"We're a draft and develop program," McCarthy said. "This is essential to our development. I've been real happy with it, particularly with our second- and third-year players. They're here; they're into it. You really see the benefits when you see the third- and fourth-year players."
The Packers obviously hope to see a marked improvement for second-year players this season. McCarthy often talks about the great improvement players make from their rookie year to their second year.
A case in point was RT Bryan Bulaga last season. "Really improved from last year," McCarthy said.
With that being said, I'm going to list five second-year players who have mostly been under the radar for a couple of reasons.
One, they didn't make much of an impact in their rookie year.
Two, they all were hurt by the NFL lockout from last year in terms of being able to use offseason programs to help and advance their development.
This current offseason WILL provide that opportunity for these players in terms of utilizing practice sessions, workouts and classroom time to become better players in 2012.
DE Lawrence Guy of Arizona State was drafted in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL draft by the Packers. Guy spent the 2011 season on injured reserve due to concussion issues.
Guy could play a key role for the Packers at DE in 2012, especially with the four-game suspension that Mike Neal has to serve to start the season because he violated the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.
That, plus the eight-game suspension that newly acquired free agent Anthony Hargrove has to serve because of the bounty scandal while he was with the New Orleans Saints. Hargrove is appealing his suspension.
Guy is an interesting prospect. He was honorable mention All-Pac 10 three straight years at Arizona State. He plays the run very well, as he led a defense that finished in the top 20 nationally in run defense in 2009 and 2010.
Overall at Arizona State, Guy had 122 tackles (74 solo), including 23 for a loss, eight sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble during his career.
CB Davon House of New Mexico State was drafted by the Packers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft. House only played in two games for the Packers in 2011. He had hamstring issues that put his development on hold during training camp and most of the 2011 season.
He could play a vital role in the secondary and on special teams. House received first-team All-WAC honors as a junior and senior at New Mexico State.
He finished his career as the top-ranked player in school history in interception-return yardage with 319 and tied for sixth with 11 picks. He also returned three of those interceptions for TDs.
Sampson Genus signed with the Packers as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2011 out of USF. Genus spent the 2011 season on the practice squad of the Packers.
He was first team All-Big East in 2010 and second team All-Big East in 2009 at C for USF. He was team captain for the Bulls and can bench press 420 pounds.
Genus was working as the No. 1 center at the rookie orientation camp for the Packers last weekend. Working behind Genus was undrafted rookie Tommie Draheim of San Diego State. Genus and Draheim are battling for the job to back up veteran Jeff Saturday who signed with the Packers as a free agent.
Ray Dominguez was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Arkansas by the Packers in 2011. Dominguez started out on the practice squad of the Packers before being put on the roster in October.
Dominguez played LT at Arkansas, where he was a four-year letterman for the Razorbacks. He appeared in 41 games with 33 starts, including a streak of 18 straight starts to end his career there.
Dominguez was part of an offense at Arkansas that boasted a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and five 600-yard receivers in 2010.
He will compete with Evan Dietrich-Smith and others to be the key reserve at G behind T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton.
M.D. Jennings was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Arkansas State in 2011 by the Packers. Jennings made the roster and appeared in 15 games.
At Arkansas State, he was first team All-Sun Belt Conference as a senior. Overall, he had 241 tackles, including 7.5 for a loss and eight interceptions in college.
Jennings has a prime opportunity to play in 2012, as the Packers released All-Pro S Nick Collins prior to the 2012 NFL draft because they wouldn't clear him medically because of the neck injury he suffered in Week 2 of the 2011 season.
Jennings will compete with a number of players to become a starter at one of the safety positions, while Morgan Burnett mans the other position. Jennings will be battling for playing time along with veteran Charlie Peprah, second-year player Anthony Levine, 2012 fouth-round draft pick Jerron McMillian and undrafted rookie free agent Sean Richardson.
The Packers may also move CB Charles Woodson to the safety position.