Winner: Randall Cobb, WR: The second round draft pick from Kentucky was electric in his first game as a professional, hauling in three passes for 60 yards and returning two kickoffs for 29 yards apiece. Cobb is built in the mold of a young Donald Driver/Percy Harvin and adds a new dimension to the Packers’ offense.
Loser: Pat Lee, CB: The biggest loser of the night was Lee, who was burnt early and often. He looked slow covering both Josh Cribbs and rookie Greg Little, and the outstanding play of fellow cornerback Josh Gordy may have cost Lee a roster spot. He is most likely on the outside looking in after tonight’s performance.
Winner: Morgan Burnett, SS: After missing all but four games in 2010, Burnett returned in a big way. On back-to-back plays in the first quarter, Burnett blew up an inside run on second down and made an open-field tackle on tight end Evan Moore to force a fourth down. His time was limited, but he sure made the most of it.
Loser: Second string offensive line: For the most part the starters on the offensive line were stellar, giving Aaron Rodgers plenty of time to stand in the pocket. But for as good as they were, their backups were just as bad. Marshall Newhouse (see below) looked lost at right tackle and T.J. Lang was just as bad at left tackle. The second group will need work.
Winner: Derek Sherrod, OL:
The Green Bay Packers released their first unofficial depth chart of 2011 Tuesday, four days before their preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns.
With four preseason games and just under a month before Week 1, take this depth chart with a large grain of salt. Plenty will happen between now and Sept. 4, meaning plenty of names will be moved around.
Here is a look at the depth chart, via Packers.com:
QB: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Graham Harrell
RB: Ryan Grant, James Starks, Dimitri Nance, Alex Green/Brandon Saine
FB: John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson, Jon Hoese
WR1: Greg Jennings, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Brett Swain/Diondre Borel, Kerry Taylor
WR2: Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Chastin West, Tori Gurley/Antonio Robinson, Shaky Smithson
TE: Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams/Ryan Taylor/Spencer Havner
LT: Chad Clifton, Marshall Newhouse, Theo Sherman
LG: Derek Sherrod, T.J. Lang, Adrian Battles
C: Scott Wells, Nick McDonald, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Sampson Genus
RG: Josh Sitton, Nick McDonald, Caleb Schlauderaff
RT: Bryan Bulaga, Chris Campbell, Ray Dominguez
The date was October 5, 2009.
Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre’s first game against his former team, the Green Bay Packers, had been overshadowed by the five turnstiles in front of Aaron Rodgers. The Packers allowed eight sacks after left tackle Chad Clifton left with an ankle injury. Daryn Colledge and T.J. Lang unsuccessfully attempted to stop defensive end Jared Allen, who finished with 4.5 sacks, and three other defenders recorded sacks in the 30-23 loss.
Fast forward 22 months, to 2011 Packers training camp, and the Packers can actually say their offensive line is a strong suit on their already high-powered offense.
Mainstays left tackle Chad Clifton, center Scott Wells, and right guard Josh Sitton have proved their worth and are locked into starting roles entering the season. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who took over for Mark Tauscher midway through last season, seems to be locked into his position as well.
Twitter has quickly become the most efficient ways to follow the off-the-field lives of one’s favorite athletes, and the Green Bay Packers are no exception. While most fans are aware of the usual tweeters like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Crabtree and Jermichael Finley, the newest members of the Packers can also be found on Twitter. Here’s a list of the Packers’ rookies along with links to their Twitter accounts.
Derek Sherrod, LT, Mississippi State (@dsherrod78): Offensive Lineman for the Green Packers, Mississippi State Alumni, and I like to work hard and play even harder.
Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky (@rcobb18):
The makeup of the Packers’ 2011 roster could look very different than it does right now, considering that the NFL lockout has halted free agency to this point. Players such as defensive end Cullen Jenkins, wide receiver James Jones, and running back Brandon Jackson still do not know whether they will be wearing a Green Bay jersey on Opening Night.
So for now, we can only project what the ten Packers’ 2011 draft picks will do this season. Here’s a look.
Derek Sherrod, LT: Chad Clifton rebounded nicely in 2010 and was selected as an alternate to the Pro Bowl, and it looks as though he will be back protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blindside again this season. If the Packers truly believe Sherrod can be the left tackle of the future, then Bryan Bulaga will stay at right tackle and Sherrod will learn for a year under Clifton.
Randall Cobb, WR:
In the wake of labor disputes and the reality that part of the 2011 NFL season may be lost, NFL.com has polled current players to rank the top 100 players in the league.
Sneaking on the bottom of the list at No. 99 was Packers’ left tackle Chad Clifton, one spot ahead of Washington quarterback Donovan McNabb.
The recognition came after a fantastic bounce-back season from the 11-year veteran, who was called for just one holding penalty and was in charge of Aaron Rodgers’ blind side during the Packers’ run to Super Bowl XLV.
It was quite the accomplishment for Clifton, who many believed was a thing of the past after the Packers selected offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga with their first round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Following a sub-par, injury-filled 2009, Bulaga was expected to challenge Clifton for the left tackle starting gig. Clifton eventually won the job, with Bulaga moving to right tackle.
The Green Bay Packers entered the 2010 NFL Draft with few needs, allowing them to select for value instead of need. Here’s a look at their picks.
Round 1, Pick No. 32: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: Chad Clifton is one or two years away from retiring and the Packers are thin at the tackle position, so Sherrod was a no-brainer here. The pick allows the Packers to mix and match with last year’s first round pick Bryan Bulaga, who could stay at right tackle if Sherrod pans out as the left tackle of the future. Da’Quan Bowers, Akeem Ayers and Brooks Reed were all tempting options, but Sherrod fills a need and can learn for a year behind Clifton before taking over as Aaron Rodgers’ blindside protector.
Round 2, Pick No. 64: Randall Cobb, WR, Kentucky:
There were plenty of surprises in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but everything was calm in Green Bay as the Packers selected offensive tackle Derek Sherrod with the final selection in the first round.
Sherrod started all 25 games the last two seasons at left tackle for the Bulldogs and his massive size had the Packers excited as to what he could do on the offensive line. His 35 3/8-inch arms and 11-inch hands were some of the biggest in the draft, and his 6-foot, 5-inch, 321-frame gives him prototypical size at left tackle.
The Packers obviously have not decided on whether or not Sherrod will play left or right tackle at the next level, but the pick gives Green Bay flexibility on the offensive line to mix and match the Sherrod and Bulaga at the tackle position.
Here is a scouting report on Sherrod, via ESPN.com insider and Scouts, Inc:
The NFL Draft is finally upon us, and for three days this weekend football fans can focus on the actual sport instead of labor negotiations that seem to be heading in the right direction. Past mocks can be found here, here, and here. This will be the final mock draft before things get going tonight on ESPN. As always, trades will not be taken into consideration because it is far to difficult to predict, and Ted Thompson never makes that easy.
Round 1, Pick No. 32: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State
It’s almost a guarantee that tackles Tyron Smith, Nate Solder, Gabe Carimi and Anthony Castonzo will be gone when the Packers pick, but that doesn’t mean Sherrod isn’t worthy of the pick. Selecting an offensive tackle would allow Sherrod to improve behind Chad Clifton for a year and would also keep Bulaga at right tackle if that’s where his best fit is. Sherrod is also capable of making the switch to the right side, which would put Bulaga at left tackle when Clifton hangs them up. Protecting Aaron Rodgers is of utmost importance and the Packers could have their tackles for the decade in Bulaga and Sherrod.
Round 2, Pick No. 64: Leonard Hankerson, WR, Miami
Donald Driver isn’t getting any younger and James Jones could leave via free agency this offseason, so drafting the ultra-talented Hankerson makes sense here. What Hankerson lacks in speed he makes up for with great hands, route-running and separation. At 6-feet, 1-inch he has good size and uses it well in traffic. Selecting Hankerson would allow Jones to walk this offseason, which he is almost assured of doing for starter’s money.
Round 3, Pick No. 96: Christopher Carter, OLB, Fresno State
The Green Bay Packers were ecstatic that Iowa left tackle Bryan Bulaga fell to them at pick No. 23 a year ago, and while it wasn’t the sexy pick fans hope for in the first round (Sergio Kindle was a popular want), it gave them stability on the offensive line that proved valuable in their playoff run.
One year later, the offensive line is better but could still use an upgrade and is the biggest need for the Super Bowl champions. Lucky for them, there are plenty of linemen toward the back end of the first round worth looking at.
Center Scott Wells, right guard Josh Sitton, and Bulaga are the three spots on the offensive line the Packers feel comfortable moving forward with in the future, with left tackle Chad Clifton nearing the end of his career and left guard Daryn Colledge serviceable, at best.
T.J. Lang has been on the cusp of starter-worthy the past two seasons and still provides versatile depth, while rookies Marshall Newhouse and Nick McDonald project as back-ups at this point. The same goes for Evan Dietrich-Smith, while Jason Spitz has battled injury last season.
The main question for the Packers is whether or not Bulaga can ultimately move to left tackle when Clifton hangs his cleats up. Draft experts had concerns about his (relatively) short arms, but his smooth feet and size should give him the capability to be Aaron Rodgers’ blindside protection in the future.
That being said, the Packers could go with a tackle with the 32nd pick and not have to move Bulaga from his right tackle position, where he played last season.