Now that the Green Bay Packers have wrapped up the 2017 NFL Draft and rookie minicamp, the team has finalized its 90-man roster heading into the start of OTAs. The Acme Packing Company writing staff has ranked the players in terms of the players’ overall talent levels and likelihoods to make an impact in Green Bay. We will present the single compiled ranking set over a two-week stretch.
No. 30: FB Aaron Ripkowski
The John Kuhn era ended a year ago, but second-year fullback Aaron Ripkowski justified the Packers' decision to move on from the long-time fan favorite. When the team utilized multi-back sets, Ripkowski proved a capable lead blocker. He also demonstrated the ability to tote the rock, averaging over 5 yards per carry and protecting the football (his fumble in the NFC title game notwithstanding). With Green Bay expected to lean on two-tight-end sets more often this season, Ripkowski's versatility could lead to a bigger role in the offense.
No. 29: DL Dean Lowry
The Packers spent a fourth-round pick on Northwestern's Dean Lowry primarily due to his elite athletic traits. Those physical tools began to manifest during the second half of the year when Lowry notched both of his sacks and began to regularly get into the backfield more regularly. The expectations ramp up in Year 2, as Lowry will likely handle double-digit snaps every week. He might not take the leap teammate and former fourth-round defensive lineman Mike Daniels took at the same point in his career, but winning the job as the starting five-tech looks doable.
No. 28: OLB Vince Biegel
Exactly how much the Packers planned to lean on Vince Biegel appeared unclear when they drafted him. His outlook grew cloudier when a foot injury forced the linebacker to undergo surgery. If Biegel misses a minimal amount of training camp, he could still compete for snaps as the third edge rusher. If his recovery lingers on or he suffers a setback, perhaps 2017 becomes a de facto redshirt season.
No. 27: ILB Blake Martinez
Blake Martinez didn't have a particularly strong or poor rookie year. He won the starting inside linebacker spot opposite Jake Ryan, but he saw his snaps dwindle over the second half of the year as Joe Thomas' role increased. Still, if Martinez takes the normal Year 2 jump, the Packers should feature him more heavily in their base defense.
No. 25 (tie): K Mason Crosby
Few place kickers earn more annually than Mason Crosby, but he proved his worth multiple times during 2016. His three 50-yard-plus field goals -- one of which was negated by a timeout -- during a divisional-round tilt with the Dallas Cowboys helped push the Packers to the NFC Championship Game for the second time in three years. Few kickers provide the dependability of Crosby, who ranks only behind Aaron Rodgers as longest-tenured players currently on Green Bay's roster.
No. 25 (tie): TE Lance Kendricks
Martellus Bennett understandably garnered more attention in Green Bay, but Lance Kendricks represents a significant investment by a team that appears determined to attack the middle of the field more aggressively in 2017. Kendricks hauled in a career-best 50 passes last year, and while his pass-catching abilities have defined him as a pro, he does block reasonably well. As such, he could see a significant number of snaps if the Packers do indeed use more two-tight-end sets.
No. 24: S Josh Jones
Josh Jones' official position designation might not matter much as a rookie. The Packers have already tested him out as an off-ball linebacker during rookie minicamp, a role that the athletic N.C. State product could flourish in given the frequency Dom Capers utilizes sub packages. If Jones can improve the defense's ability to defend the middle of the field, he will prove a wise investment.
No. 23: DL Ricky Jean Francois
The Packers picked up veteran Ricky Jean Francois after Washington released him at the outset of the offseason. Jean Francois immediately becomes a contender to start at five-tech and see snaps in sub packages. For a defense that lost its way defending the run, the addition of Jean Francois could prove a smart, inexpensive investment.
No. 22: OT Jason Spriggs
Not every offensive tackle can have a rookie season like David Bakhtiari, a year where he holds his own before putting in a full year in a professional strength and conditioning program. Former second-round pick Jason Spriggs struggled in his debut, lacking the power to battle inside at guard while receiving only occasional snaps at tackle or as a jumbo tight end. With those experiences behind him, Spriggs should enjoy the boost commonly seen in other offensive linemen entering their second season. He still might not see the field much barring an injury to a starter, but the team believes he can provide fantastic depth at a clear position of strength.
No. 21: ILB Jake Ryan
Jake Ryan carved out a role as a rookie in 2015 and maintained it through his second season. However, the Packers need Ryan to develop into more of a playmaker to reduce the number of snaps Clay Matthews spends inside. Ryan has the physical tools, and he has flashed at times. If he doesn't take the leap in 2017, he probably never will.