Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Building The 53 - Locks for The 53 in 2015

I am going to restrict my locks for The 53 to players that are currently signed through at least 2015.  If healthy, here are my 31 locks listed how I think they should be on the depth chart for The 53 to open 2015 for the Packers:

: 15 players
QB: Aaron Rodgers and Scott Tolzien
RB: Eddie Lacy and James Starks
FB: None
WR: Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams
TE: Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless
T: Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari
G:Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang
C: Corey Linsley and JC Tretter
Analysis: The most controversial of the locks above is Tretter.  I hate to make too much of one season but Linsley looks like he could be the starting center in Green Bay for the next decade so that hurts Tretter's stock, especially because I see backup offensive lineman Don Barclay being the 6th offensive lineman on The 53 in 2015 even though I did not list Barclay as a "lock".  Let's not forget that less than a year ago that Tretter was the presumptive starter at center until he got injured again though. Sure the Packers will most likely bring back Barclay and Kuhn but that is really all that is worth discussing on offense at this point given that Bulaga and Cobb just signed long-term deals.  That means that the Packers essentially return their top 15 guys on offense going into training camp last season for 2015 besides wide receiver Jarrett Boykin, which the Packers replaced with Davante Adams.

Defense: 14 players
DT: Mike Daniels and Josh Boyd
DE: Datone Jones and Khyri Thornton
OLB: Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Mike Neal, and Nick Perry
MLB: Sam Barrington
CB: Sam Shields and Casey Hayward
S: Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and Micah Hyde
Analysis: For how much everything is settled on offense, everything is that unsettled on defense.  The Packers have a ton of difficult
2015 Off-Season Advice for TT
Projections for Practice Squad
How to Handle 2015 ERFA's
How to Handle 2015 RFA's
How to Handle 2015 UFA's
Free Agent Shopping Guide
Potential Salary Cap Casualties
Locks for The 53 in 2015
decisions to make along the defensive line given their lack of top-end talent after Daniels, which is why I made Thornton a lock even though he missed his entire rookie season given that he was a 3rd round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.  I expect that both Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji will ultimately return to the Packers in 2015 but given that they are NOT on The 53 right now, the defensive line is clearly influx.  Given that Thompson already cut A.J. Hawk and Bran Jones, the only experienced middle linebackers that are locks for The 53 are Barrington and Matthews.  I hope that Matthews doesn't get regular snaps at middle linebacker though given that his best skill is rushing the quarterback. Finally let's take a quick look at the defensive backs.  For the first time in a long time the Packers have more locks at safety than they do at cornerback so I could see Hyde shifting back to cornerback if the Packers do NOT resign Tramon Williams and Davon House.  As you can see, essentially every position on defense is in flux besides outside linebacker and safety.

Specialist: 2 players
LS:  Brett Goode
: Mason Crosby
Analysis: Thompson added punter Cody Mandell to give Tim Masthay some competition.  While I see the Ginger Wolverine ultimately beating out Mandell, it will be one of the more interesting training camp battles.  Although I laid out simple plan for replacing Crosby, I see him returning in 2015.

With that, my seven-part series of advice for how Thompson should approach Building The 53 for 2015 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 in this space.

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