Friday, September 12, 2014

The 53 - Initial Player Rankings for 2014 GBP

Welcome to the 5th and final part of my "season preview".  I put season preview in quotes because I wanted to rank The 53
Review of The 53
Initial Review of the Roster
Initial Review of the Practice Squad
Five Most Overpaid
Five Most Underpaid
Initial Rankings of the Roster
before the Green Bay Packers played the Seattle Seahawks on the road to open their 2014 season so that I was on the record with my initial  thoughts about The 53 but work got in the way. As a result, I am going to factor in how the Packers played in their loss to the Seahawks to the rankings but that barely changed my initial thoughts.

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 as often as possible.  For each iteration of this post I will not only rank the players 1 through 53 but I will write about the players whose rankings change drastically from the previous iteration of the rankings.  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. Eddie Lacy (RB)
4. Sam Shields (CB)
5. Josh Sitton (G)
6. Jordy Nelson (WR)
7. Mike Daniels (DE)
8. T.J. Lang (G)
9. Micah Hyde (S)
10. Julius Peppers (DE/OLB) 
11. Randall Cobb (WR) 
12. David Bakhtiari (T) 
13. Casey Hayward (CB)
14. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (S) 
15. Morgan Burnett (S)
16. Mike Neal (DE/OLB)
17. Bryan Bulaga (T)
18. Tramon Williams (CB)
19. Datone Jones (DE)
20. Davante Adams (WR)
21. Josh Boyd (DT)
22. Richard Rodgers (TE)
23. Tim Masthay (P)

24. Jarett Boykin (WR)
25. A.J. Hawk (MLB)
26. Corey Linsley (C)
27. Nick Perry (OLB)
28. James Starks (RB)
29. John Kuhn (FB)
30. Davon House (CB)
31. Brandon Bostick (TE)
32. Jarrett Bush (CB)
33. Andrew Quarless (TE)
34. Matt Flynn (QB)
35. Mason Crosby (K)
36. Carl Bradford (MLB)
37. Jamari Lattimore (MLB)
38. Jeff Janis (WR)
39. Scott Tolzien (QB)
40. DuJuan Harris (RB)
41. Brett Goode (LS)
42. Letroy Guion (DT)
43. Brad Jones (MLB)
44. Ryan Taylor (TE)
45. Sean Richardson (S)
46. Andy Mulumba (OLB) 
47. Mike Pennel (DT)
48. Sam Barrington (OLB)
49. Jayrone Elliott (OLB)
50. Derek Sherrod (T)
51. Lane Taylor (G)
52. Garth Gerhart (C)
53. Demetri Goodson (CB)
Injured Reserve -
Designated for Return:
J.C. Tretter 
Injured Reserve
1. Don Barclay (T/G/C)
2. B.J. Raji (DT)
3. Jared Abbrederis (WR)
4. Nate Plamer (LB)
5. Khyri Thornton (DT)
6. Aaron Adams (T)
3. Eddie Lacy (RB): I am not sure how many concussions Lacy suffered before he joined the NFL.  We know that he suffered (at least) one last year against the Cincinnati Bengals and suffered another this season against the Seahawks.  Let me be captain obvious when I say that concussions are no laughing matter.  What worries me specifically about Lacy is that his punishing running style is what made me love him so much going into the 2013 NFL Draft but at some point you have to wonder whether the concussions will lead to Lacy changing his running style to run with less authority.

7. Mike Daniels (DE): Even before the Packers lost defensive tackle B.J. Raji for the season with a torn bicep, Daniels was the leader of the defensive line.  That is quire a rise for a guy that was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft.  Although Daniels can play both the run and the pass as a defensive end in the 3-4 despite his short stature, with how little the Packers line-up in the 3-4, I actually see Daniels having the biggest impact as an inside pass rusher in passing situations this season.

11. Randall Cobb (WR): This is a good illustration of how the rankings work.  There is no question that Cobb is one of the best players on The 53 but he is only signed through this season, which decreases his trade value.  Plus, Cobb plays wide receiver, which is a deep position on The 53.  Given Cobb's injury issues, I don't blame the Packers if they have him play out the season before signing him to a contract extension.  If the Packers do that, they need to realize if Cobb stays healthy for all of 2014 that he will sign a Jordy Nelson-eque contact (four-years, $39 million with $11.5 million guaranteed).

17. Bryan Bulaga (T): Missed all last season after he tore his ACL in the preseason.  Unfortunately Bulaga left the season opener early with another knee injury.  Don Barclay started at right tackle in place of the injured Bulaga last season but tore his ACL this preseason so the Packers were forced to turn to Derek Sherrod against the Seahawks.  As expected, Sherrod was quite underwhelming in place of Bulaga so it is going to be a daily Bulaga healthy watch leading up to the home opener this Sunday against the New York Jets.

36. Carl Bradford (MLB): Now that Bradford made The 53 by the skin of his teeth, his value shoots up mostly because he was a 4th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, thus he has one of the most favorable contract on The 53.  Following the 2013 NFL Draft I said the Packers should give Micah Hyde a look at safety but his measurables projected him more as a safety than a cornerback.  For some reason the Packers waited a year and now they have a starter at safety in Hyde, just a year later than they should have.  The same applies to Bradford, his measurables project him more as a middle linebacker than an outside linebacker.  The Packers tried Bradford at outside linebackers all preseason where he struggled.  Thankfully the Packers gave Bradford a look at MLB instead of cutting him. Keeping in mind that Bradford is getting an earlier look at middle linebacker due to injury and ineffectiveness of middle linebacker Brad Jones.  Hopefully Bradford can show something at middle linebacker because the Packers desperately need an upgrade at that spot.

38. Jeff Janis (WR): At 6'3" and 219 lbs, the Packers look like they found their next Jordy Nelson.  No this is not based on race, it is based on body type because both Janis and Nelson are sneaky big.  What I mean by that are they are both 6'3" but are never mentioned as physically imposing wide receivers in the NFC North with the likes of Alshon Jeffrey, Calvin Johnson, or Brandon Marshall.  Sure all of those other NFC North receivers are bigger guys but the Packers usually target smaller wide receivers so I am glad they took a chance on Janis because his combine and preseason performance, I think the Packers found a gem in Janis.

53. Demetri Goodson (CB): If you applied my thought process just discussed for Bradford to Goodson, you would think that Goodson would not be the last spot on The 53 given that Goodson was a 6th round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.  The difference between Goodson and Bradford is that Goodson is more of an acclaimed basketball player than football player.  Plus, Goodson is dealing with the effects of a concussion he suffered in the preseason too so I have low expectations for the Packers getting any real production out of Goodson in 2014.

I am going to the Brewers/Reds game on Saturday night and the Packers/Jets game on Sunday afternoon with Gaber, Sug, and Uncle Patty so make sure to check back next week for my thoughts on the games.

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