Yesterday, we posted on Andrew Datko. Today's rookie spotlight post focuses on Jerel Worthy.
How acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round (51st overall)
Chance of making the team: Certain
Reasonable Expectations for 2012: Worthy isn't going to play as much as B.J. Raji, and he might not play as much as Ryan Pickett either, but he's going to be a key contributor to the defense in 2012 if he stays healthy.
The Green Bay Packers are probably going to spend a lot of time in a 2-4-5 base defense, regardless of how you think the safety battle is going to pan out, and he won't be the first team guy in that package on first and second downs. He will, however, be a first team guy on any three or four down lineman packages, and could potentially play on most third downs.
Worthy was a very good interior pass rusher in a 4-3 for Michigan State, and could win a job as one of the two interior lineman on third downs. He's also practiced as the lone down lineman in the "psycho" package which features one defensive lineman and five linebackers. Expect him to see him on the field in almost all three and four down lineman sets, occasionally in two down lineman sets, and possibly as the lone down lineman whenever Dom Capers feels like busting out the psycho.
How he can exceed expectations: By proving that he has the versatility, fitness and motor to play on first and second downs next to B.J. Raji. He has the size and athletic ability to be an every down lineman, but he has to prove that he has that ability. He was thought of as a guy whose motor ran hot and cold at Michigan State. His issues might have had to do with conditioning, he might have not had the right mentality, or he might not have had the right coaching. There's no way of knowing for sure, but he wasn't dominant on all downs, for four quarters, like someone with his talent could have been in college.
If he's well-coached, his conditioning is perfect and he doesn't have any attitude problems, he can be a star contributor in multiple packages and on all three downs.
Why Packer fans should keep an eye on him: Because he has the talent to be a Cullen Jenkins replacement, but he's far from a sure thing. Because of Jarius Wynn's inconsistency and the suspensions of Mike Neal and Anthony Hargrove, there's a spot to be won in the defensive line rotation right away. Training camp could make or break exactly how much Worthy plays in his rookie year.