Mike Roemer/Associated Press
Aaron Rodgers feels that both Green Bay's offense and defense are "bigger [and] more physically intimidating" heading into 2014 than they have been in recent seasons, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky.
Specifically, Rodgers cited gains in strength and size among the wide receivers, tight ends and defensive front as positive strides the team has made this offseason compared to past squads.
"We just haven't had guys in some of these positions with those body types, and that's exciting," Rodgers said, per Demovsky. Rodgers believes that Green Bay is deliberately building a team around bigger players due to recent trends in the league (and in Super Bowl-winning teams like the Seattle Seahawks).
Is that true?
Let's take a look at the receivers first. Currently, Green Bay has ten receivers on the roster. Of those, two are 6'3" and a hair above 215 pounds—Jordy Nelson and Jeff Janis. The recent addition of Janis this offseason speaks to Rodgers' feeling that the Packers are intentionally trying to get bigger at receiver to match the bigger corners they will face.
Randall Cobb, at 5'10" is now in fact, the only receiver on the team shorter than 6'0", and the average height is 6'1". None of Green Bay's tight ends is shorter than 6'3".
It's a fair assessment to say that the potential pass-catchers in the 2014 class are bigger than those from the record-breaking 2011 season. That group included the 5'11" Greg Jennings and the 6'0" Donald Driver in addition to Cobb and Nelson.
Moving on to the front seven, the Packers have recently added players like 6'7" Julius Peppers, 6'6" linebacker Adrian Hubbard and 6'4" Datone Jones. The average height for the current linebackers group is 6'2". The average weight is 245 pounds.
Using 2011 as a point of comparison again, the average height and weight of a Packers linebacker was 6'1" and 243 pounds. We can see a slight increase in size in the last three years at that position.
At defensive end/defensive tackle, we see an even more dramatic move toward more size. The average height and weight of the current class is 6'2" and 307 pounds. In 2011, defensive linemen were 6'2" and 290 pounds on average.
Now, there are some caveats to this data, one being that comparing the heights and weights of players on the 53-man roster to the many prospects on the current 90-man roster (where, for instance, there are multiple players who are sized like nose tackles) can skew the results. But generally, the facts support Rodgers' observation that the Packers are becoming bigger and stronger on both offense and defense.
That also backs up Mike McCarthy's assertion at the combine earlier this year that the Packers would not be getting smaller on the defensive line, as rumored.
“I’ve never been part of a conversation that you want your D-linemen to be smaller,” McCarthy said then, per Demovsky. His current roster proves it.