Bay, Palmer is conceivably the fourth-string outside linebacker on the roster behind Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Dezman Moses. That means he's only one injury away from perhaps playing a significant role on defense.

Wide Receiver Charles Johnson

Is Charles Johnson better than Jarrett Boykin?

The top three wide receivers in Green Bay at pretty much set with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones. But for as much as the Packers spread the field with their four and five receiver sets, the fourth wideout gets plenty of playing time in Mike McCarthy's offense. Jarrett Boykin might get the first opportunity to prove he's the fourth wide receiver, but Charles Johnson's impressive measurables and college production could indicate he has the ability to leapfrog Boykin on the depth chart.

Wide Receiver Kevin Dorsey

Is Dorsey better suited for the 53-man roster or the practice squad?

Despite taking Charles Johnson with their previous draft choice, the Packers thought highly enough of Kevin Dorsey that they couldn't pass him up. He'll be given every opportunity to prove he deserves to be part of the wide receiver rotation in Green Bay, but he'll face deep odds with Johnson, Boykin, Jeremy Ross and any other rookies providing competition.

Inside Linebacker Sam Barrington

Where does Barrington fit at a crowded position?

Like a couple other positions on the Packers roster, inside linebacker is crowded from a numbers standpoint. Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Rob Francois, Terrell Manning and Jamari Lattimore fill the top six spots at a position where typically only two players are on the field at any one time. Barrington might have to be a special teams stud to earn a job.

Undrafted Rookies

The Packers have not officially announced any of their undrafted free agent signings, likely because their contract requires passing a physical, which will probably take place this weekend. The following list is comprised of players reported to have signed free agent deals, but may include a few more or less than listed here.

Quarterback Matt Brown

Does Brown inspire confidence as a potential No. 3 quarterback?

Tight End Jake Stoneburner

Can Stoneburner be the best receiving tight end on the roster behind Jermichael Finley?

Outside Linebacker Andy Mulumba

Is Mulumba NFL material or is he better suited for the Canadian Football League?

Safety Ben Ericksen

At a position thin on talent, can Ericksen be more than just a feel-good story as a Wisconsin native?

Center Patrick Lewis

Because the Packers convert so many tackles to interior linemen, might Lewis' experience as a true center give him a leg up?

Defensive Lineman Gilbert Pena

Can Pena hack it at nose tackle if anything should happen to Raji or Pickett?

Guard Lane Taylor

Does Taylor's beefy 320-plus lb. frame give him any extra advantage?

Wide Receiver Myles White

Can White be the Packers' deep threat?

Fullback Ryan Roberson

Can Roberson give John Kuhn a run for his money as a younger and cheaper alternative?

Running Back Angelo Pease

After taking two running backs in the draft, can Pease be anything more than just a camp body?


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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.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

As far as Bakhtiari's height... The dude's a shade over 6'4", it's just hard for me to grasp that an extra inch or two of height is that important, just looking at a ruler on my desk... Seems like such a teenie-weenie, insignificant distance. Especially if his arms are lengthy and his feet are good.

Franklin... Man, I hope he's able to get up to speed in camp, I'm really excited to see him play, moreso than Lacy.

Derek in CO's picture

I think athleticism, footwork, balance, and intelligence are better attributes than height. 6'4" isn't exactly 5'8". Have to see what he's got. Tauscher was pretty good and he wasn't tall.

PackerPete's picture

I don't get either why there'd be a height issue. He is 6'4''. Mayock says he has real good feet. He also has 34'' arms. I thought that was an important measure. Chad Clifton had 33'' arms, and Joe Thomas, who is supposedly the best LT in the NFL is 6'6'' tall but "only" has 33 3/4'' arms... I think it's ridiculous to disregard someone because of minimal differences in height. Why would the height be so important? I mean he is not 5'8''...

cow42's picture

is he 5'8"?

Stroh's picture

I don't have a problem w/ his height or arm length. Both are adequate, not ideal, but adequate. My first problem is that he is only 300 lbs. He may very well be able to gain weight and get to 315-320 but what happens to his movement skills? Probably loses quickness... Is he then good enough to play LT? Remains to be seen...

My other issue is that he is self described as a finesse player. Well you know what a 6'4 300 lb finesse player looks like? Daryn "freakin" Colledge, that's what!! He's sounds like a carbon copy of Colledge to me. Hope I'm wrong about it but too much sounds just like Colledge for me to overlook.

He could gain weight and get more physical, but physicality is more of a state of mind than it is a matter of size. So I don't see that changing either. I think they'll try him at OT, but he'll be at best a backup. If he's an OG then he sounds MORE like Colledge! And very soon after becoming a starter everyone will be wanting rid of him.

I actually like Tretter more than I do Bahktiari. At least he plays w/ some physicality the way it sounds. He seems ideal as an OG, or maybe a Center.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Yeah, the whole self described "finesse player", along with being a self described 'cheap shot artist'.. not exactly a great interview! Hopefully he just poorly worded his actual statement of ' I can be light on my feet, but I can rock somebody too'.

leo's picture

Duane Brown best LT last season per PFF is 6-4 with 34" arms, exactly the same than Bakhtiari. I'm not saying he is gonna be that good, but that height and arm length issue is overrated.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture


jeremy's picture

Joe Thomas has 32 inch arms.

There are so many of the exact same example it's ridiculous. Once someone brings up the short arm thing I instantly know they don't really know what they are talking about. It's one of the biggest Informal Fallacies in football.

Lou's picture

You are absolutely right, and these people call themselves "experts". Tauscher looked like the couch patato down the street but was solid for 11 seasons, Wolf called him the "Pillsbury Doughboy" when he drafted him. Speaking of height, how did Russell Wilson do ? When Paul Hornung did the color on the exhibition games years ago and the play by play guy starting giving 100 yard dash times and height/weight info he would always say, "all I need to know is can he play football".

RC Packer Fan's picture

I really don't get the big thing about 'prototypical size'. That's all I have been hearing lately with the draft picks. I mean Russell Wilson should have proved to everyone last year that size doesn't matter. If a player can play, it doesn't matter if he has prototypical size or not.

I am really looking forward to seeing what Franklin does too. I think he will be brought in slowly since he will miss most of the offseason. I think he could add a lot to the offense. I think he fits really well with the packers spread offense.

cow42's picture

"I really don’t get the big thing about ‘prototypical size’. "

i love this site.

in the Hyde article you guys tried to tell me that speed at the CB position isn't that important.

now your telling me that size on the OL is no big deal.

i'm jealous of your positive homerism.

RC Packer Fan's picture

David Bakhtiari isn't 'prototypical' by 1" in height and is roughly 7 lbs lighter then Eric Fisher the Number 1 pick... I'm pretty sure he can gain those 7 lbs. He has above average arm length which is more important to experts.
I'm just saying to many people judge a person by his measurable without even watching them play.

Hyde's speed is identical to Casey Hayward. In the Packers zone defense players at their speed can compensate their lack of speed with instincts. Hyde seems to have that.

I'm not saying Hyde will have a rookie year like Haywards, but don't rule him off based on speed.

Stroh's picture

Hyde is most likely battling Bush for the ST ace position. He's not even near Hayward is ability. He'll be lucky to make the roster and if he does it'll be as little more than a ST ace. It would also save about 2M on the cap. IMO that's his upside.

MadMan's picture

Certainly seems like the team is bringing in guys that can push players who have been here a while. I'm really excited to see what our running game can be. Way more excited to see Franklin than Lacy. Still gotta believe Harris can do some damage too. Can't wait to see Datone Jones in action along side Matthews. Whoo the thoughts I'm a thinkin'.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture


cow42's picture

other than possibly (hopefully) Jones, no other drafted player will have much of an impact on this season. i would throw Lacy in there if it wasn't inevitable that he's gonna come down with some sort of injury... who wants to be that he gets hurt in camp? anyone?

the real question is - will any player from the past 3 drafts (not including this one) not named Cobb, Bulaga, or Burnett actually step up and become a legit contributor?

as of right now, the Packers last 3 draft classes have produced...

11 TD's
14 INT's
22.5 SK's
3540 TYD's

that ain't gonna cut it.

By the way - SF's last 3 draft classes...

30 TD's
8 INT's
37.5 SK's
4686 TYD's


45 TD's
30 INT's
20 SK's
6092 TYD's


the talent level coming in has not kept up with the talent level going out.

they are falling behind.

cow42's picture

even if you remove passing yards from the equation, the Pack is still gettin' smoked.


RC Packer Fan's picture

I'm not going to necessarily disagree with you. But I will say its hard to get a lot of contribution when last year all 3 of the Packers last 3 1st round picks were on injured reserve. (Bulaga, Sherrod, Perry)

I'm not going to say that outside of Jones and Lacy that none of the other rookies will contribute either. With injury's and whatnot u never know who will have to step in and play (Don Barclay).

I'm not going to go and check the numbers of other teams td's and whatnot. But when figuring those numbers did you include Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick? If your going to include their stats then you have to include Rodgers stats as a fair comparible. You can't compare QB's numbers to WR's.

I will say the biggest reason why the Packers were overmatched last season was more due to injury's then lack of talent. Its hard to compete when you have a lot of 3rd and 4th string players playing against 1st string.

cow42's picture

"I will say the biggest reason why the Packers were overmatched last season was more due to injury’s then lack of talent. "

this would only be the case if the guys that were hurt were above league average players. other than Bishop, none of the missing players was anything special.

"the Packers would have been better if it wasn't for all those injuries" is a a crutch for people who want to think that the Pack will be a contender this year.

granted, Jennings is probably still an above average player... MAYBE Bulaga.


...all just guys.

ArodMoney's picture

Even if Perry would have been average, thats light years ahead of what Walden was

redlights's picture

“the Packers would have been better if it wasn’t for all those injuries” is a a crutch for people who want to think that the Pack will be a contender this year.

The Packers will be a contender this year because they are better than enough teams and will make the playoffs. That's all they need to do; from there, its a new season and the championship is more about momentum and injuries than talent (talent got you there in the first place). We'd all like to see more talent on our side, but the fact is in parity-driven NFL, GB is ahead of the curve.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Are you including Casey Hayward in players to step up? that kid was sensational last year.

Players that could have big year 2's.

-Nick Perry, (a full offseason learning hot to play LB will be huge)
-Casey Hayward (although I don't know if it will be as good as last years)
-Mike Daniels (flashed pass rushing ability)
-Jeron McMillan (could be the starting safety and flashed potential)
-Terrell Manning (Came on late in the season and could make a run at a starting ILB position if Bishop isn't fully healthy)

3rd year players that could make a jump. (by your rules i'm not including Randall Cobb since he is on verge of stardom).

-Derek Sherrod (if he proves he is healthy he could become starting RT).
-Alex Green (before he tore his ACL he was set to earn a lot of playing time, His time might be running out, however he should be fully healthy and might really surprise people even though the team drafted 2 RB's, and have Harris).
-Davon House (was about to become starting CB before he got hurt, Could make a run at a starting CB position if Williams drops off).
-DJ Williams (could be the year he takes off. He was a great receiving TE in college and this could be his breakout year)

The team is filled with players that could potentially breakout this year. Biggest thing for them is to stay healthy.

cow42's picture

Perry - a defensive end playing linebacker

Hayward - a bit overrated by his pick stats... that won't happen again

Mike Daniels - a rotational guy at best

McMillian - i like him but i think it's going to take a couple of more years. next year won't be must different than last year

Manning - ENOUGH WITH THIS GUY! i don't get how anyone can be excited here. a 5th round pick. "but he was sick and lost weight" blah blah blah... the fact of the matter is the Packers lost 2 inside linebackers and Manning still didn't sniff the field

Sherrod - will never play another down as a Packer... it doesn't take 2 years to fix a normal broken leg. he's done

Green - 4th best running back on the roster at best

House - i hope you're right... problem is he seems to be an injury waiting to happen... another neal

Williams - stop it

ArodMoney's picture

Guys/positions who I think will provide a step up this season:

Mike Neal - Looked very good whenever hes in. To me he just needs more snaps

Nick Perry - at least far better than Walden

Brad Jones/Bishop - better than jones/hawk. Jones 2nd year at position

Finley - minor step up in trust factor with ARod

Both tackle positions - LT Bulaga > LT Newhouse and Barclay should improve

MD Jennings - basically a year of starting under his belt, i like his coverage skills

Running back position as a whole - literally has to be

Stroh's picture

But any draft pick of the 9ers is a star waiting to happen aren't they?!

Did you know Aldon Smith was a college DE just like Perry and they are very similar is size! Guess you just chose to ignore the completely obvious don't you CowPie?!!

Perry just didn't have the pleasure of playing next to Justin Smith, not to mention he got a wrist injury in game 1 and later the knee that hampered him before going on IR!

Have you ever had a parasite in you that causes you to throw up every time you eat? That's what Manning had. He lost 2o freaking pounds yet you think he was just sick!

Your negativity is just astonishing and to be frank IDIOTIC!!!

cow42's picture

did you really just compare perry to smith?
suppose hawk is comparable to willis too.


Stroh's picture

Cow... No dumbass, I didn't compare them. I said they both played DE in college and are similar size! I also said that Smith had the tremendous advantage of playing next to one of the best DE in the NFL. Which BTW, made Aldon Smith's job MUCH easier!

Did you happen to notice what happened after Justin Smith was hurt? Aldon was no longer able to get free for many sacks!

Those are all FACTS and not a comparison!

madmanJack's picture


MarkinMadison's picture

Two out of the last three 1st round picks for the Pack have played T. How many picks/ints/sacks/rushing yards/reception yards/etc do the SF or SEA Ts have?

And what about Lacy and Franklin? Aren't they play-makers? Don't they have a much better chance of making an impact in a depleted backfield than Jones does on a line that (while lacking in star power) is pretty well loaded with players?

cow42's picture

Franklin's just a 3rd down guy.

Lacy will get hurt in camp and miss multiple games... mark it down.

John's picture

Franklin will be awesome!

Lacy has been hurt a few times but missed very ltlle playing time in college

RC Packer Fan's picture

What is wrong with being a 3rd down back? As a 4th round draft pick anyway of contributing is huge.

I believe he will be more then a 3rd down back, I just think he'll be used more in the passing game, because he was a really good pass blocker in college, has really good hands and is really good in space. (youtube him and watch him play).

Lacy maybe will get hurt. no one knows. You can't predict injury's. No one could predict Derek Sherrod severely breaking his leg and having to have emergency surgery.

You were looking for some players that could breakout this year. I gave you a list of potential players and all you found was flaws. If you look hard enough, and long enough you'll find flaws in everything.
Your trying to take away Hayward's interceptions? Fine, how about the fact that he allowed 0 TD's all year.

And just because a player is a role player doesn't mean he can't be a great role player and have a breakout year.

Also how about giving Perry a full year before you judge him. He was learning a new position last year and ended up getting hurt.

And have you watched Aldon Smith? He is a pass rusher only. He wasn't the same player after Justin Smith got hurt. Take away Aldon Smith's sacks and what do you got. You want to take away Hayward's Interceptions take away Smiths sacks and what is he?
Also in the Packers/49ers playoff game. Aldon Smith had 2 tackles, 1 qb hit. No sacks... That's going against Marshall Newhouse.

I understand you would like to see more production. But the truth is the Packers are one of the best drafting teams in the league.

Appreciate what you have.

jeremy's picture

Those numbers are jacked by young quarterbacks. Nice try.

Tommyboy3786's picture

where did the Pack draft in each? in 2011 49ers had 7th pick in 1st and 4th in 2nd (Aldon Smith and Kaepernick)
Seattle had 6 and 14 in 1st in 2010. Guess Pack has to lay down a year or two to move up in the draft.

Walty's picture

I'll bet you. What should we make it for?

cow42's picture

you're classy.

dawg's picture

J. Franlin for Mayor 2024 in GB, got my vote!
Love this kids attitude! Good fit! Watch em.

Stanislaw's picture


That has to be the dumbest post ever - both 49'ers and Seahawks drafted their QB's in that range - of course they're going to score TD's and get more yards than a team that ALREADY has a QB but can't count in this ridiculous analysis.

Please be as cynical as possible but don't make stupid comparisons.


FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

What's your deal, man? I keep seeing you address the guy, in a logical manner, as if you think you will make a breakthrough. Stanislaw, it's been done, over, and over again. Don't waste your time.

Haven't you ever seen one of those shows where some naive female meets an ex-con, and thinks " I can fix him"? What happens every time? Ex-Con chokes a bitch!

What I'm trying to say is... Don't get murdered by an ex-con.

You're welcome.

PackerPete's picture

you're absolutely right Fitz. that's why I don't respond to the guy anymore. Just ignore. He'll drown in his own negativity.

1998's picture

Jerry Rice fumbled.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

God damn right he did.

Fish/Crane's picture

Taylor is a beefy 320-plus lb that's oversized for yow

mani2packers's picture

Lol. Ur stats are so one-sided and imbalanced cow. If u compare colts and redskins last 3 draft production to ours they would also come out ahead lol. Even panthers. Cuz of cam, rg3 and luck. Anything to put in the cheap 9er pop. 9ers will go down week 1. Cant wait to hear your excuses or maybe u disappear after being embarrassed.

zeke's picture

Don't feed the trolls...

cow42's picture

you my be right.
after looking again, qb stats would mess things up.

just doesn't seem like the Packers have been getting much productions from their drafts recently.

when all you're going to do is draft to build a team you have to do better than 1 guy a year.

as for that 49'er game week one - the season could go a thousand different ways but that particular game has only one possible outcome. i get the "any given sunday" thing, but when the talent gap is that wide it makes the outcome somewhat inevitable.

you WANT the Packers to win... but you KNOW that's not happening.

John's picture

Cow, do you really believe the bull you spout?

cow42's picture


Oppy's picture

Packers will not only beat the 49ers in the opener.. but will do so in convincing fashion.

"Write it down", as you like to say.

cow42's picture


cow42's picture

with 49'ers having the better talent... i can only assume you feel that the Packers coaching staff is going to outdo the coaching staff of SF.

did i miss something?
did the Packers hire a new D-coordinator?

Oppy's picture

Who had the better talent last season, Cow? The Packers, or the 49ers?

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