Stock Up, Stock Down for Key Green Bay Packers Heading into Camp
Players' careers can be made or broken by a strong performance in training camp. That is why it is so crucial for players to come into camp with their stock on the rise rather than on the decline.
This is especially true for the younger players, but even veterans on the Green Bay Packers roster don't like to see their stock declining heading into camp. One poor string of practices could turn a starter into a benchwarmer.
Today, we'll play a game of stock up, stock down heading into training camp for some the Packers' key players.
Aaron Rodgers: Stock Up
When you win an ESPY for NFL Player of the Year, are named the No. 1 player in the NFL Top 100 and are considered the No. 1 quarterback in the NFL by Ron Jaworski, it is fair to say that your stock is going way up.
Aaron Rodgers is entering the 2012 season as the best football player in the game, and there is nothing in the world that could bring his stock down heading into training camp.
Greg Jennings: Stock Down
Few people love trash talking as much as I do, but there is certainly a time and place for it, just like anything else in life.
Unfortunately, Greg Jennings has had difficulty with that this offseason.
According to a report on ProFootballTalk.com, Jennings vocalized some concerns about whether or not the Detroit Lions would be able to keep it together during the 2012 season. While they may be legitimate concerns for the Lions, they shouldn't be concerns for Jennings.
In fact, Stephen Tulloch, an inside linebacker for Detroit, felt the same way when he told Jennings via Twitter to worry about his own team.
The last thing that Jennings and the Green Bay Packers need is a reason for the Lions to come after the Packers even harder because of what Jennings said.
Green Bay will already enter the season as a team everyone wants to beat, and now the Lions will want to win even more because of Jennings' untimely comments.
Donald Driver: Stock Down
Donald Driver's offseason was one of the more intense in recent memory for the Green Bay Packers.
While there has definitely been some diminishing of Driver's talents over the past few seasons, he is so beloved by the Packers faithful that it is hard for the front office to get rid of him.
However, now there are even bigger concerns, as Driver has stated that he plans on playing two more seasons with the Packers.
This type of comment makes you wonder what Driver is thinking, and I'm sure the Packers front office feels like it should be the one deciding how long Driver plays.
While Driver may want to play another two years, the truth is that he needs to beat out Randall Cobb, James Jones, Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel to even see the field this year.
If he doesn't make an impact on offense, there is no way he'll spend another year in Green Bay.
Randall Cobb: Stock Up
One of the most talked-about players for the Green Bay Packers this offseason is Randall Cobb.
Everyone seems to think that Cobb is poised for a breakout season, and after a stellar rookie season, it is easy to see why.
Cobb's athleticism and ability to play all the over the field make him a dangerous weapon for Green Bay. He is already one of the best return men in the league, and even with an increased workload expected on offense, reports are that Cobb will continue to return kicks and punts this year, according to ESPNMilwaukee.com.
It is likely that Cobb has shown enough improvement this offseason to enter training camp as the No. 3 receiver on the depth chart, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Anthony Hargrove: Stock Down
Missing half of the season is never a good thing. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is going to happen to Anthony Hargrove.
Hargrove appealed the suspension handed down by Roger Goodell for "Bountygate," but that suspension was upheld. As a first-year player for the Green Bay Packers, Hargrove needed all the time on the field to show what type of impact he could have for the team.
Now, he'll have to sit and watch as rookies Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels get their chance to prove to the Packers that there is no need for a player like Hargrove.
Casey Hayward: Stock Up
The Green Bay Packers made a trade to move up in the second round of the NFL draft in order to select cornerback Casey Hayward from Vanderbilt. It was the second time that the Packers moved up in that round, showing that they felt Hayward was a necessary piece of the puzzle.
According to Vic Ketchman of Packers.com, early reports on Hayward are that he may be ready to make an impact earlier than expected.
In fact, Ketchman thinks that Hayward may even bring the type of depth to the cornerback position to allow Charles Woodson to move to safety.
While it is hard to see Hayward leaping over Sam Shield and Davon House before training camp, with his stock on the rise, he definitely has the opportunity to see major playing time his rookie year if he continues to impress coaches.
A.J. Hawk: Stock Down
While A.J. Hawk hasn't been the perennial All-Pro middle linebacker that the Green Bay Packers hoped for, he has been a solid contributor and team leader since being drafted in 2005.
However, being a solid contributor hasn't made his job any safer than any other player on the roster. The problem for Green Bay is that it's never had a better option to replace Hawk.
That is, until now.
Second-year player D.J. Smith is making a run at Hawk's starting job (per Pro Football Weekly), and a strong training camp could be enough to take away the majority of snaps from the veteran. If Smith can prove that he can be an every-down linebacker like Hawk, we could definitely see them splitting snaps early in the season.
If Smith continues to play at a high level at the start of the regular season, it won't be long until Hawk is the backup to Smith.
Nick Perry: Stock Up
As the Green Bay Packers' first-round pick this year, Nick Perry was seen as a potential project who could take a year or two to fully grasp his new position of outside linebacker in the NFL.
However, all reports coming from Green Bay appear to be that Perry has not only shown enough to get on the field as a rookie, but that he has locked down the starting position opposite Clay Matthews (per Pro Football Weekly).
This is great news for a Packers defense that struggled to get much pressure during the 2011 season.
If Perry continues to play strong during training camp and continues to keep his stock on the rise, there is no reason that he won't become an impact player early in his career.