Packers' 90-Man Roster Countdown: Players 5-1

Kevin C. Cox

The members of the APC staff ranked each player on the Packers' 90-man roster. We continue our countdown by revealing players 5 though 1.

With OTAs and minicamp in the rearview mirror and training camp not opening until late July, the APC staff decided to rank every member of the Packers' 90-man roster. Players were rated on their playing ability in 2014, not on projected value in future seasons. It follows that the top 53 aren't necessarily the 53 players that will make up the final roster come September.

We conclude our 90-man roster rankings with players 5 through 1.

5. Eddie Lacy - Running Back

The Packers' last balanced offensive attack came in 2009, and you have to go back to 2003 for the last time the offense was truly dominant passing and running the ball. If Eddie Lacy remains healthy during the upcoming season, 2014 could go down as Green Bay's best all-around offensive campaign.

Lacy burst onto the scene as a rookie accumulating 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns on 284 carries with another 257 yards coming off of 35 receptions. Most importantly, much of that production came while Aaron Rodgers was sidelined with a fractured collarbone. With Rodgers healthy and unlikely to miss half the season again, opposing defenses have to be truly frightened at Green Bay's offensive weaponry.

4. Josh Sitton - Offensive Guard

Since becoming a full-time starter in 2008, Josh Sitton has unquestionably outperformed every other Green Bay offensive lineman. Sitton's play has long been worthy of All-Pro consideration, but it wasn't until he switched to left guard that he finally earned that distinction. Credited with only one sack, eight pressures, and zero hits allowed on the quarterback, Sitton put together his finest season in 2013. That stat line is even more impressive when you consider that he played alongside a rookie left tackle the entire year. After Aaron Rodgers, no player on the Packers' offense is harder to replace than Sitton.

3. Jordy Nelson - Wide Receiver

2013 proved to be the best season of Jordy Nelson's career. He set career highs in both catches (85) and receiving yards (1,314) without his starting quarterback for half the season.

Nelson also had to perform without many of his fellow pass catchers. Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jermichael Finley all missed significant time in 2013 with all of their absences overlapping for the Packers' week 8 tilt with Minnesota. Despite being Green Bay's lone proven receiver in that game (Jarrett Boykin had only one start under his belt at the time), Nelson had his best game of the year, posting 123 yards and two scores on seven catches.

Nelson's great year can't merely be described in a stat line, however. The veteran receiver produced more spectacular plays than any other Packer in 2013. In fact, no player had more Top 10 plays in our countdown than Nelson. While his profile nationally isn't as high as it should be, Nelson's contributions won't go ignored here.

2. Clay Matthews - Outside Linebacker

While injuries cost Clay Matthews five games last season (six if you count the clubbed hand game), Matthews still played effectively when (mostly) healthy. Such has been the trend with the former USC standout since entering the league. When his limbs are operational, there's no more complete edge pass rusher in the league. While it would be unwise to expect Matthews to suit up for 16 games in 2014, if he can suit up for 13+ games in the regular season and enter the postseason healthy, the Packers will be happy with the results.

1. Aaron Rodgers - Quarterback

It's no surprise that Aaron Rodgers tops our list of players on the Packers' 90-man roster. No Green Bay player is more effective, more creative, more impactful at their job than Rodgers is at his. One of the truly transcendent football players of his generation, Rodgers is already widely championed as a future Hall of Famer, and those who disagree only do so because he's started for only six seasons. Regardless, Rodgers finds his way into every argument for best player in the league. That rarefied air -- shared by only Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, J.J. Watt, and few others -- illustrates why Rodgers will remain the Packers' top player every year for the foreseeable future.

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Tomorrow, we reveal each of our voter's individual rankings.

Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as a contributor at various publications. His work has previously appeared on Hook’em Headlines, Beats Per Minute, and Lombardi Ave.
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