Green Bay Packers June Scouting Report
The Packers have schduled Organized Team Activities (OTA) for May 22-24, May 31, June 1-2, and June 6-9. Mandatory minicamp will be June 13-15. Three of the practices are open to the public – although I am not sure which dates those will be. OTAs are a time for installs on both offense and defense, and technique instruction. The players that have been there for a year or so understandably have a better grasp of things and so do better. But we can get an idea of what is new and who shows some ability. This report will probably be made public before the minicamp concludes.
The Packer offense quickly was relatively healthy last season with the exception of two areas. The wide receivers were among the healthy. The Packers return WR Jordy Nelson, WR Davante Adams, WR Randall Cobb, WR Geronimo Allison, WR Trevor Davis, and WR Jeff Janis. Nelson is back – he was during the last half of last year, and he along with Adams are the starters. They are also your best bets for quality fantasy football players. Cobb and Allison, who developed quickly last year, are the next two off the bench. That is unless Davis shows he is ready for prime time. If that is the case, the Packers are in a position to trade a wide out. I am not sure Janis makes the roster this year although he is a lights out special team performer. The Packers also drafted WR DeAngelo Yancey and WR Malachi Dupre whose size, catch radius, and style the Packers think are fits for them. They also added WR Montay Crocket and WR Michael Clark after the draft. They have added WR Max McCaffrey who is 6-2 with 4.40 speed as well. Yancey and Dupre aren’t burners like McCaffery is, but they just know how to get open. There is a lot to like at the receiver position, the decisions will be tough, but it won’t change who starts on Sunday. At running back injuries to RB Eddie Lacy and RB James Starks necessitated some changes. Green Bay returns RB Ty Montgomery who made a position change last year. RB James Starks, RB Don Jackson, and RB Christine Michael were cut after the draft. They added RB Jamaal Williams, RB Aaron Jones, and RB Devante Mays via the draft. Then they added RB William Stanback and RB Kalif Phillips after the draft. Clearly Montgomery is the starter. It is likely Williams makes the roster. After that, there is a four way battle for the last spot. All the new guys did very well at the college level. But the scouting report for Mays starts "When he is healthy …." – doesn’t speak well for his durability. But even once the three are known; it is not clear how the chemistry will work between them. At quarterback, QB Aaron Rodgers is the starter and your fantasy value player. QB Brett Hundley has graduated to backup. QB Joe Callahan is the third string quarterback. At tight end things have really changed. The Packers added TE Martellus Bennett and TE Lance Kendricks were added via free agency. Otherwise TE Richard Rodgers returns. TE Beau Sandland, a practice squad guy from last year, and TE Aaron Peck were also added. Expect Bennett to get most of the playing time and that should translate to being the best Packer fantasy option at tight end. Last year the offensive line was fairly healthy. Four of the five starters return. They are OT David Bakhtari at left tackle, OG Lane Taylor at left guard, OC Corey Linsley at center, and OT Bryan Bulaga at right tackle. The question now is who replaces starter OG TJ Lang – and to a lesser extent who replaces super sub OC JC Tretter. As usual the list of prospects is long. The two most likely candidates are OG Jahri Evans and OG Kyle Murphy – who switched from tackle this off season. Also in the mix are backup OG Don Barclay, practice squad player from last year OG Lucas Patrick, free agent OG Justin McCray, and undrafted free agents OG Adam Pankey and OG Thomas Evans. Draft pick OT Kofi Amichea is a likely candidate to replace OC JC Tretter. He received snaps at tackle, guard, and center during the first OTA.
I am not sure the Packer defense is worth fantasy consideration, but the Packers won’t be accused of not trying to improve it. On the defensive line, the Packers return DE Mike Daniels, DE LeRoy Guion, DE Christian Ringo, DE Kenny Clark, DE Dean Lowry, and DE Brian Price. The Packers have also signed free agent DT Ricky Jean Francois, added DE Montravius Adams via the draft, and signed undrafted free agent DE Izaah Lunsford. Guion faces a 4 game suspension to start the season. Clark and Lowry started to come on toward the end of last year. Along with Daniels and the additions of Francois and Adams the Packers may have improved their pass rush and run support. At inside line backer things remain relative calm for a change. Packers return LB Jake Ryan, LB Joe Thomas, LB Blake Martinez, and LB Reggie Gilbert. To this group only LB Cody Heiman was added. He isn’t likely to make the team. Expect the first three to make the team and help will come from draft pick S Josh Jones. At outside linebacker the Packers return LB Clay Matthews, LB Nick Perry, LB Jayrone Elliott, LB Kyler Fackell, and LB Jordan Tripp. The Packers also added LB Vince Biegel via the draft and two undrafted free agents LB Johnathan Calvin and LB Josh Letuligasenoa. The Packers are obviously planning on Matthews, Perry, and Elliott staying healthy for a change. Fackrell will contribute more this year. But it is clear they are expecting Biegel to play as well. Biegel will already be late for training camp due to surgery – so (injury wise) he will fit right in. At corner back CB Sam Shields is gone because of concussion issues. CB Demarious Randall, CB Quinten Rollins, and CB Ladarius Gunter, did not fare so well. Enter draft pick CB Kevin King and free agent CB Devon House. Also on the roster are CB Demetri Goodson, CB Josh Hawkins – both of whom are probably gone. Goodson has good size but struggled in his second year. His two year tryout is likely over. Hawkins is a hard hitter but his size (5-10) was exploited and his lack of assignment awareness cost the Packers last year. It came to a head last year when he did not tackle a Lion WR after a catch that was run in for a TD. The Packers also signed undrafted free agents CB Lenzy Pipkins, and CB Donatello Brown. All three have played CB in college and are taller. Also on the roster are projects CB Herb Waters and CB Raysean Pringle – both of whom are trying to make the conversion from wide receiver to corner back. At safety the undisputed starters are S Morgan Burnett and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for the third straight year. S Kentrell Brice, S Marwin Evans, S Jermaine Whitehead all return. The Packers drafted S Josh Jones, and added S Aaron Taylor after the draft. Jones is probably the new S Micah Hyde who is now in Buffalo. And he will probably assist the inside linebackers as he did in college. I know contact is not allowed in OTA’s, but Jones is making big plays.
If I were picking my Packer fantasy players now, QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson, and WR Davante Adams would be my first tier guys. Second tier would be TE Martellus Bennett and K Mason Crosby. Too early to predict what kind of a defense will show up. Running back is another area of uncertainty although RB Ty Montgomery has been named the starter. Hopefully training camp clarifies some of that. Next month I’ll provide an update on what has changed with the Packers and what to look out for in training camp. Until then good luck with your own fantasy draft board.
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