For the past few years, the Packers have been one of the youngest teams in the league despite having plenty of veteran leadership. Ted Thompson has done a superb job drafting and developing young talent, and eventually, molding them into quality leaders.
The Packers have a promising future ahead of them, and this is because they have several young players who have the potential to be stars in the NFL, particularly on offense, where the weapons for Aaron Rodgers are getting scarier for opposing NFL teams. However, on defense, they have some promising players who could turn out to be stars on the team for a long time.
Here is a list of some of the most promising young players that the Packers have to offer.
Ted Thompson might have gotten one of the biggest steals of the 2010 draft when he selected James Starks in the sixth round. While Starks has had injury issues, he has shown to be an explosive back.
Starks came onto the scene late in the 2010 season, where he had a big day against the San Francisco 49ers, and a few weeks later, became a pivotal part of the Packers' Super Bowl run.
In 2011, Starks had a limited role, but still made some big plays and showed that he can make the running game a factor in Green Bay, even if they pass the ball more often.
James Starks may never play a full season in the NFL, but his explosiveness and speed gives him potential to do some damage in the NFL.
Marshall Newhouse was not seen as a reliable starting offensive lineman a year ago, but after starting at left tackle for most of the 2011 season in place of injured lineman Chad Clifton, Newhouse proved that he could be a potential heir to Clifton at the position.
Like Starks, Newhouse came out of nowhere and could end up being another steal for Ted Thompson. It could also even out Thompson's possible mistake when drafting Derek Sherrod last year in the first round.
Morgan Burnett was a third-round pick in the 2010 draft and was seen as the replacement to Atari Bigby. Burnett started as a rookie for the first four games of the season and was highly impressive before going out with an injury.
In 2011, Burnett started for the entire season, and, while making some rookie mistakes, made some big plays, especially at the beginning of the season.
If Nick Collins is forced into retirement, then Burnett is going to have to step it up. However, he has the talent and the playmaking ability to do so. I think that Burnett will be starting at safety for the Packers for a long time.
Randall Cobb was probably the most intriguing player to come out of the 2011 draft for the Packers. The second-round pick out of Kentucky made quite the first impression, scoring his first NFL touchdown and then running a kick back for a touchdown, all in his first NFL game.
Cobb had a solid rookie year as both a receiver and a returner on special teams. He is a smart, versatile player who can easily provide a spark to this offense whether he is returning a kick or catching, running or even throwing the ball.
Cobb will likely be the Packers return man for a long time, and I also see him contributing frequently on offense.
Although Matt Flynn will probably not be with the Packers next year, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have great potential in this league.
Despite being a seventh-round pick, Flynn has developed into a more-than-reliable backup and will likely be a starter in the league next year after throwing six touchdowns against the Lions on New Year's Day and throwing three against the Patriots in Foxborough in December 2010.
Flynn has had the benefit of being in a great offensive system, but he is also a smart player with a lot of talent. I expect him to do well wherever he goes despite claims that he is "the next Kevin Kolb."