Green Bay Packers July Scouting Report
OTAs are complete. Minicamp is in the past. Veterans with 5 or more years of experience were sent home from minicamp – so nothing new was learned. This report will focus on training camp story lines which have been well publicized. But let’s take a look anyway.
Offensively the areas of concern are wide receivers, running backs, and linemen. So I’ll address each position and share the concerns along the way. At quarterback there is no drama. QB Aaron Rodgers is the starter and your fantasy value player. QB Brett Hundley is the backup. QB Joe Callahan is the third string quarterback. There is also QB Taysom Hill. But he has a long way to go to dislodge Callahan. At running back RB Ty Montgomery, who made a position change last year, is the starter – and if you are going to take a Packer fantasy running back, it would be him. The media seems to think there is some uncertainty with how well he will do. But he did well in the position switch last year averaging about 6 yards per carry. He is getting tutored this year by Brandon Jackson – a former Packer starting running back from 2010 when they last won the super bowl. He will learn about blitz pick up making him a 3 down back. The next concern is who backs him up. My bet is that one will be RB Jamaal Williams, The other roster candidates are RB Aaron Jones, RB Devante Mays, RB William Stanback, and RB Kalif Phillips – none of whom are on the fantasy radar right now. The top wide receivers are WR Jordy Nelson, WR Davante Adams, and WR Randall Cobb. You could say those three are the safe fantasy wide receivers to take. The questions include the following: will WR Geronimo Allison build on his success last year? Does WR Trevor Davis now understand the offense well enough to play full time? And will WR Jeff Janis get the trust of Aaron Rodgers? That would make six receivers – the usual number they keep. Then where do the new guys fit in? They are WR Max McCaffrey who is 6-2 with 4.40 speed and showed well in OTAs, WR DeAngelo Yancey who has shown confidence – size – hand strength – and better than advertised speed in OTAs, WR Malachi Dupre who has also flashed in OTAs, WR Montay Crocket, and WR Michael Clark. At tight end there should be no drama. TE Martellus Bennett is the starter and as of now your best fantasy value. TE Lance Kendricks is next off the bench – and that should be often – but often enough for fantasy consideration? We will see. Otherwise TE Richard Rodgers appears to be third on the totem pole. TE Beau Sandland, and TE Aaron Peck are also on the roster, and have a huge hill to climb to dislodge Rodgers. The offensive line is not a fantasy position. But it is very important if the fantasy players are to perform. Four of the five starters return that hasn’t changed. The projected starters are OT David Bakhtari, OG Lane Taylor, OC Corey Linsley, OG Jahri Evans, and OT Bryan Bulaga. The question now is who are the subs. My bet is that OG Kyle Murphy and OG Don Barclay are two of them. Another could be OT Kofi Amichea. That leaves OG Lucas Patrick, OG Justin McCray, OG Adam Pankey, and OG Thomas Evans – among others to battle for a ninth position or practice squad position.
Defensively there are questions on every level. On the defensive line, the the continued improvement of DE Kenny Clark and DE Dean Lowry are issues. DE Mike Daniels and Ricky Jean Francois are now the veterans with solid roster positions. It would be nice if DE Montravius Adams were an instant sensation. Baring anything unforeseen, he should make the team and get playing time. It is still not clear how the Packers view DE LeRoy Guion’s upcoming 4 game suspension. Perhaps they keep him thru the suspension and then see how things are going. If the Packers don’t need him, they can cut him then. He has had other problems too and you have to wonder when enough will be enough. Others fighting for a roster spot include; DE Christian Ringo, DE Brian Price, DE Izaah Lunsford. At line backer things remain relative calm on the inside for a change. It will be just a matter of how they play the game. Manning the position will be LB Jake Ryan, LB Joe Thomas, and LB Blake Martinez. LB Reggie Gilbert and LB Cody Heiman will face an up hill to make the team. On the outside LB Clay Matthews and LB Nick Perry will start. LB Jayrone Elliott and LB Kyler Fackell are the next two up. LB Vince Biegel and LB Jordan Tripp follow them right now. The Packers use a rotation at the position. So depth will be important – and that is where the question lies. Even with the starters, can they be productive enough? Stay healthy enough? No one knows for sure. We do know long shots LB Johnathan Calvin and LB Josh Letuligasenoa will be fighting for roster spots. Calvin to his credit has received some good press for his efforts in OTAs. In the defensive backfield there are a lot of questions. As one comedian put it, "46 million people and the Packer secondary watched the NFCCG". Who starts, who plays what positions, and who makes the roster are questions to be answered in training camp. My guess would be CB Devon House, CB Kevin King, S Morgan Burnett, and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will start at the basic positions. The Packers play a lot of nickel and some dime defenses. The slot candidates for that are CB Demarious Randall, CB Quinten Rollins, and S Josh Jones. I think it is a good bet that CB Ladarius Gunter and S Kentrell Brice are backups. And at times, Josh Jones may be on the field in place of an inside linebacker. Depending on injuries and how many they keep, CB Demetri Goodson, CB Josh Hawkins, CB Lenzy Pipkins, CB Donatello Brown. CB Herb Waters, CB Raysean Pringle, S Marwin Evans, S Jermaine Whitehead, and S Aaron Taylor are all fighting for roster spots. Waters has received praise from his position coach about his progress in converting from wide receiver to cornerback. The season may be half over before anyone realizes if the defensive questions are answered or not. So there would be some faith involved in taking the Packer defense in a fantasy draft.
Of course injuries could derail some of those things above. 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, WR Randall Cobb, and K Mason Crosby. Too early to predict what kind of a defense will show up. Running back has always been an undervalued position in Green Bay, but RB Ty Montgomery could have some fantasy value. All I know for sure is that training camp starts in late July. In the first August report we will get a glimpse of training camp. I suggest it is time to prepare for the training camp tailgating experience and the looming fantasy draft tailgating party just beyond that. Until next month …
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