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Justin Harrell or Bust

Rob Demovsky took a look at the rookies who have a chance to start in 2007.

This is probably the biggest difference entering 2007 versus the 2006. Last season, it was obvious that the Packers were going to start rookies at key positions. The 2005 veteran free agents on the offensive line bombed, and two starters, G Will Whitticker and Grey Ruegamer, were not going to be with the team anymore. The Packers had spent two high draft choices on Gs Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz, and the jobs were theirs to lose. Also, veteran LBs Na'il Diggs and Paris Lenon were allowed to leave in free agency, and there was never an indication that LB A.J. Hawk wouldn't start.

In 2006, only rookie DT Justin Harrell has a legitimate shot at starting. Actually for him, it shouldn't be whether he starts, but whether he plays more snaps than DT Corey Williams. Harrell has some passing rushing skills, but it might be enough for him to stay on the field on 3rd downs when the pass rush would be better with Kampman, Williams, Jenkins, and Gbaja-Biamila on at the same time. The next best bet is RB Brandon Jackson, but he never started a full season in college and the Packers have to be reluctant to start him from week 1 and expect him to make through until the end of the season. He probably will be the starter at the end of the season, but not at the beginning. It would be a shock if WR James Jones managed to build off his only solid college season last year to overtake WR Greg Jennings, and he probably has little chance to overtake WR Ruvell Martin either. There might be a rookie starting at fullback, but which one of the four rookies has the best shot over the other ones is pure speculation for us at this point. Arguably K Mason Crosby has the best shot at starting as a rookie, but that's not the same as a rookie who has to learn the offense or defense.