Packers Stock Report: OLB Questions Linger as Regular Season Opener Looms

With the 2017 regular season upon us, the rubber is beginning to meet the road for those included on the Packers’ 53-man roster after cutdown Saturday. The composition of the roster itself is essentially an indicator of whose stock is trending up and down, but let’s take a look at who found themselves on either side of the coin at the end of the weekend.

Rising

Rookie RBs: While no one would have been surprised if Green Bay had attempted to stash at least of their 2017 draftees at running back on the active roster, it was a bit of a shock to see all three remain. Jamaal Williams was the clear favorite to win the backup spot all throughout training camp, with Aaron Jones and Devante Mays seemingly locked in a battle for a roster spot. The Packers instead deemed all three rookies worthy, giving them four running backs to go along with fullback Aaron Ripkowski.

Justin Vogel: Consistency defined Vogel’s camp, and his performance against the Rams in the final preseason only served to cement his place on the roster. If he can continue to strike the ball with the same distance and hang time, he’ll be a more than serviceable field-flipper for the Packers.

Lenzy Pipkins: After a strong start to the preseason, Pipkins saw his chances slip into doubt heading into the preseason finale. Despite not turning in a stellar performance against the Rams, the undrafted free agent’s body of work was apparently enough to garner one of the seven spots the Packers gave to cornerbacks on the first 53 of the season.

Lane Taylor: On Monday, the 27-year old guard signed a three-year extension worth $16.5 million in new money. Taylor’s spot was never in jeopardy, but it’s now abundantly clear where the Packers stand on the former undrafted free agent, who stepped into the starting guard spot after the team cut Josh Sitton last year.

Falling

Rookie WRs: Really, you could probably read this as “young receivers,” since Green Bay’s decision to keep just five wideouts includes just one player—Trevor Davis—not entering at least their fourth season in the league. 2017 draftees DeAngelo Yancey and Malachi Dupre were both released over the weekend, with Yancey returning to the team on the practice squad. The Packers were also able to get Michael Clark, the extremely raw but potentially promising rookie, through waivers and back to the practice squad. Perhaps the most disappointing news of the weekend came when they released Max McCaffrey, who had been having a very good camp, and failed to get him back the Green Bay.

OLB: Despite the addition of a seasoned veteran to the room, the Packers continue to walk a tightrope at outside. After Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, Green Bay is now looking at Kyler Fackrell and Ahmad Brooks as depth at the position. Underwhelming would seem sum up Fackrell’s camp, while we’ll have to wait and see what Brooks has left to offer at what has been the team’s biggest question mark since the beginning of the offseason. The Packers also claimed rookie Chris Odom off waivers from Atlanta, though it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be counted on too heavily in the immediate future. Green Bay is betting big on Matthews and Perry staying healthy.

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Comments (37)

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Bearmeat's picture

September 05, 2017 at 11:06 am

IMO the young WRs were all let go because none had performances that put them in the "Must keep" category, and there was enough of them that TT knew that even if a couple got poached or chose to leave, he'd have the opportunity to stash a couple promising WRs on the practice squad.

I too was very surprised TT kept all 5 RBs, and I'm upset that 9 OL guys were kept. The bottom 3 are not quality NFL players at this point, and may never be. Losing Price was a blow.

I'm excited to see what Brooks and Odom bring to the table at OLB. It couldn't be worse than what Fackell and Elliot did all camp. And CM3 for that matter.

Pass rush is concerning still.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 05, 2017 at 09:28 pm

Dial is better than Price. Dial is better than Ringo. Dial signed for $775K, so he is not even that much more expensive. This worked out well.

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dschwalm's picture

September 07, 2017 at 07:09 am

<p>CM3 is just about finished. &nbsp;He was just terrible in the few snaps he played. &nbsp;One good play and that&#39;s it.</p>

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lou's picture

September 05, 2017 at 11:35 am

In reference to OLB, Brooks has been a "stud" and has the flexibility per Moss and McCarthy to fit in almost any of their defensive schemes, that is a real positive, In addition they will have a chance to gauge Odom's talents and at some point you would hope he either lights a fire under Fackrell or shows enough to move ahead of him on the depth chart. Questions are still at OLB but there are positives as well. Did anyone notice that Vogel was assigned #8 after wearing #5 in the pre-season, that is a great way to honor Paul Hornung who although the number is not officially retired, the man who they named the Super Bowl Trophy after proclaimed it retired, that is enough for me.

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Qoojo's picture

September 05, 2017 at 11:54 am

Fackrell has one more offseason to gain more strength and one more year to learn some new moves. If he has the same sort of performance next year, then he will probably be released.

I would not get too excited about Odom until passes what is essentially a tryout period. Odom looked better on tape than the Packers 53rd guy, and they need help at OLB. So he gets a shot at filling the role.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 05, 2017 at 01:00 pm

Fackrell is already 26. He was old as a rookie - the learning curve needed to be very quick with him and it hasn't been. If he hasn't become a solid rotational player by the end of this year, the writing is on the wall.

As it was he should have been cut. But Ted gonna Ted. He keeps his own until their expiration date is well past.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 05, 2017 at 09:37 pm

I disagree with you about Fackrell. I disagree with you on the need to keep 9 OL (which seems to me to have been an obvious necessity). Now, you might with more justice blame TT for not acquiring better interior OL during the offseason, and/or on the waiver wire, but if the choice is restricted to the names on the 90 man roster, 9 had to stay.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 12:38 pm

I wasn't surprised that they kept all 3 rookie RB's. I was actually more surprised that they only kept 5 WR's and 10 OL. Also I was mildly surprised they kept 7 CB's to go with 5 S. I knew they would keep 5 S, but was surprised that they kept 7 CB's.

The OLB position obviously changed a lot over the weekend. Losing Elliott and bringing in Brooks and Odom.
The biggest surprise to me was probably trading Elliott.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 05, 2017 at 01:04 pm

At least we got something from him. Elliot is not an NFL quality player consistently. He's a tease. He will always be a tease. Which is better than Fackrell, who at this point, is just not an NFL quality player at all.

Sorry to be that guy, but I told you before OTA's started that our OLB room was in BIG trouble. That our starters would get hurt and that the backups sucked.

Turns out I was more prophetic than even I thought.

At least TT admitted defeat before disaster completely hit.

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billybobton's picture

September 05, 2017 at 01:27 pm

I agree with most but I am not on board with Teddie admitting disaster. So much has been different with the GB front office since AROD called teddie out that either (a) teddie got the message; or (b) someone else did not want to see AROD on another team talking about getting 'all in' from the front office.

What is the saying about leopards and spots?

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 01:35 pm

I know others didn't like Elliott as much as me. I still am a fan. I just saw him making plays every time he was on the field.

The one I was more worried about was Fackrell. I was hoping we would see a year 2 jump. But with what I have seen I think in all honesty I would have preferred to have traded Fackrell then Elliott. Now we have to hope for a year 3 jump.

What worried me about the OLB position was the depth. Though that looks a ton better with Brooks now added.
I'm happy Thompson went out and got him. In the previous years he never would have.
There is a lot of speculation going on, that Wolf has more pull in these decisions. Which if its true would explain why they have gone crazy in FA.

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lou's picture

September 05, 2017 at 06:05 pm

I liked Elliott as well but unfortunately every time he had opportunities from scrimmage he was always less than 100% healthy so he never could cement himself in the defensive scheme. Zook is the guy who will miss him the most, he was a core special team standout (even when not 100%). I do not believe as most do that Wolf is the logical successor to Thompson especially now that Dorsey is available again and Russ Ball has ascended in the eyes of Murphy.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 05, 2017 at 09:42 pm

RC and Bearmeat are concerned that we didn't see a 2nd year jump from Fackrell and wish Fackrell had been traded instead of Elliott. Hmmm.

I was disappointed not to see a 2nd year jump, or a 3rd year jump, and finally very disappointed not to see a 4th year jump from Elliott.

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croatpackfan's picture

September 06, 2017 at 03:02 am

I see people doubt that all the roster moves were done by TT. Can you TGR, please calculate amount of money TT spent on all FA signing this season and compare with, let say 2014, when he signed Julius Peppers. Please include Packers FA in that equation. I believe you'll do it better than anyone!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 06, 2017 at 07:20 am

That's not so easy. You'll have to decide what to do with extensions. Here goes:

2017: Bennett, Brooks*, House, Evans, RJF, Kendricks, Dial, Odom and Goode increased our 2017 cap by $18.095M. Bennett and Kendricks have multi-year contracts: using AAV, that increased the payroll commitment by $22.33M (Bennett's cap # for 2017 is only $3.5M, but his AAV is $7.0M). TT signed Elliott for $1.6M, including a $400K signing bonus, but traded him, leaving us with a $400K dead money hit. Does that count? We also extended Taylor. That is a signing in 2017, but only $1.25M extra was paid to Taylor in this cap year. Using cap amount, those 2 transactions increased our payroll from the $18.095M to $19.695M. Re-signing Perry and Barclay increased the cap for 2017 to $26.645. Perry's cap for 2017 is just $5.925M, but his AAV is $11.80M. Using AAV and including Bennett, Kendricks, Perry, and Goode, etc., our commitments increased by $35.155M. You figure out what to do with Taylor's extension: he had an AAV of $2.075M but it now will be $5.5M. I may have missed some of the players we re-signed, mind.

2014: We signed Peppers and Guion. Their salary caps hits for 2014 totaled $4.485M. Their AAV totaled $9.655M. We re-signed Shields, Burnett, Neal, Starks, Flynn, and Raji**. Those signings increased the 2014 cap by $16.617M; adding in Peppers and Guion, plus Jordy's cap increase, our cap for 2014 increased by $22.652M. Using AAV, our commitments increased by $36.295M. Then you can decide how to figure Nelson's extension. He had been scheduled to have a cap hit of $4.375M (AAV was just $3.767M), but the extension increased his 2014 cap hit by $1.55M and his AAV increased by $5.995M from $3.767M to $9.762. We let Finley, Francois, Jolly, Joe Thomas walk. Boiling it all down:

2014: Increases: Cap $22.652M; AAV $36.295M ($42.29M w Jordy).
2017: Increases: Cap $26.695M; AAV $34.69M ($38.12M w Lane)

There are differences between the years. Due to all the one-year contracts in 2017, the cap for that year increases noticeably more than in 2014. However, due to all the multi-year contracts in 2014 which resulted in low cap #s in the first year, the AAV and cap hits in later years substantially increased.

*Brooks numbers still not available.
** Raji signed for $4M 1 yr. Those are the Cap # and AAV I used. He was injured and did not play. He only counted $1.4M against the cap.

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Spock's picture

September 06, 2017 at 10:06 am

TGR, Thanks for all the number crunching. I appreciate your mathematical work (and time spent) on answering Croat's question. As always, I bow to your prowess at doing this. :)

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croatpackfan's picture

September 06, 2017 at 02:50 pm

<p>Thank you very much! <img alt="yes" height="20" src="https://cheeseheadtv.com/sites/all/libraries/ckeditor/plugins/smiley/ima... title="yes" width="20" /></p>

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Bearmeat's picture

September 06, 2017 at 06:38 am

No. That's RC.

I wanted both of them gone.

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MarkinMadison's picture

September 05, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Other than the moves at OLB there was nothing really surprising about this cut down. I don't expect all of the linemen or running backs to stick around for the remainder of the season. I just don't think the Packers are sure what they have yet.

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dobber's picture

September 05, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Rising: Christian Ringo. Won a job on the active roster with a good camp and has a real chance to contribute in a rotational role on Sunday.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 01:36 pm

I would say that is true, but what happens if they sign Dial?

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dobber's picture

September 05, 2017 at 01:50 pm

...then maybe not rising as far as he'd hoped! ;)

I thought Ringo looked good in the preseason, but if there's a better player who fits a role the Packers need?

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 03:02 pm

yeah, I thought he played really well this preseason. I felt he earned a spot on the 53 for sure.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 03:42 pm

Cutting Ringo to sign Dial...

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Finwiz's picture

September 05, 2017 at 04:17 pm

Keep Ringo and dump Gunter before ATL matches him with JJ again. Disaster movie #2.

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Oppy's picture

September 05, 2017 at 08:01 pm

I don't think we're going to lose CBs 1-4 to injury again.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 08:50 pm

Honestly. I would have kept Ringo as well. i thought he earned a spot. But sounds like Adams is coming back soon, and they only need so many DL.

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dobber's picture

September 05, 2017 at 07:56 pm

...apparently I am a jinx.

Sorry, Christian.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 08:50 pm

Well, he earned a spot on the 53.

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Ibleedgreenmore's picture

September 05, 2017 at 01:42 pm

They will have a tough time the first two games the next games should be better. We need to keep the injuries down or Rodgers were have to be magic man again.

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Spock's picture

September 06, 2017 at 10:09 am

Ibleedgreenmore, So, you want Rodgers to be "Majic Man"? LOL. Sorry, couldn't resist. :)

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ricky's picture

September 05, 2017 at 02:09 pm

There are problem areas on this team that could lead to big problems very quickly. The OL is extremely thin once you get past the starters. And Bulaga and Linsley have shown they are questionable as far as remaining healthy. Speaking of lack of depth, the OLBers are also a potential problem. Depending on CMIII and Perry to play every week is foolish, IMO. Matthews has been neutralized by opposing offenses for a while. And when CMIII went down last year, Perry disappeared from the radar.
But, what do I know?

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Handsback's picture

September 05, 2017 at 02:59 pm

Wow, these articles are being pumped out like crazy. A big hats-off to all of you writers for the timely and well written articles.
I think saying the rookie WRs falling is maybe a reach. This year there were no guys who could make a difference. Last year many of these guys would have been kept, but adding Bennett/Hendricks and having Monty in the backfield just limits the need for marginal wideouts that need a few years of seasoning. They kept the two they could, (I heard McCaffery didn't want to go to the PS again and they didn't think Dupree had as much potential as Yancey) so they added in other areas of weakness like the Oline.
I was surprised that they kept Pipkins verses Price, but if Mt. Adams is going to play in 4 weeks....why have Price. Also don't know about Odom, but Brooks should be able to fill in as needed. So yes the OLB is weaker, the Oline is weaker, but every other position was strengthen and now is the time to see who can go out there and help the Pack get the wins.

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RCPackerFan's picture

September 05, 2017 at 03:11 pm

Yeah, i agree with what your saying as well.

While OLB maybe thinner past Brooks, something to consider is that they might start using more 3 DL. Lowry is a guy that could be a good rusher on the outside.

Also now that they signed Quinton Dial he would be a good fit at 5 technique.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

September 05, 2017 at 09:48 pm

Entering TC our 3rd OLB was scheduled to be Fackrell or Elliott. Now it is Brooks. That is a massive upgrade in probable 2017 production. I think Brooks is better overall than Peppers in 2016, probably in 2015 as well. Peppers declined against the run quite a bit in his last two seasons with GB.

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Lphill's picture

September 05, 2017 at 08:03 pm

If I had a choice this season between Brooks or Peppers I think most would go with Brooks , he got a second chance coming to the Packers and a chance for a championship I think that is pretty good motivation , I think the move pays off .

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Cartwright's picture

September 06, 2017 at 10:34 am

Waiting for and obtaining a caliber guy like like Brooks is all Ted needed to do to keep the train rolling should injury strike. Everything else is window dressing.

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