Will The Packer Rookies Play In 2011?

The Green Bay Packers have solid depth, and several players returning from injury, so there doesn't seem to be much of an opportunity for any rookies in 2011. Greg Gabriel looks at the positions where rookies, historically, have been able to contribute at early in their careers, and it doesn't look like any of the Packers recent draft choices will have any positional advantage. From the National Football Post:

My feeling is the running backs. That position more than any other relies on instincts. Yes, they have to know the playbook and that will take time, but in reality there are only so many running plays a team can run. Where a back will struggle is in pass protection and because of that you may see the majority of running backs who play early only play on run downs.

That would give 3rd round draft choice RB Alex Green the best chance. He might have an opportunity with RB Brandon Jackson unlikely to return, and the fact that Ryan Grant and James Starks have had some recent seasons wiped out by injury. Of course, the problem for Green is that he's likely to be the 3rd down back, and who knows how he'll be in pass protection. If he struggles with it, he might not see the field at all.

It doesn't look too promising on the other side of the ball either:

On defense, linemen probably have the best chance to play early, especially if they are outstanding pass rushers.

The only player drafted who is expected to play exclusively on the defensive line is 7th round pick Lawrence Guy. He'll have a tough time to even make the active roster, if all the other lineman are healthy. But with the likely departure of DE Cullen Jenkins, if Guy can play like a younger version of Jenkins, he'll have a chance since there's no established starter ahead of him. While it's possible, that seems highly unlikely.

Obviously anything can happen. I didn't expect anything from CB Sam Shields at this time last year and he started six games as a rookie. But based on this really basic analysis, there is no obvious rookie who should contribute in 2011.

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