Projecting the Green Bay Packers' Most Heated Roster Battles This Offseason
With the offseason set to begin soon for the Green Bay Packers, it's time to get ready for some heated roster battles.
Some of the following battles involve rookies attempting to displace a veteran on the depth chart. This is the most common fight that we'll see across the NFL during training camps.
However, the Packers also have a handful of battles involving two veterans attempting to see more playing time. These are often more intriguing because whoever loses this fight could end up losing their spot on the final roster.
Let's take a look at the most intense and heated positional battles the Packers will have this offseason.
No. 2 Quarterback
Who is going to back up quarterback Aaron Rodgers this year? That's the question on everyone's mind after the Packers struggled through a Rodgers injury last year.
This year will be different since Green Bay won't be entering the regular season with a backup quarterback who hasn't played a snap on offense. Both Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien saw playing time last year for the Packers.
While it'd be nice for the Packers to be able to keep both Flynn and Tolzien on the final roster, it might not be possible due to the need for depth at so many other positions. That means that the loser of this battle could ultimately find himself looking for a new team once the regular season starts.
As of right now, Flynn has the leg up in this competition simply because of his performance last year when forced onto the field. However, don't be surprised if Tolzien overtakes him due to his higher upside as a backup.
Either way, look for the battle for the No. 2 quarterback spot to be one of the most exciting for the Packers this offseason.
No. 3 Wide Receiver
One of the biggest surprises from the 2014 NFL draft was the Packers selecting a total of three wide receivers with their nine overall picks.
The two late-round picks, Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis, aren't like to see much playing time this year. However, Davante Adams, who was drafted in the second round, should come in and compete with Jarrett Boykin for the No. 3 receiver spot.
While Boykin played well when thrown into the fire last year, he started to fade down the stretch. Boykin also lacks the high ceiling that Adams possesses.
We may see Boykin start the offseason as the third receiver on the depth chart, but we shouldn't be surprised at all when Adams overtakes him before the regular season.
No. 2 Tight End
The battle for backup tight end should be one of the most intriguing for the Packers this offseason. Andrew Quarless is pretty firmly set as the starting tight end, but there are four legitimate options for the No. 2 tight end behind Quarless.
The first two options are veterans Ryan Taylor and Brandon Bostick. Taylor isn't an explosive receiving option, but he's a solid all-around player. As for Bostick, he's got great upside and big-play ability but is still a little raw.
Then there is Richard Rodgers, the Packers' third-round pick from this year's draft. Rodgers is another raw tight end, but his athleticism is reminiscent of Jermichael Finley.
The final option for the No. 2 tight end is the most intriguing; undrafted free agent Colt Lyerla. He was just signed by the Packers, according to Josh Katzowitz of CBSSports.com. While Lyerla certainly has some issues off the field, he has more potential and is more dynamic than any other tight end on the roster.
This battle probably wont be decided until the final days of the preseason, but look for the troubled rookie to display his superior talent and take the job.
With Evan Dietrich-Smith gone, the Packers will be putting a new starting center on the field this year. That would usually be a concern for most teams, but the Packers have had new starting centers in each of the past three seasons.
This year the battle will come down to J.C. Tretter and fifth-round pick Corey Linsley. Both are extremely similar players with no starting experience in the NFL but solid overall abilities.
The job is currently Tretter's to lose as he'll get first crack at starting, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. However, Linsley has loads of college experience at a top university (Ohio State) and should have a legitimate shot at pushing Tretter for the job.
Look for Tretter to win this battle but have a very short leash.
Starting Defensive Ends
What ultimately makes this positional battle so intriguing is the amount of potential between the three competitors. All three have a chance at starting, and all three could make a gigantic impact if given the starting job.
The first competitor is Julius Peppers. While he could also play some outside linebacker, it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see most of his snaps at defensive end.
Then there is Mike Daniels, the third-year player from Iowa. Daniels had a breakout campaign last year and would definitely benefit with more playing time.
Last, but not least, is Datone Jones. He has the most potential out of all of the defensive ends on the roster. If he develops quickly this offseason, the sky is literally the limit for him.
While it'd be nice to see Jones win a starting job, it'll be one more year before that happens.
Winners: Peppers and Daniels
This is a position that doesn't get a ton of recognition, but it's one that drastically needs to improve for the Packers. Last year was just a pitiful display of punt and kick returns.
The job will likely come down to either defensive back Micah Hyde, wide receiver Randall Cobb or running back Johnathan Franklin. Cobb is probably the least likely to win simply due to his importance on offense.
That leaves either Franklin or Hyde as the return specialist. There is also the possibility that the Packers look to a rookie to fill the hole, such as undrafted free agent Charles Clay. He's a cornerback with blazing speed that could make the roster simply to return kicks and punts.
Whoever ends up winning this battle could end up being replaced during the regular season if they struggle. The Packers desperately need to get better returns, and they'll put the player back there with the best shot to do just that.