6 Green Bay Packers Injured in 2010 Who Will Play Key Roles in 2011

Matt SmithContributor IIIJune 16, 2011

6 Green Bay Packers Injured in 2010 Who Will Play Key Roles in 2011

0 of 6

    PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers rushes after a catch during a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 12, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Well known by most are the injury problems the Packers faced last season.

    Going into Super Bowl XLV, the Packers had 16 players on injured reserve. During the Super Bowl, a couple more players got hurt as well.

    But even without those players, Green Bay is still a scary team. They boast one of the deepest squads in the entire NFL.

    With the newfound talent on the team, not all 16 players will have stellar impacts.

    But here are six of them that will play key roles throughout the season. 

Morgan Burnett, S

1 of 6

    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Roscoe Parrish #11 of the Buffalo Bills is hit by Morgan Burnett #42 of the Green Bay Packers after catching a pass at Lambeau Field on September 19, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bills 34-7.  (Photo
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    When Morgan Burnett went down in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions, it seemed as if the Packers were spread thin at safety.

    But in came Charlie Peprah.

    Peprah played much better than expected. He recorded 63 tackles and 2 INTs during the regular season as well as 25 tackles in the playoffs.

    However, even though they re-signed Peprah, I believe Burnett will be the starter.

    Burnett showed promise and toughness when he lasted 11 extra plays with a torn ligament in his knee.

    Expect Burnett to show why Ted Thompson and Co. moved up in the 2010 NFL Draft to grab him.

Jermichael Finley, TE

2 of 6

    GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 03: Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a touchdown catch against the Detroit Lions in front of a goal post wrapped with a breast cancer awarness pad at Lambeau Field on October 3, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Many are projecting Finley to have the breakout season he was primed for last season before his injury.

    Finley is a member of a new breed of tight ends that are too big for cornerbacks but too fast for linebackers.

    The clear-cut starter at tight end, Finley will benefit from the Packers' plethora of talent in the passing game.

    If everything goes as planned, Finley will have earned himself a Pro Bowl spot.

    Finley will have a big year this year with over 1,000 yards receiving and a minimum of five touchdowns.

Mike Neal, DE

3 of 6

    GREEN BAY, WI - CIRCA 2010: In this photo provided by the NFL, Mike Neal of the Green Bay Packers poses for his 2010 NFL headshot circa 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
    Handout/Getty Images

    Another rookie who ended up with a season-ending injury was Mike Neal, the team's second-round draft pick.

    Neal impressed coaches early with his work ethic—he was often one of the first players at the team facilities every day—as well as his combination of strength and speed.

    If the sophomore out of Purdue can improve upon his technique, he could become something special very soon.

    And if the Packers don't decide to pick up any defensive lineman in free agency, then expect him to become a starter very soon.

Ryan Grant, RB

4 of 6

    SEATTLE - AUGUST 21:  Running back Ryan Grant #25 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during warmups prior to the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on August 21, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Ryan Grant will have stiff competition for the job of starting running back when the 2011 season comes around.

    James Starks, the Packers' sixth-round draft pick in 2010, showed that he could shoulder a work load if needed.

    And though Alex Green isn't an immediate starter, the former Hawaii stud is an excellent third down option.

    And just for Grant's sake, let's not say that Brandon Jackson is coming back. Alex Green will take his job.

    But even with all of this, Grant should still play a key role in the Packers' offense.

    He won't get close to his previous 1,200-yard seasons but somewhere around the 700/800-yard range isn't unreasonable. 

Charles Woodson, CB

5 of 6

    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Tramon Williams #38 and Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers warm up before taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Get
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    I apologize for using the most overused picture of Charles Woodson there is on B/R, but it had to be done.

    Woodson was only injured for part of one game (the Super Bowl), but he suffered an injury serious enough to cause some concern.

    Aaron Rodgers may be the biggest star on the team, but the title of team leader goes to the only primarily defensive player in NCAA history to win a Heisman.

    Woodson is the leader of the Packers' defense on the field and the leader of the team in the locker room.

    He continually aids in the growth of Green Bay's budding stars, and his presence will be key.

Justin Harrell, DE

6 of 6

    SEATTLE - AUGUST 21:  Defensive end Justin Harrell #91 of the Green Bay Packers looks on during warmups prior to the preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on August 21, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Image
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    There had to be a shocker on this list somewhere.

    Cheeseheads everywhere wonder why the Packers haven't cut Harrell yet. He's a huge draft bust, so far.

    It's no surprise that Harrell was coming off another injury this season, as he has more injuries in his career than sacks.

    But in his last season, to prove his worth to the organization, Harrell will explode (in terms of his previous production).

    The former first-round draft pick will be as determined as ever and put together the flashes of brilliance he has shown when healthy.