Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Packers Depth Chart: Defensive Backfield

As much as the Packers knew they needed to upgrade their pass rush (enter Julius Peppers) they've also aggressively targeted players for their defensive backfield, while keeping pretty much the status quo at linebacker (though I do hope they found someone in 4th round LB Carl Bradford).

They did draft two more players who should figure into the defensive back rotation next season, and they have also signed a couple of undrafted free agents who may earn a spot. They'll probably keep eight defensive backs (plus one or two on the practice squad) and here's how it breaks down.

Locks: Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. That's six guys right off the bat, and though Williams could be a salary cap casualty some day, it's probably not going to happen in 2014. There's not a lot of room left on the roster after those locks.

Davon House. He played 472 snaps on defense in 2013 but didn't impress (-4.9 grade in coverage according to Pro Football Focus). He'll miss the cut if he has another poor preseason like he did in 2013.

Jarrett Bush. He's still their special teams' ace and he didn't play much in 2013 until late in the season (plus a game ending INT against the Falcons). I don't know if he'll ever lose his roster spot.

Demetri Goodson. It'll be surprising if their 6th round pick will have a long NFL career, but he's probably going to be a favorite for the practice squad. Without a lot of experience in college, he's probably going to need a longer learning curve in the NFL and they'll probably be patient with him for at least one season.

Chris Banjo and Sean Richardson. So far, they've survived the safety purge of 2013 that's led to the departures of M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian, but the Packers have recently signed two more players to compete against them.

Iowa's Tanner Miller. His measurables are just as strong as Clinton-Dix's but the difference between them shows up on game film. Miller played 46 games in college and recorded 7 career INTs, but he also took the blame for allowing some long plays at Iowa. His instincts in the open field might be lacking.

Hawaii's Charles Clay. He's got some speed (4.42 40 time at his Pro Day) but he was a part-time starter (6 in 2013) on a lousy college football team.

They also have three other CBs (Antonio Dennard, Jumal Rolle and Ryan White) who could find themselves on the practice squad after a strong camp, but they probably won't make it past the final cuts. They should get a chance to play this preseason and they'll have to make the most of it.

I'm glad that the Packers have added quantity and quality (Clinton-Dix) to address a major weakness last season. Hopefully the new players will make everyone better and improve this group as a whole in 2014.

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