Green Bay Packers: A Very Early Look at the 2011 53 Man Roster, the Offense

Nicholas KashianContributor IIFebruary 21, 2011

2011 Green Bay Packers 53 man roster: Offense (26)

Quarterback (two)

1. Aaron Rodgers 

2. Matt Flynn 

Flynn is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2011 season so look for the Packers to try to lock him up long term sometime after the new collective bargaining agreement is ironed out.  

A two year, nine million dollar extension seems reasonable.  The Packers could then groom a player preferably on the practice squad for a year in order to have a replacement for Flynn who deserves to be a starter at some point soon.

His value is likely a second round pick and if a CBA is worked out prior to the draft he could be traded this off season.  As AFC teams perched high in the draft order like Buffalo, Tennessee, Cincinnati, and perhaps even Cleveland are all in need of a quaterback.  And, could all make the Packers an offer to good to refuse if they determine he is a better option than any of the quarterbacks coming out this year. Which I think he is right now today doesn't mean that will be the case five years down the road.  But, a team like Tennessee or Cincinnati with good young talent at the skill positions could desire a signal caller that can step in immediately with fewer hiccups   and growing pains than can be expected out of the average first time NFL starter.

Cleveland was reportedly willing to trade a second round pick for Flynn last off season in order to make him their starter, and that was before Flynn lit up  the Patriots in his first NFL start nearly leading his team to a last second fourth quarter come back victory.  The Packers eventually decided he was worth more as a backup, but don't be surprised if a team sweetens the deal and Flynn ends up starting for an AFC team in 2011.  In which case the Packers would certainly select a quarterback relatively high perhaps Andy Dalton of TCU or Colin Kapernick out of Nevada in the third or fourth round.

Running Back (six)

1. Ryan Grant HB

Grant suffered a very bad leg injury in the first game of the 2010 season, the injury to the ligament in his ankle was so traumatic that it broke a bone in his lower leg.  By all accounts Grant should be ready to go by the start of training camp and he should be given every opportunity to regain his starting position.  When healthy Grant has proven to be a top 10 NFL back rushing for 1200 yards in back to back seasons before getting hurt last year.  

2. James Starks HB

3. Brandon Jackson HB

Jackson is scheduled to become a free agent and I think the Packers should retain him as a third down back he is great in blitz pick up and catching the ball out of the backfield and he can play special teams.. 

4. John Kuhn FB

5. Korey Hall FB

6. Quinn Johnson FB (upgrade possibility)

The former fifth round draft pick hasn't really lived up to his potential and this could be the year the Packers choose to keep just two fullbacks on the roster.  They could either use the roster spot at another position perhaps linebacker or along the defensive line or they could choose to add the one thing missing from both their running back group and special teams units.  And, that's a explosive back with great speed and agility that is a threat to take it the distance on any touch from any point on the field either out of the backfield spilt out wide or in the return game.  Players like Oregon States' Jaquizz Rodgers, Kentucky's Derrick Locke, or West Virginia's Noel Devine could be options in the third, fourth and fifth rounds, respectively.

Tight End (three)

Donlad Lee's time in Green Bay comes to and end an the Packers keep just three tight ends for the first time in three years.

1. JerMichael Finely

2. Andrew Quarless

3. Tom Crabtree

Wide Receiver (five)

1. Greg Jennings

2. Donald Driver

3. James Jones

4. Jordy Nelson

5. Brett Swain (upgrade possibility)

Swain hasn't done anything of note in his time in Green Bay and the Packers need to start seriously thinking about the day Donald Driver can no longer be the starter opposite Jennings.  I think Driver could excel as a number three, four or even five at some point because of his attitude and great physical shape he just will probably only start for one more season.

Thus, Swain is likely to lose his job to a rookie with the potential to become a starter and most likely the ability to return kicks early in his career.  Several receivers could fit that bill and I wouldn't rule out Thompson using a pick as high as the second round to go get another receiver for his Super Bowl MVP quarterback.  

Maybe he makes the Flynn trade getting a second and a fourth from the Bengals and then selects Maryland receiver Torrey Smith or Pitts' John Baldwin with the second rounder.  The one scenario I could see Thompson using his first round pick on a receiver is if Alabama's Julio Jones slipped and there were no olb's or offensive tackles Tompson deemed worthy of the pick.  

Troy's Jerrial Jerniggan could be an option at the end of the second round.  Or he could set his sights on Boise States' Titus Young or LSU's Terrance Tolliever in the third round.  In the fourth or fifth round tiny Mount Union's Cecil Shorts III, the Packers have had good luck in the draft with IIIs CM3 meet CS3, or USC's Ronald Johnson could find themselves headed to Green Bay.

Offensive Line (nine)

1. Chad Clifton T

2. Bryan Bulaga T

3. TJ Lang G/T

4. Marshall Newhouse C/G/T

5. Scott Wells C

6. Josh Sitton G

7. Daryn Colledge G (upgrade possiability)

Last off season Colledge was publicly critical of his stature as a restricted free agent expressing a desire to leave Green Bay. His attitude may have changed after becoming a champion in Green Bay but he may be done as a Packer regardless.  He was by far the Packers worst starting offensive lineman in 2011 and if an upgrade is needed on the starting unit it is at left guard.  Florida's Mike Pouncey a first rounder and Baylor's Danny Watkins a second rounder could step in from day one and be upgrades over Colledge at left guard.

8. Jason Spitz G/C (upgrade possibility)

Spitz is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March fourth and after being pulled from the game against the Lions due to his poor play its very conceivable that he wont be offered a contact to return in 2011.  Spitz is likely to lose his job to a tackle of the future if the Packers decide to retain Colledge.  

If they let Colledge walk he could be given another shot to prove himself as a backup he is able to play wither center or guard versatility that is increasingly valuable in today's NFL where it is common for teams to go into games with on seven offensive lineman active.  Gabe Carimi of Wisconsin or Derrick Sherrod of Missippi State could be tackle options for Green Bay at the end of the first round either has the versatility to be able to start out their careers at guard in place of Colledge.

Demarcus Love of Arkansas, James Carpenter of Alabama, Marcus Gilbert from Florida, Derek Hall of Stanford, or Willie Smith from East Carolina could be options in the secondthird, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds respectively.

9. Nick McDonald C

The Packers like the big man's nasty demeanor and physical play.  However, if Spitz stays he could find himself victim to that aforementioned tackle of the future.  If he stays he could be given a chance to compete with Scott Wells for the starting job at center.  

At 6'4" he is a much bigger man than the undersized Wells who is only 6'1".  Either he, Spitz or Newhouse will be the long snapper which will be huge, saving the Packers a roster spot that they have used on a speciality player for years.

Kicker (one)

1.Mason Crosby

The Packers have all seven of their draft picks and as NFL Champions are slated to pick at the bottom of each round.  They also will receive a compensatory selection at the end of either the third or fourth round because they lost defensive end Aaron Kampman in free agency last year while signing not a single free agent.  

On offense they could be in the market for a interior lineman and  a quarterback depending on what they decide to do with Matt Flynn, Darren Colledge and Jason Spitz.   

They will almost certainly draft a receiver to upgrade from Brett Swain, a running back to upgrade from Quinn Johnson, and a tackle of the future to play behind starters Clifton and Bulaga.


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