Friday, September 6, 2013

The 53 - Initial Player Rankings for 2013 GBP

I wanted to rank The 53 before the Green Bay Packers play the San Francisco 49ers on the road to open their 2013 season so that I am on the record with my initial thoughts about The 53.  Just as a refresher, these rankings take into account age, skill, contract, and positional depth.  Going forward, I plan to post updated rankings of The 53 by noon the day after each game.  Not only will I rank the players 1 through 53 but I will write about players whose rankings change drastically from the previous week.  Without further adu, here are my thoughts on a few players from The 53:

The Initial 53
1. Aaron Rodgers (QB)
2. Clay Matthews (OLB)
3. Josh Sitton (G)
4. B.J. Raji (DL)
5. Jermichael Finley (TE)
6. Randall Cobb (WR)
7. Morgan Burnett (S)
8. T.J. Lang (G)
9. James Jones (WR)
10. Sam Shields (CB)
11. Jordy Nelson (WR)
12. Tramon Williams (CB)
13. Evan Dietrich-Smith (C)
14. Casey Hayward (CB)
15. Nick Perry (OLB)
16. Eddie Lacy (RB)
17. David Bakhtiari (T)
18. Datone Jones (DL)
19. Tim Masthay (P)
20. Ryan Pickett (DL)
21. Don Barclay (T)
22. A.J. Hawk (MLB)
23. C.J. Wilson (DL)
24. Brad Jones (MLB)
25. M.D. Jennings (S)
26. Mike Daniels (DL)
27. Jerron McMillian (S)
28. Micah Hyde (CB)
29. Brett Goode (LS)
30. Jarrett Bush (CB)
31. Ryan Taylor (TE)
32. Johnny Jolly (DL)
33. Jarrett Boykin (WR)
34. Robert Francois (MLB)
35. Jeremy Ross (WR)
36. Marshall Newhouse (T)
37. John Kuhn (FB)
38. Mason Crosby (K)
39. Greg Van Roten (G)
40. Davon House (CB)
41. Jonathan Franklin (RB)
42. Andrew Quarless (TE)
43. James Starks (RB)
44. Seneca Wallace (QB)
45. Josh Boyd (DL)
46. Jamari Lattimore (LB)
47. Mike Neal (OLB)
48. Brandon Bostick (TE)
49. Sam Barrington (LB)
50. Nate Palmer (LB)
51. Chris Banjo (S)
52. Lane Taylor (G)
53. Andy Mulamba (LB)
15. Nick Perry (OLB): After rewarding fellow outside linebacker and USC alumni Clay Matthews with a lucrative contract extension during the off-season, the Packers have high hopes that Perry can be the long-term solution opposite Matthews.  As a rookie, Perry showed flashes of being a quality pass rusher despite having to transition from playing defensive end in a 4-3 in college to outside linebacker in a 3-4 for the Packers.  Unfortunately an injury cut Perry's rookie campaign short but as long as Perry can stay healthy, I see him having a big year just by virtue of how much attention Matthews will command.

17. David Bakhtiari (T): Going into training camp the Packers decided to flip each side of the offensive line moving right tackle Bryan Bulaga to left tackle, right guard Josh Sitton to left guard, left guard T.J. Lang to right guard, and left tackle Marshall Newhouse to right tackle.  Unfortunately the Packers lost Bulaga for the year to a knee injury so the offensive line went influx again.  The Packers gave the rookie Bakhtiari a chance to win the job and he has never looked back.  This summer Bakhtiari worked out with Clay Matthews, which could be a big factor in why he has performed well so far.  That said, practice and preseason is much different than the regular season, so it will be interesting to see how Bakhtiari responds against the formidable 49ers defense.

32. Johnny Jolly (DL): Heading into training camp Jolly seemed like a long-shot to make the roster after missing three NFL seasons due to a drug suspension.  I am not sure why expectations were so low for Jolly though, when clean and healthy, let's not forget that Jolly was one of the most disruptive defensive lineman for the Packers in the 2000's.  I am much more worried about Jolly off the field than on the field.  I am worried about Jolly getting into trouble off the field so much that if I were the Packers, I would assign him a "dork escort" that went with everywhere with Jolly in hopes of keeping him out of trouble off the field. Assuming Jolly is fine off the field, I expect big things from him on the field.

41. Jonathan Franklin (RB): The Packers traded up in the 4th round to draft Franklin despite drafting running back Eddie Lacy in the 2nd round.  Franklin had a lackluster training camp.  One training camp does not make a career so luckily for Franklin, the Packers had enough invested in him that since he is healthy, he was a lock to make The 53.  Despite struggling in the preseason, at some point early in the season I expect to see the Packers give Franklin reps on offense despite the fact that he is most likely fourth on the depth chart behind Lacy, Starks, and Kuhn at this point.  Even before Franklin plays consistently on offense, I expect the Packers to give Franklin a chance to return kickoffs.

44. Seneca Wallace (QB): The Packers held a three-way competition between B.J. Coleman, Graham Harrell, and Vince Young for the backup quarterback job behind Aaron Rodgers.  Two days after keeping Coleman ahead of Harrell and Young, general manager Ted Thompson moved in yet another direction cutting Coleman and signing quarterback Seneca Wallace.  All the backup quarterbacks had rough patches in the preseason but in terms of on the field performance I still favor Young ahead of Wallace but there were reports that Young is not the most helpful backup while Wallace has made a lucrative ten year NFL career of being a professional backup so I understand the decision.  Still I am somewhat surprised that the Packers have been unable to develop a quality backup quarterback since Matt Flynn left Green Bay after the 2011 season.  Keep in mind that Coleman and Harrell attended McCarthy's "vaunted" off-season quarterback camp last off-season, which doesn't look like it helped either quarterback very much since Wallace is the backup instead of McCarthy's prize pupils.

Enjoy the start of the 2013 NFL season for the Packers.  Make sure to check back on Monday for my thoughts on the game via my updated rankings.

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