Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Building The 53 - My Locks for The 53

Welcome to the last of my seven-part series of advice for how Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson
Advice for Ted Thompson
How to Handle Players on 8-Man Practice Squad
How to Handle Players on Injured Reserve
How to Handle 2014 RFA's on The 53
How to Handle 2014 UFA's on The 53
Potential Salary Cap Casualties on The 53
First Look at the 2014 NFL Draft
Locks for The 53 for 2014
should approach The 53 for 2014.  If you want to read any of the previous six parts, checkout the table to the right.  There is at least one restricted and a couple unrestricted free agents that I think are virtual locks to be resigned by Thompson and thus on The 53 for the Packers to start 2014, but the fact remains that those guys are still not resigned yet.  I am going to restrict my locks for The 53 to players that are currently signed through at least 2014.  If healthy, here are my 33 locks listed how I think they should be on the depth chart for The 53 to open 2014 for the Packers:

Offense: 17 players
QB: Aaron Rodgers and Scott Tolzien
RB: Eddie Lacy, DuJuan Harris, and Johnathan Franklin
FB: None
WR: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jarrett Boykin
TE: Ryan Taylor and Brandon Bostick
T: Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, Don Barclay, and Derek Sherrod
G:Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang
C: JC Tretter
Analysis: The most controversial of the locks above have to be the tight ends but Taylor's special teams abilities and the 10% chance that Bostick is an athletic tight end in the mold of a healthy Jermichael Finley make them cost-effective assets on The 53 in 2014 since both are still are on their rookie contracts.  There is a good chance that center Evan Dietrich-Smith signs a long-term deal with the Packers this off-season, which would give the Packers eight quality offensive lineman without even factoring in guys like Lane Taylor and Greg Van Roten.  I see Thompson resigning quarterback Matt Flynn and fullback John Kuhn but letting wide receiver James Jones and tight end Andrew Quarless test free agency.  Even if tight end Jermichael Finley isn't on The 53 for the Packers in 2014, assuming the Packers sign EDS and Kuhn, the Packers have an impressive offense for 2014 without even taking into account free agents or the 2014 NFL Draft.

Defense: 14 players
DT: Mike Daniels and Josh Boyd
DE: Datone Jones and Jerel Worthy
OLB: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and Andy Mulumba
MLB: A.J. Hawk
CB: Casey Hayward, Davon House, and Jarrett Bush
S: Morgan Burnett, Micah Hyde, and Sean Richardson
Analysis: The Packers have a ton of difficult decision to make along the defensive line given that Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, and C.J. Wilson are all set to become unrestricted free agents.  Even if all four leave via free agency, the Packers still have four nice young defensive lineman on The 53. There is a good chance that middle linebacker Brad Jones and cornerback Tramon Williams are on The 53 to start 2014 but given that I advised Thompson to cut Jones and get Williams to re-work his deal, I can't make either of them locks.  Finally, you will notice that I moved Hyde to safety.  If the Packers are able to resign cornerback Sam Shields, moving Hyde to safety is a no brainer.  The only thing that gives me pause is if the Packers actually draft Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Specialist: 2 players
LS:  Brett Goode
P: Tim Masthay
Analysis: Much like Jones and Williams, unfortunately I see Mason Crosby kicking for the Packers in 2014 but that doesn't mean that I agree with that decision.

With that, my seven-part series of advice for how Thompson should approach The 53 for 2014 is officially in the books.  It may sound crazy but I see this series as my resume if any Packer front-office positions open this off-season.  I expect things to be quiet on the personnel front for the Packers for the next month but if Thompson starts making moves to The 53, check back for full coverage.

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