When building a roster, the Packers have it a lot better than most teams. Despite having superior talent than a majority of the NFL, they also have the versatility that opponents only dream of.
With so many players able to play all over the field in numerous roles, that gives Mike McCarthy and his staff a chance to keep some of the more developmental players on the roster, allowing them a chance to grow into productive NFL players.
When looking at the roster, the Packers have five special players, guys who are invaluable for their talent and their versatility. These five individuals and their roles will allow guys like Jayrone Elliott, LaDarius Gunter, and other guys to have a chance on an NFL roster. Counting down the five most versatile Packers, here we go.
#5) TJ Lang
TJ is a rare breed in today’s NFL. A throwback to the old days where lineman were truly nasty and dangerous in the trenches. He will say that he has a chip on his shoulder, but it’s more like a Redwood. And while he has a permanent place at right guard in the starting lineup, he is the first guy to move around if injuries hit. With experience at the left guard, center, and right tackle spots, he has moved around and has been solid to exceptional in all of them. His ability to move around may allow Green Bay to only keep eight and dress seven offensive linemen on certain game days.
#4) Randall Cobb
There’s not much more to be said of Randall Cobb than what everyone has heard. He is arguably the most dangerous two way running-receiving threat in football, able to lineup as a flanker, slot receiver, or in the backfield. But he can also throw the football as well. A quarterback at Kentucky, he has a strong arm and surprising accuracy. Throw in his return skills and you have a Swiss Army Knife.
#3) Josh Boyd
Josh Boyd will likely never be a household name or an All-Pro. But he fills his role in Green Bay and is effective at it. He is one of the best run stuffers on the defense and has started to develop some pass rush moves. The favorite to start the season at defensive end, he also has the ability to play on the nose and to also play inside in the nickel package. A rotational player who brings a lot to the table, he allows guys like Christian Ringo and Mike Pennel the chance of making the team.
#2) Clay Matthews
Last season, there was no way that Clay Matthews would be on this list. Fresh off his massive contract extension, Clay was seen as the premier pass rusher in the NFC North, and he had developed strong run stopping and coverage skills on the outside. But he was never the leader on the field, never making the calls. But after his move inside halfway through last season, he started to develop those traits and could be that guy this season. Currently working inside during training camp, he will be moved all over the field, playing inside and out, causing havoc wherever he lines up.
#1) Micah Hyde
Finally, we get to the king of versatility, Micah Hyde. The third year man from Iowa made a name for himself in Iowa City with his ability to play corner or safety, and he has brought that skills set to Green Bay as well. Starting out as a rookie in the slot, he was a sure tackler and a smart player beyond his rookie status, but his value skyrocketed last season when he started at safety until Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was ready to take over and then moved back over to his natural slot corner spot. He figures to remain in that spot this year, but he can also move back to safety if needed. He also is invaluable on special teams, covering kicks as well as returning them.
Now these five guys will each fill their main role and do it very well. But they offer so many other options if something were to happen that they allow Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson to be able to build their roster with some of the guys who aren’t quite ready to play but won’t make it onto the practice squad. That ability can and has gone a long way when building this team. It should pay off again in 2015.——————
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.