6 Early Winners and Losers of the Green Bay Packers' Offseason
With the start of the NFL preseason less than two months away, now is the time when players make their cases for undecided positions on the Packers' roster like running back, outside linebacker and safety.
Today, we'll look at the five early winners and losers of the Packers' offseason.
Winner: Diondre Borel, WR
During the first day of the Green Bay Packers' minicamp, the player that stood out the most might have been second-year receiver out of Utah State, Diondre Borel.
Borel was a member of the practice squad in 2011, but according to an interview with Aaron Rodgers from Packers.com, Borel has supposedly made a giant leap in his ability from his rookie season to this offseason.
The versatility that Borel brings to the field is extremely similar to what Randall Cobb did during his rookie season, and the potential of both of those players developing together makes the Packers' offense even more dangerous. If Borel can continue to play strong heading into the preseason, he may become a contributor during the 2012 season.
With such a deep receiving corps, getting any type of notice from Rodgers is quite the compliment for Borel.
Loser: James Jones, WR
With Diondre Borel being a winner in the offseason, and Donald Driver restructuring his contract with the team, the Green Bay Packers might not have room for James Jones. In fact, there have been reports from Lance Zierlein of Chron.com that Jones could be traded before the start of the season.
Considering that the Packers signed Jones to a new contract during the 2011 offseason, the news that the team is looking to move him can't be good for Jones. He has struggled to separate himself from the other talented receivers on the Packers' roster, and his hands continue to be a major issue.
While he is certainly a talented player that could improve a receiving corps instantly, with Borel, Randall Cobb and a load of other young receivers ready to get more playing time, it appears that Jones' time in Green Bay might simply be over.
Winner: Dezman Moses, OLB
If you've never heard of Dezman Moses, it won't be long before you do. As an undrafted free agent from the University of Tulane, Moses has been a star at the Green Bay Packers' minicamp this past week.
With Clay Matthews resting during Thursday's practice, Moses got the opportunity to play opposite Nick Perry over Erik Walden and Frank Zombo. According to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Moses has used his nonstop motor to impress the coaching staff.
Moses has the size, speed and athleticism to make an impact as a pass-rusher off the edge for Green Bay. However, coming from a smaller school means that Moses will likely need more time to understand the complexities of the NFL.
With that said, the fact that Moses is already playing ahead of veterans like Zombo and Walden means that he'll likely have a bright future in this league.
Loser: Erik Walden, OLB
You could really consider both Erik Walden and Frank Zombo losers of this offseason so far, but since Walden was a starter in 2011, he has to be considered the bigger loser so far.
Not only was Walden replaced by first-round draft pick Nick Perry, but as we just discussed, he's even been replaced by undrafted free agent Dezman Moses when Clay Matthews has rested during practice. This can't be a good sign for Walden's future.
For a majority of the 2011 season, Walden struggled to make any type of impact opposite Matthews, and the coaching staff definitely took notice as they looked to improve that position during the offseason. While Walden could have committed himself to improve and make the coaching staff take notice, it appears that he's been overstepped by younger, more talented players.
It's unlikely that Walden will see much of the field during the 2012 season if Perry and Moses continue to play well through the preseason and into the regular season.
Winner: M.D. Jennings, S
One of the biggest winners throughout the offseason has been M.D. Jennings, who has been overly impressive during OTAs.
He's received the majority of first-team snaps opposite Morgan Burnett at safety, and even intercepted Aaron Rodgers during one of the first practices. Jennings is only entering his second season, and despite the majority of his time on the field coming on special teams, he now looks ready to make a run at the starting spot left open by Nick Collins.
One of the biggest questions heading into the offseason was who would replace Collins at free safety, and getting so many first-team reps is a great sign for Jennings.
Loser: Charlie Peprah, S
Charlie Peprah will absolutely get a chance to win the starting safety position once he returns from offseason knee surgery.
Unfortunately, Peprah is missing valuable time and his competition (like M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian) have taken full advantage. Now when Peprah comes back, he'll have an uphill battle on his hands.
The biggest problem for Peprah is that he isn't the clear favorite to become the starting safety. When Nick Collins went down with an injury early last year, Peprah didn't exactly blow people away with his play.
In order for the Green Bay Packers to have a legitimate chance at getting to the Super Bowl in 2012, their play in the secondary, and specifically at safety, needs to improve. With Peprah missing so much time, he's been unable to show coaches that he can improve that unit.
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