Green Bay Packers 2012 Roster Projection: Defensive Final Results

Aug 30, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Dezman Moses (54) prepares to hit Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Ricky Stanzi (12) during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Chiefs 24-3. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Earlier the 2012 Roster Projection series began the wrapping up process with a look at how we did on the offensive side of the ball. Now it's time to look at the defensive side of the ball. The Packers kept 26 players on this side of the ball along with the three special team specialists. This side of the ball also offered two of the larger battles for a starting position in the cornerback battle and the safety battle. Let's see how we did in our projections:

DL Projection: B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Jerel Worthy, Mike Daniels, Daniel Muir, Jarius Wynn

What The Roster Actually Looks LIke: Raji, Pickett, Worthy, Daniels, C.J. Wilson, Phillip Merling

What We Said Then:

I'm sure that there are some fans of C.J. Wilson and Lawrence Guy out there, and I'm sure some of you think that Phillip Merling might finally make the most of his talent. I thought Wynn was solid last year though, and I'm comfortable with him as a backup DE to start the season. I don't know a ton about Muir, but with Howard Green gone, the team needs a backup nose tackle (even though Pickett can play it in a pinch). He'll make the team unless Johnny Jones has a stellar camp and preseason.

What We Are Saying Now:

One of the bigger surprise cuts was that of Daniel Muir. While he wasn't having a great preseason he was pretty good and seemed to show more than Phillip Merling, but Merling made the squad and Muir did not. Now the question is if Muir is simply a placeholder for Mike Neal. Wilson started camp as the starter in the base defense and never gave that position up. Wynn could not keep up with the added talent along the defensive line.

OLB Projection: Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Erik Walden, Dezman Moses

What The Roster Actually Looks Like: Matthews, Perry, Moses

What We Said Then:

[On Walden and Moses] I don't expect either of these guys to really wow us this year....or ever really. Walden is extremely okay, and should be a solid backup. Moses is an interesting project, but after seeing how Zombo and So'oto have fared so far I'm a bit doubtful on what any UFDA is going to do once the games go at full speed. I would liken this to the same reaction most Packer fans have recently towards high drafted DT's after the Mike Neal and Justin Harrell experience. In the end either Walden or Moses could be substituted for Zombo or So'oto and I wouldn't be shocked.

What We Are Saying Now:

The Perry transition has gone better than expected at this point. He is acceptable in coverage and very good in rushing the passer. Walden and Moses each had a good preseason beating up on the backups and consistently getting penetration (Walden is only not on this roster because of his one game suspension). Zombo and So'oto haven't left the building yet either. Zombo sits on the PUP and So'oto has been sent to IR, so we may not have heard the last of either of them.

ILB Projection: A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop, D.J. Smith, Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore

What The Roster Actually Looks Like: Hawk, Smith, Jones, Lattimore, Robert Francois, Terrell Manning

What We Said Then:

The Packers have kept a large supply of ILB's on the roster over the past few seasons going all the way back to the log jam of Desmond Bishop, A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, and Brandon Chillar. Last year Chillar and Barnett left town, but the surprising play of D.J. Smith and Robert Francois kept the team from hurting too much when Bishop and Hawk couldn't answer the bell. This year the four guys from last year are there as well as a few guys from the OLB spot (Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore) and a fresh faced rookie Terrell Manning. All this means some interesting camp battles and a few guys on the bubble going into the heart of the preseason.

What We Are Saying Now:

Just before preseason Bishop injured his hamstring which slowed his entrance to camp. When he didy get back in time for the first preseason game he got injured and is currently on IR. This extended absence in camp opened the door for Smith to ascend to the starting role many hoped for, but also eliminated the notion of being on the bubble for many of these players. The player who was at the biggest risk of losing his job as Manning due to a fairly quiet preseason, but the promise of future talent won out and he made the roster.

CB Projection: Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson, Jarrett Bush, Sam Shields, Davon House, Casey Hayward

What The Roster Actually Looks Like: Williams, Woodson, Bush, Shields, House, Hayward, Brandian Ross

What We Said Then:

[On the then thought of starters] Lots has been said about what position Woodson will play, but I think when you look at what he is expected to do this year it won't be radically different from what he did last year....Williams should have a solid to great year in 2012 provided he can stay healthy. Shields is the biggest question mark, hopefully with some safety help he can show that 2010 wasn't a fluke. [on Bush and House] I hate putting Bush as a back up. I don't believe that he's a back up in this group really, but he will be if the Packers need him to play[,] provided injuries strike the position group again. House is a guy I expect to be in the rotation and provide some size and stability that was missing last year. [On Ross] Ross was a darling of last year's camp and may get the Packers to think twice about keeping 7 CB's, but he's just not quite there yet. He's got good size (6-0 191 lbs.) but will probably need one more year to develop. He could possibly push for a job next year if Shields or House flame out or Woodson makes a full transition to safety.

What We Are Saying Now:

Woodson's move to safety is a bit more than I expected in June, but I would still stand by the statement that his role won't be radically different from what we have seen in years past. Williams looked good in the preseason and back to his old self. Shields struggled and may have only made the roster of future promise rather than preseason performance. House and Hayward have both come a long way since June with House the favorite to win the number two corner position when he returns from a shoulder injury. Bush is interesting with a strong camp and a desire to get on the field more. He may not be the disaster many thought he would be. Ross is a surprise to make the roster. it will be interesting to see if he is still on the roster once Erik Walden's suspension is done.

S Projection: Charlie Peprah, Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian

What The Roster Actually Looks Like: Burnett, Jenning, McMillian, Sean Richardson

What We Said Then:

[On Jennings and Peprah] I thought about putting Peprah on the cut list. I really did. It's something that wouldn't surprise me if a couple of the younger guys can have a lights out camp, but until then Peprah really does enough to keep his spot on the roster. Jennings has turned some heads on special teams and in the early camps. If he builds this into a strong camp he should be able to turn that into some significant playing time as well. [On Richardson] I wish I could tell you a whole bunch about Richardson and why he's deserving of a PS spot, but right now I can't. I do have a gut feeling that the Packers are going to try and keep a guy around on the PS to develop into a future contributor at this spot since they are in desperate need of a long term answer here though.

What We Are Saying Now:

Throughout camp Richardson made plays on special teams in the defense showing good speed and strength. Through this play he was able ti find a way on to the roster. This spot for Richardson was opened up by the surprising cut of Peprah before camp began. Jennings was not able to build on his early edge from OTA's and is now in a fight with McMillian for the starting spot, of which McMillian is believed to have earned for week one.

Special Teams Projection: Mason Crosby, Tim Masthay, Brett Goode

What The Roster Actually Looks LIke: Crosby, Mathsay, Goode

What We Said Then:

Each of these three players has been on the roster for at least two season - Crosby for five, Goode for four, and Masthay for two. Crosby signed a five-year contract last summer after the lockout ended, and he's shaken some inconsistencies to become one of the mosre reliable kickers in the NFL. Masthay has improved from his rookie year in 2010 to post the best gross punting average in Packers history last season at 45.6 yards (breaking Craig Hentrich's 1997 record of 45.0). Goode hasn't made a bad snap in his four years as the Packers heir to Rob Davis....The Packers haven't signed a second year player to even practice at any of these three position. Kevin put it best yesterday, only injury or arrest will keep these guys off the roster.

What We Are Saying Now:

None of these guys ere injured or arrested. The only trouble part was some inaccuracy on the part of Crosby early in the preseason as he was getting used to the new wind pattern in the south end zone.

Wrapping Up The 2012 Roster Projection Series Articles:

Offensive Final Results | Through The First Round Of Cuts

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