Under the Radar: Green Bay Packers' Impact Rookies
After looking at the Packers' 2008 NFL Draft, there are a few names that instantly jump out. Probably the two most recognizable, for those that follow the draft, were the top two picks: wide receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback Brian Brohm.
Following closely behind are other top picks in tight end Jermichael Finley, quarterback Matt Flynn, and cornerback Pat Lee. These names are those that Packer fans will come to know over the next few years; that is, if they don't know already.
However, these standout players will not see the immediate game time that later picks will be seeing. Nelson might squeak into the No. 4 receiver spot or split time as a return man, and unless Rodgers gets hurt, Brohm will not be seeing playing time.
Flynn is moving up to challenge Brohm, which makes it less likely for either of them to have huge contributions outside of being holders. Finley is second to a solid starter in Donald Lee, and Pat Lee can fall to the fifth cornerback on the roster, if Will Blackmon stays healthy.
So who does that leave as immediate impact rookies?
Probably the best under-the-radar pick is that of new long snapper, J.J. Jansen. Since Rob Davis retired, he has been handed the starting job as the team's long snapper, so there is no doubt that he will have an impact on the team.
The next level of impact player would include a few more names, mostly because they aren't guaranteed any starting time. Josh Sitton is fighting for a starting job on the offensive line, and linebacker Danny Lasanah will probably get his share of time with the special teams.
Along with those two comes defensive end Jeremy Thompson. The loss of Corey Williams might cause end Cullen Jenkins to take more snaps as a tackle, thus freeing up space for Thompson in a defensive line that likes to rotate players to outlast offenses.
What it all comes down to is that, unless they find a niche on special teams, most of the rookies outside of Thompson and Sitton probably won't get a whole lot of playing time.
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