While the Green Bay Packers are not usually known for making much noise during the offseason, the 2012 offseason broke away from the norm. Not only did they sign some big-name free agents like Jeff Saturday and Anthony Hargrove, but they also made numerous surprising moves during the 2012 NFL draft.
They moved up twice during the second round of the draft, first to select defensive lineman Jerel Worthy and secondly to draft cornerback Casey Hayward. What made this draft all the more abnormal compared to recent seasons was the selection of six defensive players before one offensive player was selected.
The only question that remains for the load of newcomers that Green Bay has brought to town is what type of impact will each of these players will have. Today, we'll discuss which of these newcomers will have the biggest impact over the course of the 2012 season.
Jeff Saturday, C (Free Agent from Indianapolis Colts)
When it became clear early in the free-agent process that the Packers weren't going to be able to re-sign Scott Wells, doubt began to flow from the minds of many fans. How can Green Bay replace an All-Pro center without Aaron Rodgers suffering?
Well, the answer to that question came with the free-agent signing of Saturday, who had the huge responsibility of getting the ball to Peyton Manning on every single snap for over 10 seasons. Not only that, but Saturday was the anchor to one of the best offensive lines in the NFL during the mid-2000s.
The fact that Saturday should be able to step in on opening day is going to be huge, and the Packers shouldn't see a drop in production from one of the most important positions on the offensive side of the ball.
While Saturday may not find himself being invited to the Pro Bowl at the end of the season, the fact that he will provide stability to a position that had the potential of being extremely unstable is why he'll be such an impact player in 2012.
Nick Perry, OLB (First-Round Draft Pick)
The Packers are going to need Perry to become one of the biggest impact players this year, despite entering only his first year in the NFL.
The pass rush was so awful for Green Bay at times during the 2011 season that you almost wondered if the Packers simply dropped all 11 defenders into coverage. That is the reason that Green Bay used their first pick of the 2012 NFL draft on Perry.
He has the speed and athleticism to become a talented pass-rusher in the NFL. The fact that he has been starting with the first team during practices is a sign that he is more polished than most expect.
Look for Perry to have such an impact that the Packers' defense becomes one of the better units in the league.
Dezman Moses, OLB (Undrafted Free Agent)
It's not often that you see an undrafted free agent make much of an impact, especially during his rookie season, but there is something different about Moses.
Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Moses was one of the most impressive players according to coaches. He is making the change from inside linebacker to outside linebacker in the Packers' 3-4 defense, and so far, the transition as been as smooth as possible.
In fact, with Matthews sitting out some of minicamp, Moses took his starting position over veterans Erik Walden and Frank Zombo. While it is unlikely that Moses will be starting once the season begins, he should still be able to make an impact as a situational pass-rusher, which Green Bay can't get enough of.
Moses is a name that we'll continue to hear throughout training camp, the preseason and into the regular season.