The third year in a player’s career can be huge. It is either going to show they can make it in the NFL with a particular team, or they just don’t have what it takes. The Packers have a few guys on the bubble going into year three. Here is a look at some players to keep an eye on during camp that are either going to become contributors, or will slowly fade away.
Geronimo has shown some great flashes through his young career. He may not be the fastest or strongest, but he is very crafty. Also, for some reason Rodgers always wants to trust Allison. However consistency has been a big issue for him, and being inconsistent means you will lose Rodgers trust. With Jordy Nelson gone, an emerging 6’6” Clark, and three rookie receivers, Allison needs his best offseason yet. He will need to show that he has taken a giant leap in his third year, or he will get lost in the shuffle.
With an aging and injury prone Bryan Bulaga, right tackle is a great position to keep an eye on when camp begins. Spriggs was one of the most athletic offensive lineman coming out in the draft a few years ago, he is coached by one of the best offensive line guys in the business, and he finally put on significant weight in the offseason. As we all know, Spriggs has taken his fair share of lumps the past two years. It is either time to step up and prove himself, or become the next Marshall Newhouse. He was a project that will come full circle this year, for better or worse.
Murphy is also in play for the right tackle battle. However, the main concern for him is if he is really a tackle or a guard. He has not shown the athleticism to keep up at times with edge rushers. Murphy needs to prove his worth this year, either as a utility guy or battling for a tackle spot. Murphy needs to make some noise this camp and get out of the background, or that is where he will stay.
Lowry has been a big strong hustle guy his last few years. With the current depth at defensive tackle, a hustle guy may not see the field too much. He may not be able to keep up with Clark, Daniels, and Wilkerson. Also, do not forget that Montravious Adams is a big athletic guy that will be fighting for time on the line. If he can develop a specialty, I think that will help him get into the rotation more. I believe this is a case of being great at one thing in particular will benefit him more than being good at multiple things.
I am pretty sure we have seen Fackrell’s full ability in Caper’s defense, and it was not overly promising. The interesting thing to watch here is if Pettine will be able to use him in a productive manner. Sometimes a player just needs a little change, or even something to “click” for them. This new defense may give Fackrell new life. We are all hoping Pettine’s defense brings out the best in everyone; even Kyler Fackrell. Keep an eye on where he is lining up in camp, and how he is being used. This will tell you if he becomes a contributor or not.
All of a sudden, the Packers have tons of depth at corner. They added two first round caliber talents in the draft, a very productive veteran in Tramon Williams, Kevin King – who we all expect big things out of year two – and an emerging Lenzy Pipkins. Hawkins got plenty of playing time last year, but consistency was a big issue for him. He showed flashes with great technique, but he could never get over that hump. He needs to have a huge camp to stay in the conversation, and maybe even on the roster.
Brice may be the most intriguing player on the list. He slowly started to become a fan favorite his rookie year, and his big hits may have been the main reason for that. Last year found his way onto the field as a start, but an injury forced him to sit out the rest of the year. He was a player that had all the tools, but something was missing; it was not all clicking for him. However, I believe Pettine’s defense and mindset will help Brice tremendously. If he can bounce back from his injury, I think he becomes a huge contributor on this new defense. Look for him to make some noise during camp!