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.
Today, we continue our 90-man roster rankings with players 40 through 31.
T-40. Don Barclay - Offensive Tackle
Don Barclay has been two different players in each of his two seasons. As a rookie, he yielded pressure regularly, leading to five sacks and 19 hits on Aaron Rodgers in only eight games counting the playoffs. However, his performance in the run game, while unspectacular, was solid enough to provide Packers running backs some holes to run through. This past year however, Barclay actually managed to keep pass rushers at bay reasonably often. Cancelling out this improvement, he failed to establish a push in the running game.
While coach Mike McCarthy has referred to Barclay as a "starter," it has become clear that a better role for the third-year blocker is that of the utility, sixth offensive lineman. During OTAs and minicamp, Barclay practiced at both guard spots and right tackle. That kind of versatility is essential during the season, especially when injuries occur in the middle of a game. If a starter other than David Bakhtiari is sidelined, Barclay can either replace them directly or, as is the case with center, move into right guard and allow T.J. Lang to shift over.
T-38. Derek Sherrod - Offensive Tackle
In an interesting twist, there was an even split between the APC writers who preferred Derek Sherrod to Don Barclay and those who felt the opposite. With a scant two additional points, Sherrod took the higher spot on our list.
Sherrod's perceived ability is based on his athleticism, size, and status as a former first-round pick as little else can be used to evaluate him. Finally healthy after a gruesome leg injury cost him all of 2012 and much of last year, Sherrod will focus exclusively at left tackle this offseason. He won't start barring an injury to David Bakhtiari, but he could prove very valuable as depth.
T-38. Davon House - Cornerback
After losing a starting cornerback job to a shoulder injury in 2012, Davon House has yet to establish himself as a consistent contributor. He'll flash potential at times (his performance against Cleveland in 2013), and then look like a CFL player soon after (his game against Chicago two weeks later).
If House's play is more consistent in 2014, the final year of his rookie contract, he can indeed produce at the level of an NFL starter.
37. Matt Flynn - Quarterback
Matt Flynn's value is unquestioned. One needs to look no farther than the three straight losses the Packers incurred in Aaron Rodgers' absence before Flynn straightened the ship. He's not spectacular; Flynn's arm strength is merely average while he doesn't have the wheels of either Rodgers or Scott Tolzien. However, he's a cerebral quarterback that can keep the Packers offense effective when called upon. While he struggled outside the organization, Flynn performs well in Green Bay.
36. Josh Boyd - Defensive Lineman
A fifth-round pick in 2013, Josh Boyd quietly put together a good final quarter to his rookie season. At his weight -- 310 lbs. as a rookie and reportedly bigger this year -- Boyd can play any position across the Packers' defensive line. He's not expected to start, but much like Mike Daniels a year ago, Boyd could take on a major role by the end of the season.
35. Mason Crosby - Place Kicker
Few thought that Mason Crosby could recover from the dreadful 63.6% field goal conversion rate he produce in 2012. Now entering 2014, just as few people even worry about him anymore. Crosby put together a career-high 89.2 field goal percentage last season, placing him among the NFL's elite. His powerful leg and skilled onside kicking ability are equally impressive.
34. Richard Rodgers - Tight End
Despite all the hoopla surrounding rookie Colt Lyerla, it was third-round pick Richard Rodgers that made the biggest impression in OTAs and minicamp. There are legitimate questions surrounding Rodgers' speed and blocking ability, but none regarding his hands. He's caught nearly everything thrown his way thus far. Rodgers is also responsible for multiple highlight-reel quality one-hand grabs. Andrew Quarless is still the starter at tight end, but Rodgers could push him throughout the season.
33. Carl Bradford - Linebacker
With the skills of a defensive end and the stature of an undersized linebacker, Carl Bradford's place in Green Bay's defense may evolve in future years. However, the coaching staff plans to use Bradford mostly at outside linebacker as a rookie. When one considers his production in college (21.5 sacks and 43 tackles for loss over three years), playing him near the line of scrimmage makes sense. His playing time will adjust based on the health of Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Nick Perry, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Bradford playing a significant amount of snaps in obvious passing situations sometime this year.
T-31. Tim Masthay - Punter
Since the time that Tim Masthay won the punter competition in 2010, the Packers haven't had any reason to worry about that position. While his numbers don't place Masthay among the league's elite (he's finished 18 or worse in net punting average every year), such would be expected of any kicking specialist working under the unique challenges of Green Bay's weather. Masthay does a solid job in conditions that have ruined a number of punters. That's more than enough to justify the reverence he receives from the Packers coaching staff and his teammates.
T-31. John Kuhn - Fullback
John Kuhn may not fit the bill of a traditional fullback, but a traditional fullback wouldn't succeed with the Packers. In addition to opening holes for his backfield mate, Kuhn is asked to provide pass protection in critical passing situations and grind out short yardage when everyone in the stadium knows what's coming. He isn't flashy, but he's also the player most well versed in the Packers offense after Aaron Rodgers. That experience has proven highly valuable in past years and should continue to keep Kuhn on the field for at least another season.