WR -- surprisingly, no change. I thought Jennings loss would be bigger, but Boykin stepped up.
TE -- also a surprise. improvement.
RB -- clearly the major accomplishment of the year with Lacy. One draft pick I am really glad to have been really wrong about.
QB -- same. The one place where, IMO, an injury explanation holds. On the other hand, I and others have been pointing out for years that with the Packers OL, its a real risk to happen again. Because:
OT, OG, C -- no change. I thought Newhouse would finally step up, but was not to be; I was wrong there. OTOH, I fail to understand the great optimism re: Bahktiari. He showed me virtually nothing to warrant it. And I've never been as sold on Bulaga or Lang as other people. EDS showed as serviceable long term player, but overall I see no grounds for thinking this unit has any more going for it than it did a year ago. I thought it was (excluding Sitton) a mediocre/serviceable unit then, and I think it is a mediocre/serviceable unit now. Same possible unproven potential as before. Until it gets better, I expect to lose Rodgers for some games every year.
Backups: QB slightly better, RB slightly better prosects, TE wash, WR wash, OL no change.
Overall: better because of Lacy.
Wow, Bakhtiari showed you NOTHING? He came is as a rookie, weighting under 300lbs and held up, all year. Was he pro bowl level? NO. But he held up, and with an offseason in the program, he should be able to bulk up plenty. Dude with a 4th rounder, who played better at LT than the top pick overall and the one shortly thereafter did at RT. And did so as the starter for the entire year.
EDS has shown he could get it done at an adequate level. Which is to say, he surprised me. Tretter might beat him out, but EDS can play.
Lang had a great year too. The only really off-year he's had was his second year, when he couldn't life during the offseason, due to a wrist injury. And Bulaga is as solid as anyone. Sherrod's really the only question mark. Sherrod and Tretter. But we're definitely getting stronger at this position, no question.
DT: Weaker. I've been a Pickett fan forever. But, alas, I think he declined last year. And as for Raji, well, it's past time. I don't know whether Daniels should be considered DT or DE at this point, but I've always put him at DT and so does the Packers roster list, so I'll put him there. And he was a real positive, one of very few on the defensive side last year. So Daniels a big up; Pickett a down and Raji a down, so I'd say weaker overall, since this is a position that needs rotation during games.
DE: No change. Boyd -- flashes suggesting cautious optimism warranted. Jones -- I didn't like the pick, and I'm still underwhelmed. The rest -- bleh.
Boyd is a NT is he not? He's played well, and seems to have potential. I agree about Pickett, and Raji definitely has underwhelmed. DL needs some depth. I'd say we're weaker here. Jolly should be back, though.
I'm a little disappointed with Datone Jones, and I didn't like the pick at the time. LOL. I was saying IF GENO SMITH FALLS, GO GET HIM TED! Haha, but I still like Datone. I'm reserving judgement, and I do believe he'll be fine. Still overall, the DL needs to get stronger.
OLB: No change. Didn't like the Perry pick, still don't. Matthews, injuries notwithstanding, still IMO is a stud. The rest -- same potential, different year.
This position is frustrating. Perry needs to prove he can get healthy. Then he needs to prove he can stay that way. Neal needs to show he can play. Just another tweener on a team full of guys who don't fit their prototypes. Be nice of Nate Palmer shows he can play.
I don't think we're weaker here. Palmer and Neal with have a year of experience.
ILB: Slight improvement, but still mediocre. Improvement: Lighter Hawk looked better; Lattimore definitely looked better. Jones -- don't know if he belongs here or at OLB; regardless, looked, if anything, more underwhelming.
CB: Same. Hyde this year's pleasant surprise after last year's pleasant surprise of Hayward. OTOH, Hayward was disappointing -- I didn't like the draft pick two years ago, last year I thought I was wrong about the pick, and now, well I don't know what to think of the guy anymore. (Since this "before free agency" assessment, I'm counting Shields as still there. If Shields is lost, this position takes a major hit.)
Hayward was disappointing because of training issues, not because of his skills as a player. Huge difference. Not like he came out there and stunk up the joint. The key at this position is health.
It'd be nice if House took some yoga lessons and gained some fluidity in his hips. He's a bit mechanical. Also, he's the latest DB who needs to make the decision that he's willing to tackle. Dude has made some great plays in coverage, but he's also given up big plays. I think we're still ok here. Tramon's a year older. Shields may or may not be back...
S: Worse. McMillian didn't even last the year and MD Jennings looked worse; a year ago, he still seemed, to me anyway, to offer some potential. Not as optimistic about Burnett either. Richardson -- more optimistic, because with the injury frankly I never expected anything from him before.
Depth? Only at CB and even there it could be better.
This position is definitely worse. McMillian shit on his career, and MD Jennings proved that he can't play. On the plus side, those were two experiments that have proven to NOT work. So at least now we know we need to look elsewhere.
Sorry, but the Pickett and Woodson examples are no longer credible examples that Ted Thompson is interested in playing anything other than bargain-basement and third-tier free agency. Both are among my all time favorite Packers, but both were 8 frigging years ago. Two major free agent acquisitions in 9 years -- that is not, IMO, a serious commitment.
What about guys like James Jones? Ted doesn't get credit for signing his own. Finley too. Then there's DuJuan Harris, who might turn out to be a pretty significant acquisition.
Bottom line for me is, Packers need to do SOMETHING about all the injuries. It's costing this franchise, year after year.