The Green Bay Packers had depth issues at safety before Nick Collins went down with an injury, and things got truly dire when he went down for the season last year. Anthony Levine and M.D. Jennings, who didn't have the benefit of a full training camp, just weren't ready to start. Charlie Peprah stepped in and did an adequate job, but not good enough that Packers fans were confident in him as a starter going forward.
Levine and Jennings impressed in minicamp, while rookie Jerron McMillian is a great talent. The safety job should be a battle in preseason, and with three guys all gunning for Peprah's job, he's easily one of the top candidates to see his production go backwards in 2012.
Charlie Peprah's stats in 2011: 74 tackles, 5 interceptions, 10 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble - Without watching Charlie Peprah play, it's easy to look at these numbers and say that he's not as bad as Packers fans seem to say. And honestly, he wasn't Peprah was not as good as Nick Collins, the guy we expected to start throughout the season. He was thrown into a tough situation, and did an adequate, though not spectacular job.
Those are starter's numbers, though, and on a team that didn't have much in the way of backups. If Peprah was healthy, he had to play. Even if he does beat out all of Jennings, Levine and McMillian in camp -- which I don't anticipate happening -- the Packers might use more one-safety sets this season, and might bring in other players for certain packages. Peprah, even as a starter, should get less snaps than he did last season.
Why I might be full of it - Because McMillian is a completely unknown quantity, while Jennings and Levine are mostly unknown quantities. From the little we've seen of them and the way the coaches talk about them, we think that one of them will beat Peprah for a job, but we just don't know. There's a very real possibility that Peprah is going to out-perform all of them at camp, and that he's going to start every game next season.
Projected stats for Peprah in 2012: 30 tackles, 1 interception, 4 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble - Peprah's going to play at some point. I expect him to be the primary backup for two safety positions, so I picked numbers somewhere between his 2007 and 2010 seasons. I'm expecting him to play in every game, but start a quarter of the Packers' games or less.