Projected Lineups: Green Bay Packers

| February 18, 2014

32-lineups-GBThe Packers had an interesting season to say the least. They lost many of their most important players due to injury for various amounts of time but still managed to win the division. They are heading into an interesting offseason with a number of fan favorites hitting free agency. It has been reported that for the first time in years the Packers plan on being active in free agency.

Even with everyone healthy, it seems like the Packers have fallen behind the elite teams of the NFC like Seattle and San Francisco. The roster is bound to change between now and next season, but it’s good to see what Green Bay has at this point to see where the Packers most need to improve.

Key:
– Player markers are colored per class on a five-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
– Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
– Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
– Red player names suggest injury risks.
– Click on the image to enlarge.

lineup GB

Roster Notes

–  At one point tight end was viewed as one of the deepest positions on the Packers roster. They often have kept five on the roster despite using two tight end sets less often than the average team. At this point it now looks like one of the weakest positions on the roster. Their current projected starter is Ryan Taylor who has just 43 career receiving yards on 91 career pass routes. It is the only position group where the Packers don’t have at least one solid starter.

–  Even though the Packers lost Greg Jennings and Donald Driver last year and could lose James Jones this year, they still have one of the best trios of receivers in the league with Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin.

–  Few teams look to be as reliant as their 2013 draft class as the Packers. Eddie Lacy and David Bakhtiari were both starters last year. Due to potential free agent losses, the Packers could also be starting J.C. Tretter at center as well as Datone Jones and Josh Boyd on the defensive line. Johnathan Franklin should have a larger role this year as a backup, and there is certainly a chance Casey Heyward plays more outside CB allowing Micah Hyde to play in the slot.

–  Most teams are filled with adequate starters, with each team having an average of six. Green Bay is one of just three teams to have two or fewer.

2014 Cap Situation

Per overthecap.com, the Packers have $28.5 million of cap space available to spend this offseason which is sixth most. The Packers as always are one of the youngest teams so a high portion of their roster are on their rookie deals. Only eight players are scheduled to make over $4 million. That should be enough money to either re-sign some of their own free agents, bring in some players from other teams, or some combination of the two.

Potential Casualties

One cut that could be surprising but might make sense is cornerback Tramon Williams. He signed a four year deal after an excellent 2010 season, but in the first three years of the contract failed to match the same level of play. Cutting him would add an additional $7.5 million in cap space. He will be celebrating his 31st birthday in a month, and the Packers have a lot of young players at the position that already have experience.

At inside linebacker neither A.J. Hawk nor Brad Jones has lived up to their contracts. Cutting either would add just under $2 million in cap space, and an in-house replacement already exists in Jamari Lattimore. Cornerback Jarrett Bush has been kept around just for his special teams, but had a -2.0 special teams grade last year and is scheduled to make more money than half the starters on the team.

Opportunities from the Roster

The biggest opportunity is for the Packers young defensive linemen. All three starters in Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji and Johnny Jolly as well as backup C.J. Wilson are free agents and might not be re-signed. This should mean a lot more playing time for two recent high draft picks Datone Jones and Jerel Worthy. Josh Boyd also saw more playing time as the season went on, and that playing time could continue to increase. Even if the Packers re-sign one of their own or bring in someone from another team, all three players will have more snaps in 2014 than 2013.

 

Projected lineups by team:

ARZ ATL | BAL | BUF CAR CHI | CIN | CLE | DAL DEN DET
GB | HOU | IND | JAX | KC MIA MIN NE NO NYG NYJ
OAK PHI PIT STL SD | SF | SEA TB TEN WAS

 

Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

Comments (13)

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  1. Pack says:

    I think MD Jennings is a RFA and may not be back. What does Jordy have to do to get a blue (or at least a blue outline) He’s been top 5 in your rankings 2 out of the last 3 seasons and only Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas have done the same.

    • Thomas Holm says:

      I have to admit that i am surprised that Nelson doesnt at least have a blue outline. Maybe his injury history is the reason or maybe the PFF crew think he benefits too much from having a elite QB, i dont know.

    • Jacob Basson says:

      Eh, I’m a huge Packer fan but I didn’t object to Nelson being merely ‘high quality.’ I’m actually more surprised that Cobb is only ‘solid,’ if anything I think HE’S more likely to be end up being viewed as elite…I think he’s played to that level and for longer than, say, Casey Heyward, who they have as ‘high quality, trending elite.’

      • Thomas James says:

        Agreed, the difference between blue and green really doesn’t matter in the slightest since these are all educated guesses anyway. I can make educated guesses too: if Jordy Nelson maintains his 2013 form into 2014 he will be part of the solution, not the problem.

    • mutzki says:

      It definitely begs the question how these ratings are determined. I also wonder why Clay Matthews isn’t labeled elite, but he at least has the blue outline and a point can be made about his injury history.
      It’s unfortunate than none of the PFF writers seem to care about responses and feedback and offer no quality explanation as to why they label players the way they do.

      • KB says:

        I think his name being in red explains your question. He is an injury risk and would be ‘elite’ if it wasn’t for all the time being missed.

        I also want to say, anytime I have ever asked a valid question or sent in an email I have received a very fast response.

  2. Bob says:

    So Free Safety – Nose Tackle – Middle LInebacker.
    (remembers 200 yard rushing games against our defense).

    “yep – that sounds about right.”

  3. Leo says:

    MD Jennings is a RFA. I think Burnett is the lone safety in the roster (Chris Banjo is a ERFA), there was some talk about transitioning Micah Hyde to Safety, so maybe you could put him there.

  4. Gregg says:

    I will be beyond downtrodden if T.T. doesnt pick calvin pryor in the draft. At this point, Morgan Burnett i think has been nearly ruined because of his bi-polar position playing in regards to covering 2 positions at the same time while doing an incomplete job at both. Instead of just drafting more d linemen, lets finally let the drafted players, i.e. datone, daniels, worthy, really flesh out their true potential, whatever that is. and my lord, please dear lord, cut aj hawk.

  5. Thomas James says:

    I’m all for acquiring whatever new guy is coming through the draft like Thompson has done his entire tenure, but there comes a point in time where a philosophy has to be updated. Thompson was fleecing the league a couple of years back because he was drafting starters early and often from multiple rounds while everyone else was wasting $50 million to acquire their one perfect player via free agency for a Super Bowl run. Now everybody drafts and drafts often while ousting serviceable veterans off their rosters who have gas left in the tank. This is a great team with elite core players, but it is time to finally fix this defense by any means necessary and start being THE dominant Super Bowl contender from the NFC again. I don’t care if the players came from the 1st round of the draft or are cheap 35 year old free agents who fit into the scheme really well, it is time to use all avenues for acquiring players and stop being pushed around by the 49ers every time they stop by. Last year’s physical running game was a great step in the right direction, but it needs to continue into this offseason and the 2014 league year. Go Pack go!

  6. Brandon says:

    Can we also talk about the fact that Bostick is basically a receiver playing tight end, and he’s listed as a fullback here?

  7. Brett says:

    Where is Sam Shields