Green Bay Packers: 7 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise After OTAs
With OTAs beginning last week, the Green Bay Packers were able to get a good look at most of their players. And even though it was only a few days' worth of practice without pads, there were still some players whose stock is now on the rise.
The reason for most of this is due to which players started with first teams or second teams. There was also information given out by coaches as to which players they were impressed with in the short amount of time they were together.
While there is still quite a bit of offseason left, it's important to note which players are moving up heading into training camp. Today we will take a look at seven players whose stock is on the rise after OTAs.
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback
For starters, Rodgers' collarbone has completely healed, according to Bob Holtzman of ESPN. Even though Rodgers came back in Week 17 last year to lead the Packers to the playoffs, it was easy to see he wasn't completely himself. He'd hesitate when he would usually run and was quicker to fall to the ground or get rid of the ball.
Rodgers being at 100 percent for the start of the regular season is key for Green Bay. Along with that, Holtzman also notes that Rodgers has lost some weight and is more flexible. This will hopefully allow Rodgers to be even more mobile and elusive in the pocket this year.
There's no doubt that Rodgers is the engine that makes the Packers go, so him being on the rise this early before the season is an extremely good sign.
DuJuan Harris, Running Back
Before Eddie Lacy had an impressive rookie campaign, there was DuJuan Harris. He was expected to start last season as the top running back, but a knee injury knocked him out for the entire season.
While Harris is no longer expected to start, he's still a highly thought of player by the Packers. That's why it was so exciting to see him practicing, per Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers seem pretty set with Lacy and James Starks as a one-two punch in the backfield. However, Harris could make this group even deeper as the No. 3 running back if he can stay healthy and get back to his 2012 form.
It'll be interesting to see if Harris can hold off Johnathan Franklin and the rest of the Packers' young running backs in order to get some key playing time this year.
Bryan Bulaga, Offensive Tackle
Bryan Bulaga was expected to become the left tackle of the future for the Packers last year. Unfortunately, a torn ACL during training camp forced him to miss the entire 2013 season.
Sometimes an injury like that for an offensive lineman can be tricky, but Bulaga seems on track to be ready at the start of the regular season. In fact, Bulaga was playing with the first-team offense at right tackle during OTAs, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.
Bulaga is a very talented player when healthy, so his return so soon after his injury is great news for the Packers. He'll help make the offensive line a strong point for the team.
Derek Sherrod, Offensive Tackle
You can't have a conversation about injuries and offensive linemen without mentioning Derek Sherrod. He was the first-round pick for Green Bay back in the 2011 NFL draft, but he has yet to make any impact due to a broken leg suffered as a rookie.
Sherrod was back on the field during OTAs this past week. This will be the first time in his four-year career that he'll take part in an entire offseason program with the Packers, granted he stays injury-free.
The Packers would love to have Sherrod fully healthy. In fact, the team already had him playing as the No. 2 left tackle, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.
With a healthy Sherrod, Green Bay could have an extremely deep and talented offensive line this year.
Julius Peppers, Linebacker
When the Packers signed Julius Peppers, it was met with mixed reactions. Some were extremely excited, while others wondered what the benefit was of signing a 34-year-old defensive lineman who appeared to be declining last year.
Well, all Peppers has done since getting to Green Bay is impress the team. In fact, it took only one day of OTAs for him to be labeled as a "genetic freak," according to Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk.
What's even more impressive is how the Packers are planning on using him on defense. Instead of giving him a single position, defensive coordinator Dom Capers has said that Peppers will play a number of spots, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
If Peppers can even be half as productive as he was during his prime years, the Packers will have gotten a major steal in free agency.
Jamari Lattimore, Linebacker
If there is one current starter that the Packers would surely love to get beat out in training camp, it'd have to be inside linebacker Brad Jones. Instead of progressing last year into a quality starter, Jones took a major step backward.
Well, it looks like the Packers' wishes may becoming true thanks to Jamari Lattimore.
Lattimore struggled at times last year when he was on the field, but it was easy to see the potential he had as an overall player. The Packers are obviously interested in getting him on the field more this year because he's been playing a variety of roles in OTAs, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.
As long as one of those roles ultimately becomes starting inside linebacker, the Packers should be just fine. Look for Lattimore to continue to impress throughout the offseason and for him to become a major part of the defense moving forward.
Micah Hyde, Safety
With the selection of safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round of this year's draft, Micah Hyde seemed like the odd man out. He couldn't play nickel cornerback because Casey Hayward is healthy, and now starting safety was out of the picture due to Clinton-Dix.
While that might be the end result when the regular season starts, it certainly wasn't how it was during OTAs. Instead of playing with the second-team defense, Hyde played ahead of Clinton-Dix, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
This could be nothing more than the Packers forcing their first overall pick to actually earn the starting job. However, Hyde is a player that the Packers want to get on the field more often, so Clinton-Dix could really have a battle during training camp.
Whatever Hyde starting in OTAs turns out to be doesn't really matter. In the grand scheme of things, it simply means that the Packers could potentially have more talent on defense than they know what to do with.