The Green Bay Packers have had one of the best rookie classes throughout the first four weeks of the season. A couple rookies have cracked the starting lineup, while some are making big contributions as rotational players, and others haven't been given their chance yet.
The grades given in this progress report factor in expectations, impact on the team and individual play. Players drafted higher naturally entered the season with higher expectations, and those drafted later or undrafted have the opposite expectations.
Nick Perry has started every game at outside linebacker, but the rookie has struggled to adjust to a new position. In the first four weeks, Perry has shown flashes of the playmaking ability that caused the Packers to draft him out of USC.
On the year, Perry has 15 tackles and one sack to his name. While it's important to remember that, despite Perry being a starter, he is still a rookie. The growing pains have been worth the potential that Perry has shown.
For Perry, the first few weeks have been pretty much as expected, if not a tad bit disappointing. Packers fans were likely spoiled by Clay Matthews' breakout rookie season, which Perry has failed to match. Perry wasn't a bad pick; it's just one that will take a while to see the full benefit.
Defensive linemen usually take the longest to make the transition from college to pro, but Jerel Worthy has made the most of his early opportunities. Worthy has seen plenty of playmaking time as part of the Packers' defensive line rotation.
Worthy has played well, at times getting great burst off the line. Worthy has five tackles on the season and got his first NFL sack against the Chicago Bears in Week 2. In addition to his play on the field, Worthy adds energy and intensity to the unit.
Worthy has plenty of learning to do with regard to technique, but the future is very bright for the second-round pick.
Casey Hayward started the season slowly but has picked up big time as the weeks have gone on. Hayward has been a big part of the reason why the Packers defense has played well in the second and third weeks of the season.
Entering the season, the Packers' cornerback position was looked at as a potential weakness. The reemergence of Sam Shields and the play of Hayward has completely debunked that thought. Hayward has played well enough that Davon House will likely have trouble cracking the rotation upon his return.
Hayward is playing great football with his impact already being felt on the defense.
Jerron McMillian has been the best of the Packers' draft class and has had the biggest impact on the field. After Nick Collins and Charlie Peprah were released, the Packers needed a safety to step up alongside Morgan Burnett and McMillian did so.
McMillian has been sound in his assignments and not given up big plays. He intercepted Jay Cutler in Week 2 for his first career interception. In addition to his interception, McMillian racked up five tackles and two passes defended.
McMillian is probably the most exciting pick, so far, from the Packers' class.
Mike Daniels has had trouble cracking the rotation but did see some time when Ryan Pickett was injured against the Saints. As I mentioned in the Worthy slide, defensive linemen usually have trouble initially adjusting to the NFL game. Daniels has definitely fallen into this group.
Daniels did get a sack against the Bears for his only tackle of the first four games. Daniels is a development player at this point and won't really be asked to do much more unless an injury occurs on the defensive line.
Dezman Moses is the surprise of the group. He went from being signed as an undrafted free agent to being active in all four of the first four games. Moses hasn't seen a ton of play time but has done a fine job when called on. The majority of his on-field action has come on special teams.
For being at one time just a camp body, Moses has far exceeded expectations and made an impact on the field.
Don Barclay, Sean Richardson, Jarrett Boykin and Terrell Manning all get incompletes for their grades, thus far. None of the players has had much of, if any, chance to contribute on the field. That certainly may change later in the year, but for now, there isn't enough to give this players a proper grade.