With the NFL draft and the undrafted free agency signing period now behind us it’s always a good time to look at the depth chart for the Green Bay Packers and see where things stand. Ted Thomposn did a good job in the draft filling the minor holes the Packers had and more importantly adding some key depth in some areas. Here’s a look at the offense:
Quarterbacks- Aaron Rodgers, Brett Hundley, Ryan Williams, Joe Callahan
Having two quarterbacks you can trust means you’re deep at the position in the NFL, especially since many teams are struggling to find one guy they can believe in. The Packers have to feel great about their situation with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley. Rodgers remains one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and Hundley not only looked like a capable backup last summer, but a quarterback who could net the Packers a high draft pick in a future trade. He had a long way to go after not running a pro-style offense at UCLA and struggled mightily early on, but it was amazing how far Hundley came in one training camp. He completed 45 of 65 passes (69.2%) for 630 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception. Hundley has the athleticism (4.63 40-yard dash) and height (6-foot-3) that NFL teams are looking for and now he gets a full offseason program and Mike McCarthy’s quarterback school that he didn’t get last year due to UCLA’s college schedule. Ryan Williams and Joe Callahan will likely be battling for a spot as the third quarterback on the practice squad.
Running Backs- Eddie Lacy, James Starks, John Crockett, Brandon Burks, Don Jackson
This was the position I’m surprised that the Packers did not use a draft pick on with Eddie Lacy in a contract year and James Starks turning 30 years old. This is a position you need great depth at since usually two running backs are always getting considerable playing time. All it takes is one injury to Lacy or Starks and John Crockett is getting playing time. Crockett only received significant action on Dec. 3 in Detorit when he had five carries for 22 yards. The Packers should have looked to add a pass catching running back for third downs, but they have always valued a pass protector rather than a pass catcher at the position. Lacy seems primed to returned to his classic form following his weight loss this offseason going into a contract year. Lacy is one of the more fun players to watch on the team when he is running defenders over on a regular basis. Undrafted free agents Burks and Jackson will try to steal the last spot from Crockett, or I wonder if there is a chance the Packers only keep two running backs with Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery being able to handle running back duties in an emergency.
Full Backs – Aaron Ripkowski
Ripkowski is the only full back on the roster right now and the question here is whether the Packers bring John Kuhn back. It seems unlikely they would keep two full backs again and Ripkowski might be getting a shot.
Wide Receivers- Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis, Trevor Davis, Jared Abbrederis, Ed Williams, Jamel Johnson, Herb Waters, Geronimo Allison, , Dennis Parks Devonte Robinson
This will probably be the most interesting group to watch in training camp. Jordy Nelson and Ty Montgomery have to be watched to see how they come back from injuries. Nelson is 30 years old coming off a torn ACL, so there is no guarantee he is the same player again. It was hard to know what to make of the wide receiver position coming into the draft. On one hand I wanted the Packers to draft a receiver early because can you trust either Davante Adams or Jeff Janis starting as one of the outside receivers? However, on the other hand I didn’t because the Packers had really good depth at the position and added to it with Trevor Davis. Davis can fly with his 4.37 40-yard dash time and has great hands to go along with the speed. If he can learn to beat press coverage and improve his route running the Packers could be getting a steal. Ted Thompson hates cutting rookies, so if Davis shows anything in camp he likely makes the team. Janis is a terrific special teams player in addition to having himself a great playoff game in Arizona, so it’s likely he makes the team. It seems very likely the Packers keep six receivers, so that leaves Adams and Abbrederis. Adams would likely have an advantage just because he was a second round pick who showed promise in his rookie season. What works in Abbrederis’ advantage is how much Rodgers seems to respect him.
Offensive Line- Bryan Bulaga, Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Corey Linsley, J.C. Tretter David Bakhtiari, Jason Spriggs, Lane Taylor, Kyle Murphy, Josh Walker, Don Barclay, Jeremy Vujnovich, Josh James ,Matt Rotheram, Vince Kowalski.
Mike McCarthy said last season that he had his deepest offensive line he’s ever had to work with. With the additions of Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy in the draft this year should be able to surpass it. Perhaps the best thing about the 2016 class is that Don Barclay is very likely two injuries away from making the team. He’s no longer the top backup tackle with Spriggs and Murphy here and Lane Taylor and J.C. Tretter are ahead of him in the guard rotation. Now when one of the starters get hurt Rodgers’ health won’t be in jeopardy. Taylor played well inside when he got the call in the final regular season game of the year and received a multi-year contract, so he’s likely to make the team along with Murphy and Tretter as backups. It seems likely the Packers graded Murphy higher than a sixth-round pick. This will very likely be the final year this starting five will be together, which sucks because of how great they have been the last few seasons, especially playing through injuries. The only question is who among Lang, Sitton, Bakhtiari and Tretter will Thompson prioritize to keep.