2014 Depth Chart: Green Bay Packers

A look at the depth and quality of each position on the roster for the 2014 Green Bay Packers.

| 3 years ago

2014 Depth Chart: Green Bay Packers

 2014 depth update GB

[Chart last updated 7/3/14] 


•  Some might feel we are too hasty to call Eddie Lacy a High Quality Starter, but that’s exactly what he was as a rookie. Our fourth-highest-graded running back last season, he forced 62 missed tackles as a runner in 2013.

•  Though they have three Elite players on the roster, the Packers lack quality depth further down. 23 of the 61 players listed above are either rookies or players who we haven’t seen enough yet and if the team have more than a couple of injuries in 2014 that may be a concern.

•  Julius Peppers’ role is going to be interesting to watch. Currently the expectation is that he’ll line up at left end when they are in their base defense but will mix in snaps at outside linebacker and as an interior rusher in sub-packages.

•  Casey Heyward absolutely has the potential to be rated higher, we just need to see him get back to his 2012 season form after missing most of the 2013 season through injury. Don’t forget that in his rookie season he didn’t allow a single touchdown while picking off six passes and breaking up 12 more.

Roster Battles

1.  Wide Receiver

Heading into the 2014 season it’s obvious that Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are Aaron Rodgers’ top two targets on offense. The battle at wide receiver, however, is who steps up as that third guy. Jarrett Boykin would appear to have the early edge, but the team did spend second- and fifth-round draft picks on Davante Adams and Jared Abbrederis, respectively, so they will have high hopes of both.

2.  Inside Linebacker

While A.J. Hawk has never really impressed us, his starting job doesn’t appear in any jeopardy. Who starts next to him is more in question, though, with Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore competing to win the job. Lattimore started four games last year, and Jones did struggle late in the year, but does at least have the backing of a very good 2012 season that showed just how good he can be if he can get back to that level.

3.  Edge Rusher

With Peppers expected to see some snaps on the outside, it opens up an interesting battle on a roster that has plenty of player who have seen snaps on the edge. We know how good Clay Matthews is, but who steps up opposite him? Nick Perry was a first-round pick two years ago but hasn’t produced consistently enough that he can be counted on, while Mike Neal struggled after moving to outside linebacker last year. Andy Mulumba saw 361 snaps after signing as an undrafted free agent but managed just 10 total pressures from 186 pass rushing snaps.


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Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • mutzki

    Abbrederis was a fifth rounder, not a fourth as listed here.
    Besides that, i know most media outlets and “experts” say Bradford lacks length to play on the outside but everyone on the Packers staff including Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy went out of their way saying that Bradford will compete for playing time at OLB.

    • Gordon McGuinness

      Thanks for the spot on Abbrederis – fixed now. And thanks for the info on Bradford, worth keeping an eye on. Crowded battle on the outside.

    • Edmathews

      I think they believe they have something in Barrington and will give him first shot at supplanting Jones, although I would argue Hawk should be the one replaced. Like to see Barring and Lattimore in the middle together during preseason just to see what they can do together.

  • chillermonster

    You have to include Jeff Janis in that WR battle, and I think that he will ultimately be more relevant that Abbrederis.

  • Thomas Holm

    I would argue that labelling Clay Matthews as Elite and labelling Casey Heyward as Good is inconsistent. Why does Matthews get a pass for his 2013, but Heyward doesnt? I can accept Matthews as Elite based on his past performances, but then Heyward should, without doubt, be High Quality for his 2012 season.

    • Wyzel

      Probably be due to Hayward only having one season to fall on, whereas clay has been around long enough to get that pass. I bet if Heyward played a few more games last year, plus at the 2012 level he would have been high Q. I really hope he doesn’t though 😉

      • Thomas Holm

        I understand that, and as i said, i accept Matthews as Elite. Heyward played so well in 2012 that i dont think you can dismiss it. He played OK in the few snaps he managed this year, so there is nothing to suggest he cant be high quality. He was arguably the best slot corner in football in 2012.

    • GorillaNation

      Because Heyward put up ONE good season, as a nickelback/slot corner. That’s it.

      Matthews has put up multiple Pro Bowl quality seasons and is the best player on that defense and cannot be replaced.

      • Thomas Holm

        Again, i understand that and this is simply me nitpicking.

        I think Hayward was so good that year, that he deserves a better rating. Teams are in nickel 65+% of the time and Hayward was arguably the best slot corner in the league in 2012. As Gordon wrote, Hayward has a very good chance of jumping a category, i just think he’s already there. It’s just my opinion. It’s fine to agree to disagree.

  • Sofia Caden

    Abbrederis ended up being any fifthly rounder, not a last because right here.
    Aside from in which, i am aware many media shops and “experts” state Bradford is lacking in length in order to engage in. http://goo.gl/TvWnQJ

  • Jubair

    HOW is BJ Raji below average?

    • Wyzel

      Easily, he had two ok seasons, 2010(28th) & 2012 (Three great games and a bunch of meh) , and that is it, otherwise he has been poor and very inconsistent. The media still thinks he is great, because they never downgrade players once they are “anointed” great. He was 43rd out of 45 3-4 ends with a -13.4 grade, 2 years ago he has dead last for NT(88). So maybe he’ll be better this year since its an even year.

      Still boggles my mind how ted thompson is great after round 1, but RD1 is god awful for him.

      • mutzki

        He has drafted the best QB in the game and one of the best all around defensive players in the league in round 1. BJ Raji when playing NT was playing really well, maybe he was just miscast as a DE. With his move back to NT this year we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

        Nick Perry as well as Bulaga and Sherrod are having trouble staying healthy – something you can’t bust the GM’s balls for. Maybe we all need to dial back our expectations on first round picks a little bit. How many teams can say they drafted well in the first round in the past three years?

        • Wyzel

          He is 2 for 8, maybe take someone that he has a 2nd round grade on and draft him in the first. His second round picks are great. Which makes me think he is more lucky than good at it, at least with defensive players. He did draft Ahmad Carrol for the sole purpose to try to cover Randy Moss

          • mutzki

            You dont do that. If he has a 2nd round grade on someone you get him in the second if he is still available, Why would he draft a guy he has rated lower in the first? That makes no sense.
            If you do that, not only do you not get the player in a slot you dont think fits for him, but you also leave a higher graded and potentionally better player for the competition to draft.

          • Wyzel

            What makes more sense is that maybe he drafts for need with those late 1st round picks, instead of drafting by his board. I dunno its all a crap shoot anyhow.

            Here is a good article on failure percent and a bunch of other stuff(and some really funny stuff bashing matt millens drafting skillz):


            The best move of his career was getting mccarthy.

          • Cdragon

            Mike Sherman drafted Ahmad Carroll. TT was still with the Seahawks in 04.

      • ShameonMe

        2009 was just a bad year in general for 1st rounders

    • jtruff

      Because the writers decided to have sympathy on him and spare him the “poor starter” moniker that his play last year so richly deserved. He’s had stretches in his career where he has played well. But he’s had many more prolonged stretches where he’s been abysmal. I recall last season one analyst describing him as someone who spends 30 snaps a game leaning on people.

      I’m fully aware that 3-4 ends (not named JJ Watt) are not going to rack up huge stats. But take a step back and digest this: he had 20 total tackles last year. Slightly over one per game. If you took a 340 lb sack of cornmeal and plopped it down on the field at the line of scrimmage you would probably have an opposing RB trip over it once per game. When the opposing team ran the ball he would record a stop 3.8% of the time – that is 38th out of 45 3-4 DE’s. The sack of cornmeal would also be about as good rushing the passer as Raji. Raji has gone 40 games without a sack. Last year he got pressure on the QB on 3.6% of passing plays. That’s 42nd out of 45 3-4 DE’s.

      So he didn’t stop the run well or rush the passer well. All he did last year was stand around and take up space while relying on a clueless media to further the myth that he’s a good player based almost entirely on his draft status and name recognition.

      • Adam

        Right on the money, jtruff. Raji is easily one of if not THE most overrated NFL player by the media. For year he’s been hiding behind the silly myth that he eats up space and is good at it and should never be expected to contribute statistically. He was counting on his reputation being enough to take him to the bank this off-season and overplayed his hand significantly.

  • Matt

    I would’ve expected Randall Cobb to be high quality. Also was surprised to see both Peppers & Tramon Williams as “just” average and Mike Neal as below average.

    • Guest


  • Brobert

    In February, Bulaga was listed as a solid starter with potential change to high quality starter. Now you list him as just average. Why the sudden shift?

    • Gordon McGuinness


      “Further, if you notice the occasional difference in grades between this
      set and our previous projected lineups series, it’ll most likely be down
      to this being primarily my work, checked by Khaled, while the previous
      series was built through a different process. In many respects I’m keen
      to show there are differences. No one in PFF believes the overall grades
      are absolutely definitive and neither should you. For example, how
      should one weight the relative receiving and blocking skills of a tight
      end? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

      February’s came about from the analysis team deciding as a group, whereas these are more from an individual.

  • BobBill

    Probably the best the Defense has looked in awhile.
    We finally have more than 1 pass rusher and there’s no sightings of a MD Jennings lurking around the depth chart.

  • Brandon

    I would bump Tramon up a level, Masthay up two, and switch Hawk and Jones around.
    Also, what did Brett Goode do to get called below-average??

  • Kevin

    Surprised by a couple of these.

    Cobb’s injuries last year must be the reason he is only rated as ‘good’. He is one of if not the top slot WR.

    Nelson was one of your top WR’s last year by grade and also on PFF’s top 101. So will be curious how many WR’s are rated as Elite.

    Kind of thought I’d see Hayward as High Quality considering how insanely good he was his rookie year. Last year was basically a wash but I don’t remember many rookie CB’s in recent memory performing as well as Hayward did.

    Shields is about right I guess. I think he has been underrated all offseason. Not many CB’s in the NFL could do what he did against Johnson, Green, Gordon, Marshall, Jeffery( I feel like I’m leaving 1 WR out). I believe he had more INT’s that TD’s and less than 150 yards total against the WR’s listed above even though he was on an island most of these games.

    Also Peppers and Williams are just average? Williams ended the season basically just as good as his 2010 season ended when GB won the SB. Peppers was way overused last year and didn’t have any help on that DL. I fully expect more than an average year from him.

    The rest I guess I basically agree with. I’m probably just being a homer and a few of the ones I mentioned are close enough where i could basically agree. Some are way off IMO though.

    • mutzki

      Hard to say how much the injuries weigh in here, but i also think that Bulaga certainly is a solid starter. Just had trouble staying healthy.
      I agree, Williams should be rated higher. In Week 17 of last season there was a reason why the Bears were targeting Shields and not Williams, he – Williams that is – was playing at an absoulute high level (considering the lack of pass rush for the games with Matthews out).
      Shields is just too inconsistent to be labeled “high quality” although if he cuts down on some of the mistakes he is as good as there is.
      There is another guy with bad luck injury wise that could easily be rated higher. Perry rated out pretty well in the games he played last year, but missed too much time with nagging injuries. Hope he can stay healthy.

      • Kevin

        I’d take Shields over Williams any day. Shields has basically been top 5 in the NFL the last 2 years in Comp % allowed at under 50% average. There is a reason he got more money than almost any FA CB this last offseason and more than Williams did a few years back.

        • mutzki

          I’m just saying. Teams usually pick up on things that you dont see and i believe what the Bears saw was that Williams was playing lights out at the end of the year.
          Maybe they thought they had the better matchup against Sam Shields which i doubt because both Shields and Williams have pretty much the same size.
          Upside and youth is definitely on the side of Shields. Hope he returns good value on the investment the team made in him. Was definitely the right decision to pay him.

          • Kevin

            Hmm. According to PFF, Shields was targeted 3 times in the last game against the Bears and allowed 1 reception and also had an INT. Williams was targeted 6 times and allowed 5 receptions and a TD.

  • Kevin

    Why only an average grade for James Starks when he had the second-highest elusive rating last year?


    Are other areas of his game seriously lacking? I know that the grading process is different here, but that seems like a big discrepancy.

  • Jeff

    Amazing to think that Raji turned down an 8 million per year extension! Only person who thought he was worth more was… himself. Packers must be happy to see that he turned that offer down, since he is not even worth half that much.

  • Barb UMihai Mar

    Calling Lacy elite is crazy. He is just a good nickel RB (his numbers against base D are poor) and he forced so many missed tackles because he played against some crappy defenses last year in NFL North and NFL East. He had at least 10 against the Bears only. PS: I bet Morris will not be elite when the Washington depth charts are released.

    • mutzki

      Butthurt Redskins fan there i see?! Don’t put so much weight on the opinion of one writer, it’s unhealthy.

      Also – who exactly is calling Lacy elite? He has a “High Quality” tag and an explanation on that decision is given in the paragraph that starts with “[…] Some might feel we are too hasty to call Eddie Lacy a High Quality Starter […]”. Go back and read, you’ll like it!

      • Barb UMihai Mar

        yeah… it was my mistake. I meant high quality. In my mind while I has writing elite was dark green…second best grade. I’m a Bears fan, but I don’t see american football like that. Blinded by colours. The statement doesn’t change in regard to Morris. He has to be blue (elite) now, right ? He is better then Lacy. It’s not even close. So if you don’t make him elite it’s just strange.

  • Argyle Gargoyle

    Umm.. Brett Goode is one of the best longsnappers in the League. Maybe THE best.

  • Mike Kruis

    Peppers is being treated as an outside linebacker (he has taken all of his snaps during camp at that position), making the probable starters for the season at LB Matthews, Hawk, Brad Jones and Peppers/Perry.

  • Sven

    They are listing Peppers as a left Defensive End, and calling him an average starter yet he had more sacks last year than any one on our line, and his down year is at least partly attributable to the bears new scheme and numerous injuries last year.

    To further demonstrate their lack of knowledge about the Packers, PFF does not even mention the camp battle at tight-end which has shaping up since last season.

  • Whitetail12

    This was an excellent assessment of the Packers offense. Considering how Bakthiari performed as a rookie, his arrow is definitely pointing up and won’t be average for long.
    The real head scratcher here is how Brad Jones and Nick Perry get a better grade than AJ Hawk. And Casey Hayward over Williams and Shields? To me, not enough info on Hayward to call him High Quality. Peppers is hardly average even at his age.
    I understand that these are based on the average at their respective positions so overall, an excellent assessment of the team.

  • GREG