With OTAs wrapping up and training camp just around the corner, the Packers look to be set. The offense looks poised to break records, and the defense looks to take another leap to the top 10. But for some players, this year is the last chance to make an impact. With their contracts up at the end of the season, they need to look at their role and what they can do to get another chance in Green Bay after this year. So, let’s look at the best and worst case scenarios for the remaining members of the 2012 Draft Class.
#53 Nick Perry, LB
An extremely talented player, Perry has shown flashes of the skill that made him the 28th pick back in 2012, but he hasn’t able to be consistent. While he hasn’t developed as a pass rusher as expected, he has been a very good run defender over the past couple of years, and last year was the best run stopping linebacker on the team. As a pass rusher, he struggled with anything that wasn’t a bull rush. Julius Peppers can really help him, and if Perry learns from him, he can be very good.
Best Case: Starts in the base, 70 tackles, 8 sacks, 4 FF.
Worst Case: Plays only 30% of snaps, 30 tackles, 3 sacks, is not offered a contract after the season.
#29 Casey Hayward, CB
Hayward gets his first shot on the outside this season as the replacement for Tramon Williams at corner, but it comes with some risks. He has struggled with injuries, especially to his legs, and while he has been great in the slot, we don’t know what he can do on the outside. After drafting two corners, Hayward is on notice and is playing for a contract and the long-term job opposite Sam Shields. I believe that he can do it, but he needs to make the plays he did his first couple of years.
Best Case: 16 starts, 8 INT, 50 tackles, Completion percentage of less than 50, Pro Bowl.
Worst Case: struggles outside, moves to slot and the rookies take over outside. He remains a good nickel corner, but his upside is now limited, as is his earning potential.
#76 Mike Daniels, DL
We all know about Daniels and what he brings to the team. He brings the meanest streak on the team, and can be absolutely dominant in the trenches. The number one priority for the team is to get him signed long term. He is the vocal leader on the team and his heart alone makes him worth keeping. If he plays like he did last year in an even bigger role, there is no reason that he can’t be an All-Pro Player.
Best Case: 50 tackes, 12 sacks, 3 FF, All-Pro and a long term contract
Worst Case: 30 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 FF, still gets long term contract.
#67 Don Barclay, OL
A revelation as an undrafted free agent in 2012, he started a few games as a rookie and then took over at Right Tackle after Bryan Bulaga’s injury and held his own. His future is as more of a swing lineman who can start in a pinch and be valuable, but he is probably not an everyday starter. He is a high character, high motor player who is coming off a major knee injury, but he should be around for a while.
Best Case: Plays in all 16 games on special teams, but doesn’t see the field on offense except on some goal line plays.
Other Best Cast: He is forced into action due to injury and holds his own, giving the line continuity and they don’t miss a beat.
Worst Case: He gets injured again or struggled on the field after missing a year.
#28 Sean Richardson, S
Our last player is one who almost left for Oakland, but was brought back by Ted Thompson, which makes you optimistic for his future in Green and Gold. Richardson is a big safety at 6’2″ and that could allow him to see time in the base defense. A punishing tackler, he is also a valuable special teamer who will anchor every unit. Bringing him back is another move toward shoring up special teams, and he could be the leader of that group like Jarrett Bush was. Except Richardson is much better at defense and he can be a swiss army knife for Dom Capers.
Best Case: Sees defensive snaps every game, 2 INT, a number of big stops int he run game. He anchors the special teams and gets 20+ tackles in the kick coverage game. Pro Bowl.
Worst Case: Struggles on defense and becomes a special team only guy.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.