Each year free agents and rookies are added to a team. The positional battles that ensue are extremely fun to watch and read about. Here are some of the "big battles" to look out for.
Center- Scott Wells vs. Jason Spitz
Scott Wells has been the starter for a few years now. He is fairly solid, but dreadfully undersized. He barely tips the scales at 300 lbs, and during the season I imagine he drops into the 290s. Because of his lack of size, larger defensive tackles are able to have their way with him most of the time. Wells also does not have a lot of versatility so he loses this battle he may be traded or cut. Current Right Guard Jason Spitz is bigger and a little more athletic than Wells. Also, because of his experience at RG he should offer more versatility along the line.
Winner: Jason Spitz
Nose Tackle- Ryan Pickett vs. B.J. Raji
Ryan Pickett is one of the Packers players who should easily make the transition to the 3-4. At 330+ lbs he definitely has the size for it, and he has been able to hold the point against double teams in the past. Raji is the new guy on the block. He also has the size to man the position, although his arm length (32 inches) could be a problem in the long run. He also brings a quickness that Pickett doesn't have, and should be more of a pass rusher. In the end, I think Raji will play left end on 1st/2nd down and then rotate into the nose tackle position on third down.
ROLB- Brandy Chipinglar Vs. Clay Matthews
Brady Poppinga and Brandon Chillar would be a great linebacker if combined. Unfortunately technology has not advanced to that point. I think Matthews is the day one starter. When all things are equal, the higher draft pick gets the nod.
3rd wide receiver- James Jones vs. Jordy Nelson
In his rookie season James Jones showed a ton of promise as an adequate deep threat and good route runner. This year he just could not stay healthy. Enter: Nelson, Jordy. Nelson is a different type of wide receiver. At 6'3 220 lbs he can shield defenders and make the tough catches over the middle. I do not think he is as good of a deep threat, but has glue for hands and runs okay routes. All things considered I think Jordy will get the call.
Winner: Jordy Nelson
3rd running back- Tyrell Sutton vs. Deshawn Wynn Vs. Craig Lumpkin
Sutton is an undrafted rookie out of Northwestern, who excels at catching the ball out of the backfield but lacks speed. Wynn is dependable in his blitz pick ups, and has done well with his opportunities. Lumpkin beat out Wynn for a roster spot last year, but has a lengthy injury history. Although I like what I have heard about Sutton, Wynn will get the roster spot.
Winner: Deshawn Wynn
Right Tackle- TJ Lang vs. Allen Barbre vs. Tony Moll vs. Breno Giacomini
TJ Lang was drafted in the fourth round of this years draft, but he is though of more as a guard than a tackle. Barbre was drafted in the fourth round a few years ago. Although he is athletically gifted, apparently he is not too bright. Moll has started a few games, but was benched at the end of last year. I would be surprised if he made the final cut. Giacomini is still very raw. Offseason ankle surgery probably will not help him get a starting spot. I think that Barbre will finally come through in training camp and win the start.
Winner: Allen Barbre
2nd Quarterback- Brian Brohm Vs. Matt Flynn
Both quarterbacks were picked in the 2008 draft. Brohm was a second rounder, and Flynn was a seventh round pick. Flynn actually beat out Brohm not because he was dominant, but because Flynn was "less bad." This year is a different year, and I think that the game will start slowing down for Brian Brohm and he will win the backup job.
Winner: Brian Brohm
Left Defensive End- Justin Harrell vs. BJ Raji vs. Johnny Jolly Vs. .......
Left defensive end will have multiple players competing to play. I think there will be a rotation here. Harrell, Raji, Jolly, Wynn, Montgomery, and whoever else makes the roster will rotate in to avoid the fact that there is not a true five technique on the team.
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