Sunday, February 13, 2011

Final Rankings of the 2010 Green Bay Packers...Super Bowl XLV Champions

The Green Bay Packers suffered a ton of season ending injuries on their way to Super Bowl XLV. Just to put in perspective how many good players the Packers lost and still won Super Bowl XLV, I ranked the 16 players the Packers placed on injured reserve through the 2010 season.

If you look at my initial rankings of the initial 53-man roster I was clearly was wrong on: C.J. Wilson, Jarrett Bush, Charlie Peprah, Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk, and Tramon Williams.

If you look at my midseason rankings of the 53-man roster I was clearly wrong on: James Starks and Erik Walden.

Here are my final rankings of the 53-man roster that won Super Bowl XLV with my midseason and initial rankings in parenthesis (NR means they were not on the roster at the time of the rankings):

#53 (53, 53) - Nick McDonald (G):
With Colledge, Spitz, and Lang ahead of McDonald on the depth chart for the entire season the Packers must view McDonald as a starter at guard or center sooner rather than later or they would have cut McDonald and signed him to the practice squad. That or McDonald has pictures of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy open lip kissing.

#52 (NR, NR) - Evan Dietrich-Smith (G/C):
Thanks to 10,000 season ending injuries, Evan Dietrich-Smith became the lucky recipient of a Super Bowl ring despite being cut by the Packers earlier in the year, playing most of the 2010 season with the Seattle Seahawks then getting resigned by the Packers on New Years Eve.

#51 (50, NR) - Diyral Briggs (OLB):
With all the injuries the Packers suffered at outside linebacker, Briggs still never took any meaningful snaps for the Packers. Barring injury, Clay Matthews will be one of the starting outside linebackers for the next decade in Green Bay. Who will fill the other spot? Not Briggs because he is buried on the depth chart behind Francois, Jones, Poppinga, Walden, and Zombo.

#50 (NR, NR) - Graham Harrell (QB):
After throwing for what felt like 100,000 yards and 1,000 touchdowns in college, it is hard to tell whether Harrell is an NFL caliber quarterback because he has never taken a meaningful NFL snap.

#49 (NR, NR) - Josh Gordy (CB):
The first three cornerback spots are settler, after that, it is wide-open competition at cornerback. Gordy did enough at the end of 2010 to get a look in 2011.

#48 (NR, NR) - Robert Francois (OLB):
Having been cut and resigned more than any other player in 2010, Francois served as the emergency outside linebacker for the Packers thanks to all the injuries they suffered opposite Claymaker. Francois didn’t do anything to distinguish himself from the rest of the group though, so the chances of him playing for the Packers in 2011 team are slim.

#47 (48, NR) - Matt Wilhelm (MLB):
Congrats on getting a ring because with the bloated number of linebackers on the roster (see Briggs and Francois discussion above), your days are numbered in Green Bay.

#46 (33, 40) - Donald Lee (TE):
The poor man’s Bubba Franks had horrible hands all season and provided little in the way of blocking. According to all news reports Lee is the nicest guy in the world, which can be the only basis for why Lee wasn't cut during the 2010 season.

#45 (45, NR) - Atari Bigby (S):
A-hole-agent Drew Rosenhaus reportedly gets clients by only taking money on their second contract. That might be part of the reason that Bigby held out for an extension before the 2010 season. When Bigby returned to the field he re-injured his ankle and was never fully healthy.

#44 (42, NR) - Dimitri Nance (RB):
Never seized the opportunities given. Despite Brandon Jackson probably leaving via free agency, Nance is still behind Grant, Starks, and Kuhn (assuming he is resigned) even before the 2011 NFL Draft where the Packers will most likely draft a running back.

#43 (41, 37) - Brandon Underwood (CB):
Despite being given every chance to hold down the nickel cornerback job, Underwood never recovered from his alleged late night escapades before the start of the 2011 season.

#42 (38, 47) - Tom Crabtree (TE):
Move over Mark Chmura because there is a new white tight end with a Super Bowl ring in town. Crabtree is not a lock to make the team in 2011 so I advise against following Chmura’s footsteps by attending a prom party.

#41 (40, 48) - Pat Lee (CB):
Quickly turning into the second round version of Ahmad Carroll.

#40 (35, 35) - Jason Spitz (G/C):
At some point Spitz has to stay healthy. The guy doesn’t even play in games but continues to get injured. If Spitz was healthy there is chance Wells is playing center for another team but it looks like Spitz’s inability to stay healthy for any extended period of time means he will be hanging out in another NFL team’s training room next year.

#39 (34, 31) - T.J. Lang (G):
Looked like a starter at right tackle or left guard heading into 2010 but a wrist injury held Lang back. Lang has a small window to get healthy unless he wants to become the new school Jason Spitz.

#38 (29, 38) - Korey Hall (FB):
Not a good year for Hall to be a free agent with all the talent the Packers have on the roster. Hall struggled to stay healthy in 2010 so he will most likely move to another team in 2011.

#37 (43, 51) - Brett Swain (WR):
The Fifth Wheel of the impressive wide receiver group. Swain is a valuable contributor on special teams but that probably won’t be enough for him to make the roster in 2011. The only way Swain makes the 2011 roster is if Jones leaves via free agency and the Packers don’t draft another wide receiver in the 2011 NFL Draft.

#36 (23, 39) - Frank Zombo (OLB):
The converted defensive end played well at outside linebacker, when healthy, in 2010. If Zombo can complete the transformation he looks poised for a breakout year in 2011.

#35 (49, NR) - Erik Walden (OLB):
A midseason pick-up that actually played meaningful snaps to help the Packers get to Super Bowl XLV. If Walden can stay healthy, he has a chance to unseat Brad Jones and Frank Zombo opposite Claymaker.

#34 (31, 49) - Andrew Quarless (TE):
Unfortunately Quarless looks more like a homeless man’s Jermichael Finley than even a poor man's. Unless Quarless can get a new set of hands before 2011 he will get to drop passes for another NFL team in the near future.

#33 (36, NR) - Jarius Wynn (DE):
After getting cut at the end of training camp, Wynn stayed in shape waiting for the call. Good move because Wynn looks like he will be a solid contributor along the defense line for the next few years.

#32 (21, 28) - Brandon Jackson (RB):
The second round of the draft has been boom (Collins, Jennings, and Nelson) or bust (Brohm, Jackson, and Lee) during the Thompson regime. After Grant went down for the season in Week 1, fantasy owners rushed to add Jackson hoping for 1,200 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Well 700 of the quietest rushing yards and 3 touchdowns later, Packers fans and fantasy owners hate Jackson.

#31 (37, 45) - Jarrett Bush (S):
At the start of the 2010 season I was President of the Cut Jarrett Bush Fan Club. Bush’s play throughout 2010, capped by an interception in Super Bowl XLV, guaranteed my resignation. Sorry to my fellow fan club members, I know this sounds like blasphemy but Bush’s special teams play and occasional help on defense makes him a valuable member of the team.

#30 (47, 50) - Quinn Johnson (FB):
Showed flashes of being the sledgehammer fullback that the Packers drafted out of LSU in the 5th Round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Johnson needs to be more consistent if he wants to hold off Kuhn be the full time starter at fullback.

#29 (32, 52) - C.J. Wilson (DE):
Showed the ability to play the run and the pass at defensive end in the 3-4 in 2010, a really underrated skill in the NFL. Wilson will compete with Mike Neal to start opposite Ryan Pickett in 2011.

#28 (52, NR) - James Starks (RB):
Starks would have been a first or second round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft if he was healthy his senior year in college in 2009. Starks looks like a younger version of Ryan Grant, which could give the Packers a formidable 1-2 punch at running back in 2011.

#27 (39, NR) - Howard Green (DT):
Despite how well Walden played in spurts, Green was the "under the radar midseason pickup of the year" by Thompson. Raji played almost every down even with Green on the roster so I can't imagine what the Packers would have done without Green.

#26 (28, 42) - Brett Goode (LS):
Steady and rarely heard from, a great thing for a long snapper.

#25 (25, 27) - Mason Crosby (K):
Crosby will almost certainly be resigned but the Packers need to think long and hard about whether they want to use a pick in the 2011 NFL Draft on a kicker.

#24 (22, 29) - John Kuhn (FB):
The poor man’s Peyton Hillis is scheduled to become a free agent. The Packers don’t want to break the bank for Kuhn but he was a valuable jack-of-all-trades in the backfield last year for the Packers and should be on the team in 2011.

#23 (30, 26) - Matt Flynn (QB):
Brett Favre had a handful of backups (Aaron Brooks, Mark Brunell, and Matt Hasselbeck) that turned into starting quarterbacks elsewhere in the NFL. Matt Flynn looks like the first one that will follow in the same footsteps instead of backing up Aaron Rodgers.

#22 (26, 34) - Tim Masthay (P):
The ghost of Craig Hentrich looks like it finally left Green Bay. For Masthay’s performance against the New York Jets alone he deserves the starting job in 2011.

#21 (10, 11) - Cullen Jenkins (DE):
One of the biggest contributors and personalities on the defensive line probably played his last snap for the Packers. Jenkins appeared in every game in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2009 but missed games in 2006, 2008, and 2010. Jenkins still has a few good seasons left in him but the Packers don’t usually like to invest in aging players especially with so many up and coming defensive lineman (Neal, Wilson, and Wynn) on the roster.

#20 (19, 21) - James Jones (WR):
The boom-bust star of the Packers last year. Every time Rodgers throws deep to Jones Mike McCarthy turns into Robert Loggia from Necessary Roughness screaming “don’t throw it to stone hands!!!!” For every amazing catch (playoffs against the Falcons) there are the brain farts (playoffs against the Eagles). Jones is set to break the bank as a free agent but is a little overvalued in my book because he played as the 3rd option on a potent offense, which is a far cry from being a consistent first or second option on a decent team.

#19 (17, 22) - Daryn Colledge (G):
Played well as the dead man walking of the offensive line. There is something to be said for continuity along the offensive line but there is going to be turnover with Clifton and Wells aging. It makes sense to insert a new guy at left guard next year because 2011 is most likely Clifton’s last year playing for the Packers, which will give the new left guard a year under his belt before someone takes over for Clifton.

#18 (13, 12) - Donald Driver (WR):
Driver is still one of the biggest leaders on the team despite being 4th on the depth chart in terms of production at wide receiver in 2010.

#17 (20, 41) - Charlie Peprah (S):
The surprise retread of the year was Peprah being an integral part of the secondary for the Packers. Peprah played so well that Morgan Burnett is going to have to work hard to unseat Peprah as the starter opposite Nick Collins at safety for the Packers in 2011.

#16 (16, 30) - Sam Shields (CB):
No doubt the biggest surprise of the year on defense outside of Peprah was Shields going from being an undrafted former wide receiver to the starting nickel cornerback on a Super Bowl champion in less than a year. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers was able to move Charles Woodson all over the secondary because of how much he trusted Shields to cover the opposition’s second best wide receiver.

#15 (24, 19) - Jordy Nelson (WR):
The rich man’s Bill Schroeder is making a case to take over for Donald Driver sooner rather than later as the #2 receiver behind Greg Jennings.

#14 (18, 36) - Desmond Bishop (MLB):
Bishop earned the right to be one of the two starting middle linebackers for the Packers in 2011 but Mr. August is going to have to prove he is Mr. Fullseason next year.

#13 (12, 15) - Scott Wells (C):
The Packers tried to replace Wells a number of times because he is not the biggest guy or the strongest guy on the team but Wells continued to perform well and held off the competition.

#12 (14, 25) - Bryan Bulaga (T):
The left tackle of the future turned out to be the starting right tackle of now in 2010. I know it might seem crazy but without Bulaga the Packers would not have been able to absorb the loss of right tackle Mark Tauscher and most likely would have missed the playoffs.

#11 (11, 8) - Ryan Pickett (DE):
Pickett’s days with the Packers looked numbered when the Packers moved from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense in 2009. Fortunately the versatility that Pickett brings to the table is the perfect compliment to all-world defensive tackle B.J. Raji. Much like Raji, Pickett’s impact on the defense can’t be measured through statistics alone. In fact, half of Claymaker’s sacks in 2010 should be spit between Raji and Pickett because of how many offensive linemen they occupied for Claymaker.

#10 (15, 32) - A.J. Hawk (MLB):
Performed well as the quarterback of the defense when Barnett was lost for the season. Hawk reminds me of a pitcher drafted to be a stud-starting pitcher but turned out to be an above average middle relief pitcher. On the positive side of the equation you have a dependable arm coming out of the bullpen, unfortunately you don’t have the starting pitcher you expected.

#9 (9, 14) - Chad Clifton (T):
Old-man-river made it through another season with a few bumps and bruises along the way. Despite being one of the oldest guys on the roster, Clifton played great in 2010 anchoring the left side of the offensive line. The 2011 season might be Clifton's farewell tour on his way to the Packers Hall of Fame.

#8 (7, 6) - Nick Collins (S):
Collins’s pick-six in Super Bowl XLV finally put him on the map for some of the more casual NFL fans and put him neck-and-neck with LeRoy Butler for the best Packers safety of the last 25 years.

#7 (6, 2) - Charles Woodson (CB):
Woodson was picked on more in 2010 than in years past in large part because of how well Tramon Williams played in 2010. Unfortunately an injury prevented Woodson from playing in the second half of Super Bowl XLV but that shouldn’t detract from how well Woodson played in 2010 en route to winning his first Super Bowl ring.

#6 (5, 10) - Josh Sitton (G):
Sitton was named offensive lineman of the year by the NFL alumni association and looks like the brightest star along the offensive line for the Packers for the next decade. With the influx of young, impressive defensive tackles like Ndamukong Suh, guards like Sitton are going to become just as important as having stud offensive tackle in the NFL for the next decade.

#5 (8, 3) - Greg Jennings (WR):
Jennings is the perfect wide receiver for the West Coast offense. The loss of Finley for the year allowed Rodgers to get on the same page as Jennings as his #1 target and Jennings took full advantage of the increased attention to put up huge numbers in 2010. If you forget how many big plays Rodgers and Jennings had in 2010, check out this video.

#4 (4, 16) - Tramon Williams (CB):
The Packers locked up Williams long-term in the middle of 2010 at what looked like a pretty expensive contract. With how well Williams played by the end of 2010, he quickly became one of the most underpaid as opposed to overpaid defensive backs in the NFL. Williams played so well that future hall of famer Charles Woodson was the second best cornerback on the roster behind Williams in 2010.

#3 (3, 13) - B.J. Raji (NT):
After a holdout at the start of 2009, Raji played most of the season injured and never fulfilled all the expectations that go along with being a top-10 pick. Good things come to those who wait because Raji played outstanding in 2010. Raji played so well in 2010 that of the 8 players taken before Raji (Matthew Stafford, Jason Smith, Tyson Jackson, Aaron Curry, Mark Sanchez, Andre Smith, Darrius Heyward-Bey, and Eugene Monroe) the only player that would probably go ahead of Raji if they re-did the draft is Mark Sanchez.

#2 (1, 4) - Clay Matthews (OLB):
The Claymaker looks like a stud outside linebacker that could win multiple NFL defensive player of the year awards over the next decade. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but let’s enjoy the ride while it lasts. Brian Cushing, Claymaker’s best friend in college, has been linked with the use of performance-enhancing drugs. My feeling is that Claymaker is smarter than that, especially because his father played in the NFL. Unfortunately everything questioned in 2010 because of the pervasive use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports over the last few decades.

#1 (2, 1) - Aaron Rodgers (QB):
The performance Rodgers had against the Atlanta Falcons in the playoffs is required viewing for any player that wants to be a successful quarterback in the NFL. Despite suffering a few concussions in 2010, Rodgers put together one of the best seasons in the history of the franchise. With one Super Bowl under his Championship Belt, Rodgers is possibility the brightest star in the NFL right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment