With CB Al Harris likely to miss the start of the 2010 season for the Green Bay Packers as he recovers from knee surgery, it seems certain that CB Charles Woodson and CB Tramon Williams will be the starting cornerbacks. But the nickelback is likely to receive just as much playing time as one of the starting LBs, so while technically not a starter, he's going to be on the field a lot. And it's far from determined who it will be.
Woodson. The returning starter, and reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Obviously a lock.
Williams. Over the last two seasons, he's started 19 regular season games, recorded 29 pass defenses, and 9 INTs. His only blemish is penalties, but the same can be said about Woodson. The Packers corners play an aggressive style.
And the nickelback is?
CB Brandon Underwood. From what I've read so far in practice, he's either the 3rd or 4th CB. Mike McCarthy has said he's one of the most improved players in the offseason (though that was before his June 5th incident and subsequent criminal investigation). He only showed glimpses of promise last season, so I'm looking forward to watching what he can do in 2010.
CB Pat Lee. After Woodson and Williams are finished with practice, the 2nd team is usually Lee and Underwood. It's hard to tell who's ahead in the battle between them. Lee was the Packers 2nd round draft choice in 2008, but he hasn't been able to stay healthy so far. He did look good when he filled in for Harris during the 2008 season.
CB Jarrett Bush. He must be the most hated player currently on the team. But he also finished last season as the nickelback. The good news for Packer fans is that he's clearly behind Underwood and Lee so far in practice.
And that might be it. I'm leaving off CB Josh Bell, CB Sam Shields, and CB D.J. Clark. Shields is a fan favorite, but the Packers added depth at safety by drafting S Morgan Burnett and moving S Will Blackmon over from corner, so now there are seven safeties currently on the roster. Not all of them will remain, but one of them might take a roster spot at the expense of a cornerback.