I know, I know....this is kinda like making up a mock draft for 2013 already. There are still a whole bunch of moves to be made and many more UDFA's to bring in. Finally we don't know which of these rookies are going to shrink away once camp starts. What really is though is a way to process the draft and sort through what it means. I don't feel like giving a grade, but I do want to look at how these draft picks are going to push and shape the roster.
That said....let's take a wild guess as to who will make the roster now that we drafted defense, defense, and more defense.
Now some positions are going to be fairly easy to make the guess who makes it and who doesn't, but QB really isn't one of them. Sure Rodgers is the man, but after that there are a whole bunch of question marks with Matt Flynn not around to man that backup role securely. My money is on the Packers keeping three to develop the younger guys and limit risk in case the worst happens. Coleman gets the nod over Nick Hill since the Packers drafted him and I guess TT thinks Coleman could be the best pick they ever make. Ummm...yeah, maybe TT really has gone crazy after all. [Edit: I guess Coleman said that to the Packers which makes a ton more sense.]
Remember I said something about easy to make a guess at this point? Here it is. No running backs drafted in the defense heavy draft leaves us basically with what we had last year for better or worse. Sure some UDFA could impress and break out...but at this point that's hard to see. At the very least Jon Kuhn made the top 100 players in the NFL according to the players. That goes for something right?
Between the signing of Saturday, the cutting of Chad Clifton, and the injury to Sherrod the starting line up is pretty easily to see at this point. That said, everything gets fuzzy when we start looking at the backups. EDS should be there as well as the loser of the Newhouse/Sherrod battle for LT. After that I think Genus makes the cut. He's a player they were high on last year and should continue to grow and learn from Saturday. Hopefully in a year or two he is ready for prime time and is able to grow into a starting job like Scott Wells was able to do once upon a time.
I couldn't cut DD. I also think Gurley develops into a guy who makes a push on to the roster. As a result I decided to go six WR's. It's probably overkill, but this year I think we do something silly like this to give Driver a victory lap and off into the sunset. Otherwise if they only keep five Driver is the one on the bubble.
Tight End: Jermichael Finely, Andrew Quarless, D.J. Williams, Ryan Taylor
The running joke the last few years is how much space this position and FB tend to take up on the roster. It's entirely possible that five are kept again...it's possible that Quarless isn't healthy enough to really win a spot and Tom Crabtree makes it again. Hell, Crabtree could effort his way on to the roster again as well....but right now I think defense is on the brain of the decision makers and Crabtree's spot is given to a LB or DB.
After you get beyond the clear cut roster guys like Pickett and Raji, as well as the new draftees things start to look pretty hazy. One guy with potential but facing a suspension another guy who should be able to help but is probably looking at a suspension and then a whole bunch of guys who are guys...but at the very least can eat blocks and stop the run. With that in mind I listened to my gut and thought that Wilson and Guy beat out the other group of guys, but really this is going to be a long term battle throughout camp. The main key in this grouping is going to be to find a group of guys who can push the pocket and a group of guys who can stop the run. Neal, Hargrove, and Daniels can push the pocket. Wilson, Guy, Pickett can stop the run. Raji is probably the only one who can do both.
Last year reinforced the fact that Zombo, Walden, and Vic So'oto are basically the same person....or at least the same caliber of football player. Matthews and Perry will both make the team and probably be the starters. After that though it's anybody's guess. Zombo I think is the best of the group and Walden is pretty stout against the run. They get the nod and maybe So'oto can be stashed on the PS if he is still eligible.
If it's not these four I'll be pretty surprised. Bishop and Hawk are the clear starters. Smith has a ton of potential and a special teams star. Manning should have the time to develop and will probably be a core special teams guy early on as well. Now this could be more but then some other position will be less...and with the clear and focused effort to improve the DL I don't know where that personnel cut will come from.
Bring on the hate....BRING IT! Yup, I'm keeping Jarrett Bush, and why do you ask? Tracey White....that's why. Those with long memories will remember this linebacker and special teams ace. He was cut by the Packers because...well...he was a terrible linebacker. So we upgraded our defense, but our special teams were terrible for a while. Jarrett Bush is rather similar. He's a special teams ace but should not see the field. As a result Bush makes the team but they also keep enough corners that it would take a couple injuries to force him into action.
Not going to lie, this group looks a little rough...but it should be enough to get the job done.
With the NFL expanding the roster to 90 it's going to cause a very interesting camp battles. This is going to be intensified with the focused draft on the defensive side of the ball and the development of talent on the offensive side of the ball (especially at WR). It should make for an interesting round of minicamps and training camp.
So what do you all think at this wild guess at the 2012 Packer roster?