While 2016 was a great year for guys like Nick Perry, Jordy Nelson, and Davante Adams, it wasn’t the greatest for some other guys on the Packers roster. But 2016 is now in the past, and 2017 is upon us.
With the rookies in minicamp, there are five guys who need major bounceback seasons in Green Bay for the team to reach it’s potential. And for those guys, there are definitely paths to redemption for a rough 2016. So for each of the five, here are my predictions for each player.
2016: 39 tackles, 3 INT
2017 Prediction: 45 Tackles, 5 INT, 1 Sack, 1 FR, 1 TD
It was only one year ago that everyone was excited about the potential that Randall showed as a playmaking corner after a strong rookie year, but injuries and a lack of focus ruined 2016 for the Arizona State product. And while injuries did play a huge part in his struggles (groin injuries in particular are bad for corners), he does need to re-focus and be dialed in at the snap of every play in 2017.
His talent is undeniable, which is why I think he should bounce back under the tutelage of Coach Whitt. I look for more turnover producing plays as well as a much lower QBR against.
2016: 41 Tackles, 1 INT
2017 Prediction: 35 Tackles, 3 INT, 2 FR
Much like Randall, injuries also played a huge part in Year 2 for Quentin Rollins, but like his draftmate, the talent is there. His ball skills are still very strong; he just needs to get a little quicker with his recognition skills. A great fit for the slot, look for him to line up in the dime with Randall in the slot as well as each helps shut down underneath routes, with both guys jumping crossing routes and out routes with ease.
2016: 60 Receptions, 610 yards, 4 TD
2017 Prediction: 79 Receptions, 948 Yards, 7 TD, 2 PR TD
A lot of people were clamoring for Cobb to be re-structured, or even cut from the team based on just is contract this past offseason. And while statistically he hasn’t lived up to that contract as of yet, he is still a vital part of this offense. His agility and quickness in and out of breaks is top-notch and there is no one else like that on the roster right now. And now with so many other weapons on the offense (Nelson, Montgomery, Bennett, Adams, Kendricks), I’m not looking for 1200 yards or 100 catches. But 75-80 receptions and 900 yards are fine, especially with the likelihood that he will end up returning punts again.
2016: 24 Tackles, 5 Sacks, 1 FF
2017 Prediction: 53 Tackles, 12 Sacks, 3 FF, 2 FR
Clay Matthews had arguably his worst year as a pro last year. There’s no debating his struggles. But looking at his tape, when he had two functioning arms, he was productive as a pass rusher. But he did struggle to set the edge in the run game, overpursuing the plays again. But with his shoulder back at 100% and the extra motivation for him to put last year behind him, Clay should get back to his play-making form in 2017.
2016: 30 Tackles
2017 Prediction: None
Finally, Letroy Guion. He’s been one of Ted Thompson’s most shrewd and intelligent signings in recent memory, and he’s been a pretty good player during his Green Bay tenure. But he can’t get out of his own way. Suspended again for drug use, Guion is starting to not be worth the trouble. And while he provides really good insurance if the young defensive linemen don’t make a jump, I don’t see him being on this team once his suspension ends in Week 5. If Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, and Christian Ringo all grow, Guion will be cut before his suspension ends.——————
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.