It is still early to start in the offseason to start thinking about depth charts, but doing so is a useful exercise when trying to evaluate the holes in an NFL team's roster in advance of the NFL Draft. Today, we're doing just that for the Green Bay Packers.
Considering the Packers' extensive use of both three wide receivers and five defensive backs on offense and defense, respectively, we are including twelve "starting" positions on each unit. The additional is of course a slot receiver and a slot cornerback.
Keep in mind that this is not necessarily meant to be a projection of how the depth chart will look at the start of the regular season or even at the beginning of training camp. Let us know where you agree with our judgments and where you disagree.
|QB||Aaron Rodgers||Brett Hundley||Ryan Williams|
|RB||Eddie Lacy||James Starks||John Crockett|
|WR1||Jordy Nelson||Jeff Janis||Jamel Johnson|
|WR2||Davante Adams||Ty Montgomery||Ed Williams|
|Slot WR||Randall Cobb||Ty Montgomery||Jared Abbrederis|
|TE||Richard Rodgers||Jared Cook||Justin Perillo||Kennard Backman, Mitchell Henry|
|LT||David Bakhtiari||JC Tretter||Jeremy Vujnovich||Vince Kowalski|
|LG||Josh Sitton||Lane Taylor||Josh Walker||Matt Rotheram|
|C||Corey Linsley||JC Tretter||T.J. Lang|
|RG||T.J. Lang||Lane Taylor||Josh Walker||Matt Rotheram|
|RT||Bryan Bulaga||JC Tretter||Josh Walker||Jeremy Vujnovich, Vince Kowalski|
For now, Richard Rodgers maintains his hold on the starting tight end job by virtue of his familiarity and experience within the Packers' organization and offense. New addition Jared Cook could find himself in that role eventually, but he will need to prove himself in the offseason and training camp as being a better every-down option than Rodgers.
Thanks to JC Tretter's impressive performance at left tackle in the Wild-Card round of the playoffs, he gets the clear nod as David Bakhtiari's backup at that position. Tretter should be in line for more snaps in some form this season, whether that be in a slight rotation on the line or as an in-line tight end.
As a final point, that receiving corps still looks dangerous when healthy. To be sure, it's a far cry from the unit that was on the field at the end of the Packers' Divisional Round loss in Arizona.
|LDE (5T)||Josh Boyd||Letroy Guion||Mike Pennel*||Ray Drew, B.J. McBryde|
|NT||Letroy Guion||Mike Pennel*||William Campbell|
|RDE (3T)||Mike Daniels||Christian Ringo|
|LOLB||Julius Peppers||Datone Jones||Jayrone Elliott|
|LILB||Jake Ryan||Nate Palmer||Joe Thomas|
|MLB||Sam Barrington||Carl Bradford|
|ROLB||Clay Matthews||Nick Perry||Jayrone Elliott|
|LCB||Damarious Randall||Quinten Rollins||Demetri Goodson||Robertson Daniel|
|Slot CB||Micah Hyde||Quinten Rollins||Demetri Goodson|
|SS||Morgan Burnett||Chris Banjo|
|FS||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||Micah Hyde|
|RCB||Sam Shields||Quinten Rollins||LaDarius Gunter|
* Pennel has been suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season.
Obvious areas of concern are obvious - either the 5-technique end position or nose tackle need buttressing. Josh Boyd's return will be welcome for a unit that is missing Pennel to start the season, but the bet here is that the Packers find another lineman no later than day two of the 2016 Draft.
Meanwhile, the inside linebacker tandem will not exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing offensive coordinators just yet. The secondary is a different story, however, with talent and youth at all levels. Don't be surprised if Quinten Rollins ends up as the primary slot corner by the end of training camp, but for now we have Hyde as the top option by virtue of his experience.
|LS||Rick Lovato||Justin Perillo|
|KR||Ty Montgomery||Jeff Janis||Jared Abbrederis, Micah Hyde|
|PR||Micah Hyde||Ty Montgomery||Randall Cobb, Jared Abbrederis|
There should be few surprises here - Hyde had a rough year returning punts, with just a 5.8-yard average on 27 returns, but he is entrenched as the top option for now. Montgomery averaged over 30 yards per kickoff return in his six games, though Janis was very impressive in his time there, averaging 29 yards per return.