Packers' second-year players in position to step into bigger roles in 2017
- The Green Bay Packers had the luxury of not needing to rely on too many of their 2016 draft picks in major roles as rookies. None of them played more than 50-percent of the team’s snaps last season.
- Ted Thompson’s team-building strategy of developing from within has a number of second-year players in line to play much more significant roles in 2017.
- First-round pick Kenny Clark rotated in the interior last season, primarily at nose tackle, but with Letroy Guion suspended for the first four games of 2017, Clark likely will take over as the starter.
- Second-round pick Jason Spriggs could be in position to take over as the starter at right guard to replace T.J. Lang. Spriggs started two games at the position last season with mixed results.
- One draft pick who could emerge onto the scene in a larger role is third-rounder Kyler Fackrell. The outside linebacker was quietly an effective rotational pass-rusher in very limited playing time, scoring a higher Pass Rusher Productivity rating (10.0) than the likes of Jadeveon Clowney (9.4) and Clay Matthews (8.6) in 2016.
- Both fourth-round picks Blake Martinez and Dean Lowry should have an opportunity to compete to start at inside linebacker and defensive end, respectively. The two defenders both flashed with some highly graded performances as rookies but need to be more consistent from week-to-week.