6 Green Bay Packers Players Who Will Surprise During Training Camp
Every year, the Green Bay Packers have a handful of players who surprise during training camps. Last year, it was rookie offensive lineman David Bakhtiari who stepped up and took over for the injured Bryan Bulaga at left tackle.
Now a player can either surprise in a good way or in a bad way. For example, if a player surpasses expectations, that'd be a good way to surprise. A bad way would be if a player is even worse than anyone could have thought.
Today we'll take a look at six players who will surprise once training camp kicks off in a little under two weeks.
Quarterback Scott Tolzien
Everyone is giving the backup quarterback job to Matt Flynn. It makes sense because Flynn played well last year, but it'd be foolish to forget about Scott Tolzien.
While Tolzien certainly had his rough spots when he started last year, we also need to remember that he was just called up from the practice squad. This year, Tolzien will have a whole offseason to work with the offense.
He's already been impressing head coach Mike McCarthy this offseason, according to Mike Spofford of Packers.com. He should keep up that impressive play once training camp gets underway on July 26.
Don't be surprised if Tolzien jumps ahead of Flynn on the depth chart simply due to his youth and the upside he brings to the field.
Running Back DuJuan Harris
One player who has become an afterthought in Green Bay is running back DuJuan Harris. This is due to the emergence of Eddie Lacy and the fact that Harris was injured last year.
However, Harris is back to full strength, according to Rob Reischel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And with Johnathan Franklin being forced to retire, Harris now has a shot at being the No. 3 running back on the depth chart behind Lacy and James Starks.
Harris has great speed to go along with solid vision as a runner. In fact, Harris was expected to be the starting running back last year before his leg injury after an exceptional 2012 campaign.
While there might not be many snaps to get in the backfield behind Lacy and Starks, look for Harris to impress in training camp to ensure he gets whatever leftovers there are.
Wide Receiver Jeff Janis
It's pretty rare for seventh-round picks to make an impact during their rookie year. However, the Packers have had previous success drafting receivers late. Donald Driver is one example.
Now, Jeff Janis isn't Driver, but that doesn't mean that Janis can't make an impact in year one. In fact, he's been impressive throughout OTAs and minicamp.
Look for Janis to not be as raw as many expect him to be coming out of such a small school. He'll cement his spot on the final roster with an impressive training camp.
Tight End Richard Rodgers
Few players have been talked about this offseason as much as rookie tight end Richard Rodgers. In fact, he was called "an MVP of organized team activities" by Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Rodgers is a huge athlete who was considered a project coming out of college. However, he's been much more polished as a pass-catcher during OTAs than anyone could have expected.
While he hasn't won the starting job from Andrew Quarless yet, it's hard to imagine that it won't be coming soon. If Rodgers can continue to be as impressive during training once the pads come on, he'll be a lock to be No. 1 on the depth chart.
With Rodgers being the ideal tight end for the Packers offense, it shouldn't take long for him to separate himself from the pack.
Inside Linebacker Carl Bradford
With Carl Bradford likely making the switch from outside linebacker to inside linebacker (Ourlads.com already has him listed as an inside linebacker), it makes sense that his rookie year would be sort of a redshirt year. He needs to learn the nuances of the position while learning the Packers defense.
However, Bradford possesses the exact skills that the Packers want in their inside linebackers. He's athletic, has great instincts and knows how to get after the quarterback. He'll ultimately need to get better in coverage, but that should come quickly.
While Bradford sits a good ways behind both A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones on the depth chart, he could use training camp to close the gap. Bradford should shine once the pads come on and he's able to do what he does best: make plays.
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
For being a first-round pick, not much has been said about safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix so far this offseason. That's probably good in the grand scheme of things.
When Clinton-Dix wasn't given the starting free safety job in OTAs it was pretty shocking. However, we all knew the Packers wanted to give Micah Hyde snaps back there, so it shouldn't have been overly surprising when Hyde played with the first-team defense.
However, now that training camp is on the horizon and the practices really mean something, look for Clinton-Dix to establish himself as the future of the defense. His ball skills should be on display, as should his ability to impact a game.
While Clinton-Dix was forgotten during OTAs, he'll definitely be the talk of training camp.