Report Card Grades for Every Green Bay Packers Rookie Through Preseason Week 2
Halfway through the preseason schedule, the Green Bay Packers' rookie class is looking about what you'd expect.
There's been some typical mistakes due to inexperience but there have been some flashes as well.
All in all, the Packers' rookie class is far from being a polished product, but there's a lot of time yet for those who make the roster.
Inside, we take a peek at every rookie on the Packers' roster, both drafted and undrafted, and see how they stack up through the second exhibition game.
The grading scale is relative compared to expectations for each individual player based upon where they were drafted.
The beginning of Nick Perry's training camp could only be described as quiet. Before the first preseason game, the first-round draft choice wasn't making a lot of waves during practices.
It was understandable, however. There were a lot of differences from what he was being asked to in college to what he'd have to do in the pros.
Perry was making the transition to stand-up outside linebacker from college defensive end who almost always played in a three-point stance. Perry was also making the switch to the left side of the line after seeing most of his time on the right side at USC.
Then the first preseason game against the Chargers happened, and Perry had a sack during the first series. Finally, it appeared as if things had clicked.
While he was quiet in the second preseason game, at least Perry didn't look lost. Heck, he probably hasn't even played the equivalent of one full game, and Perry already has a sack.
If he can keep up that pace in the regular season, the Packers would be elated.
It appears the Packers' made a good choice during the offseason to focus on preparing Jerel Worthy for his role in the nickel defense, because at this point, it might be best to not overwhelm him.
The best thing Worthy has done all camp was during the intrasquad scrimmage when he shot through the offensive line to make a tackle for a loss on a Packers' running back. It was an impressive play and a good display of quickness.
Unfortunately for Worthy, he hasn't shown the same flash during a preseason game. There might be concern whether he's going to be able to disengage from blockers to make a play at the NFL level.
Still, his quickness is something that can't be taught. As long as he doesn't jump offsides, Worthy has the ability to use his motor to his advantage.
C.J. Wilson looks to be the starter at defensive end in the base defense, but that will suit Worthy just fine. He can focus on being the best interior pass rusher he can be, and he can diversify his game as he gets older.
At the beginning of training camp, it looked as if the Packers were bringing Casey Hayward along in baby steps as well. He was being used more frequently as a slot cornerback than on the perimeter during the first days of training camp as well as during OTAs.
But partially due to his solid play and partially due to injuries to Davon House and Sam Shields, Hayward has worked his way right into the thick of the starting cornerback competition.
In the past two weeks or so, Hayward has gotten time in all the Packers' defensive packages and even worked with the starters in preseason Week 2.
He hasn't been perfect. Hayward has been beat a couple times, but that's what happens to cornerbacks. Even the good ones get beat once in a while.
Hayward has been able to make up for it with a fumble recovery and a pass that he almost took for a pick-six against the Cleveland Browns.
He may or may not be able to win a job as a starter, but at the very least, Hayward looks to have carved out a role in the Packers' subpackages this year and will be a regular contributor to the Packers defense.
When Mike Daniels has been healthy and out on the practice field for the Packers, he's impressed. Unfortunately, he hasn't been out on the practice field nearly enough.
Daniels missed the entire offseason program while recovering from shoulder surgery performed immediately after his senior season in college.
To his credit, he was ready for the start of training camp, but it didn't take long before knee and groin injuries sidelined Daniels once again.
He was able to return in time for the Week 2 preseason game against the Browns and was credited with one tackle, but at this point, Daniels is playing catch-up.
If he's healthy, it appears as if Daniels has some quickness not unlike Jerel Worthy, and could be effective in nickel and dime situations. Now he just has to stay healthy and prove he can withstand the pounding that comes along with playing in the trenches in the NFL.
It took awhile for Jerron McMillian to get going, but as of late, the rookie safety has been hot.
He followed up a subpar first preseason game that included a couple missed tackles with an impressive second game that included a tackle for a loss and another for a one-yard gain.
On both tackles, he met former Packers running back Brandon Jackson head on and showed that he wasn't afraid to hit.
Fellow safeties M.D. Jennings and Anthony Levine haven't won the starting job in the nickel package outright and McMillian has placed himself in the middle of the competition.
The rookie from Maine hasn't won the job with the first-string yet either, but with another couple preseason performances he could. He shown that he's able to tackle. Next it would be nice if he can show that he can cover too.
It's hard to say whether Terrell Manning doesn't have what it takes to play in the NFL or if he's just miscast as an inside linebacker.
The Packers went out on a limb by trading up into the fifth round during April's draft to select Manning, a 4-3 outside linebacker in college. Now they're trying to make him into a 3-4 inside linebacker, and the results have been less than impressive.
It's not as if there are negative reports coming out of Green Bay every day saying that Manning is getting beat, but he just hasn't been the same playmaking linebacker that he was at North Carolina State.
He's got some athleticism. It's possible he might be able to stick around as a special teams contributor before it all really clicks for him on defense, but the Packers are running out of time to figure or whether or not that can happen.
It's still up in the air whether the Packers keep him on their roster, cut him, trade him or ask him to be on their practice squad. Any one of those options is a possibility, and Manning's performance in the final two preseason games could help to determine the outcome.
Andrew Datko got off to a real slow start to training camp. It was so slow, they didn't trust him to be the starting left tackle in the first preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.
Instead, the Packers went with Herb Taylor, and everyone knows how that turned out. Taylor was beaten and battered.
Since that time, it appeared as if Datko has made some strides. It's clear he still trying to round back into form after missing the majority of his senior season in college with a shoulder injury, but there's potential within Datko.
Unfortunately, Datko suffered a concussion this week during training camp. After missing the final practice before the Bengals games, he doesn't look like a good bet to play on Thursday.
Depending on how severe his concussion is, it could hamper the rookie's chances of making the roster. It's a wait-and-see game with Datko right now. If he can return to the lineup in time for next week's game, he might have a chance of making the team. If he doesn't, those chance appear slim.
Through two preseason games, B.J. Coleman hasn't gotten a lot of opportunities. In preseason Week 1, he played in one series. In Week 2, he was in for one play.
Granted, Coleman was only in for one play because he threw an interception, but his chances to impress haven't been there.
Based upon how he's performed during practice and in the team's intrasquad scrimmage, Coleman looks the part of NFL quarterback. He's big and isn't afraid to push the ball downfield. But he's also still very raw.
Considering how poorly Graham Harrell has performed thus far, it's telling that Coleman isn't getting more opportunities. Clearly the Packers aren't ready to allow the rookie to be their No. 2 quarterback yet.
Coleman shouldn't get down, however. The No. 3 job is his, even if means he'll have to be on the practice squad. He just has to have the attitude that he's going to learn and get better every day.
For his first ever NFL action, Marc Tyler got off to a good start. In the preseason opener against the Chargers, Tyler had 13 carries for 32 yards, both team highs.
The 2.5 yards per carry average wasn't anything to write home about, but Tyler showed he could be a solid runner between the tackles.
On the final of those 13 carries, however, Tyler fumbled on the Packers' final series, ending any chance of tying the game. It's been downhill from there for Tyler.
In the second game against the Browns, Tyler had eight carries for a paltry six yards and a dropped pass to go along with it.
With the addition of Cedric Benson to the Packers' offense, there's zero chance Tyler makes the 53-man roster. The practice squad is about the best Tyler could hope for and even that isn't a given.
When Marc Tyler missed the Packers' intrasquad scrimmage with an injury, the door opened to Du'ane Bennett. He'd see more playing time than he otherwise would have gotten with so many other injuries happening to the other running backs on the roster.
Bennett didn't do anything impressive in the scrimmage but he didn't make any mistakes either. He would have had an even bigger opportunity in the preseason if not for a knee injury of his own. Sidelined himself now, there doesn't appear to be enough time left for him to make up for it.
Even if Bennett is able to return for the final preseason game or two, it won't be enough to make the roster.
Nic Cooper has gotten more opportunities than perhaps any other rookie on the Packers. When fellow fullbacks John Kuhn and Jon Hoese missed time with injuries, Cooper received playing time with the starters.
To his credit, Cooper has stayed completely healthy, but he's also been mostly invisible.
Case in point, the preseason game against the Browns when the Packers gave Cooper the ball when they were trapped inside their own 5-yard line. Cooper got the carry, but couldn't gain a single yard.
Certainly, fullbacks aren't asked to carry the football very often. But when a golden opportunity like that arises, Cooper should take advantage.
The best-case scenario for Cooper might be an invitation to join the practice squad. But if the Packers are going to be running out of more one-back sets this season, the fullback position may not be as valuable in Green Bay as it once was.
Virginia Tech's all-time leading receiver is doing a good job of showing why he was so productive in college.
Jarrett Boykin quietly led the Packers with five receptions for 63 yards in the Packers' second preseason game against the Browns. Through two games, he leads the entire team with eight catches for 84 yards.
The knock on Boykin is that he isn't a speedster. When receivers don't have speed, they usually get the job done by running good routes and catch everything thrown their way with a solid pair of hands.
The sample size is small but that would appear to be the case with Boykin, too. He's played so well, he can't be counted out of making the Packers' 53-man roster, but the wide receiver position is so deep that it's unlikely he'll be kept.
Traditionally, the Packers like to keep one or two wide receivers on their practice squad, which bodes well for Boykin.
The former college basketball player from South Dakota State has thus far shown he's a pretty good football player as well.
He doesn't have as many receptions as fellow undrafted rookie Jarrett Boykin but Dale Moss has been solid in his own right with four receptions for 36 yards through two games.
Moss showed off his basketball pedigree in the Browns preseason game by leaping to make a second-half catch thrown by Graham Harrell. Moss came up empty, but the jumping ability was the impressive part.
There's still a lot of raw, untapped ability inside Moss, but the Packers can't keep all their wide receivers. It may come down to a choice between him and Boykin for the practice squad.
Gilleylen made the Packers as a tryout player from Nebraska trying to make the transition from running back to wide receiver.
The Packers must sure like something about Gilleylen's ability to put in the time and effort while trying to make a position change. Gilleylen still appears to be behind undrafted rookies Dale Moss and Jarrett Boykin in the wide receiver pecking order.
Gilleylen has one catch for 17 yards in the preseason but, arguably, has one drop as well.
Working in Gilleylen's favor is that he's versatile enough to play in the backfield in a pinch. He did so against the Browns by lining up at fullback but that alone won't be enough to win him a spot on the roster.
The Packers liked Brandon Bostick enough to cut fellow tight end Cameron Ford at the end of rookie orientation camp and sign Bostick instead.
Bostick, however, has been stuck at a position with a lot of depth in Green Bay. Green Bay kept five tight ends last year, so it's was going to be tough for any rookie to crack this lineup.
To his credit, while other tight ends have gone down to injury throughout training camp, Bostick has stayed healthy and practices every single day.
He only has one reception for seven yards during preseason action to show for it, unfortunately. Unless the Packers were to suddenly receive an unexpected rash of injuries at the position, it looks like Bostick will be a roster casualty.
While other offensive linemen have been shuffled around because of injury, Don Barclay has been a model of consistency.
Barclay has primarily played at left guard while backing up T.J. Lang and climbed as high as the second-string before the signing of veteran Reggie Wells.
A left tackle in college at West Virginia, Barclay can slide over to tackle in a pinch, which gives him an edge in versatility.
There's still two preseason games left and they'll go a long way towards determining if Barclay can win a spot on the roster, or at least be invited to the practice squad.
Considering Tommie Draheim received the largest signing bonus of all the Packers' undrafted rookies, he's come with a slightly higher set of expectation but he also has a lot of competition.
A college left tackle at San Diego State, the Packers wasted no time moving Draheim to center to see if he could be a long-term replacement to Jeff Saturday. But there's been little room for advancement with Evan Dietrich-Smith and Sampson Genus ahead of him.
Draheim has displayed his versatility as a guard as well, which may be a reason to not let him go. There aren't very many offensive linemen that can all play all five positions on the line but Draheim may have that ability.
The final two preseason games will be a proving ground for Draheim whose future with the Packers is not set in stone.
Out of all the rookies on the Packers' offensive line, out of all the college left tackles they moved somewhere else, the Packers decided to keep Allard at left tackle which might give a sign as to his athleticism.
Allard has also played at right tackle as well, so his value as a swing tackle is clearly a positive.
He has, however, probably not played as well as Andrew Datko who is also being trained as a swing tackle.
It appears as if Allard gives up a little too much ground when setting up in his pass blocking, which is not helping his cause.
Greg Van Roten
Give credit to Greg Van Roten. If he's doing one thing right it's the fantastic job on the practice field. He's won a surprisingly high amount of his one-on-one pass blocking opportunities.
According to stats kept by Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Van Roten has won 24 out 31 reps as of Aug. 18.
Perhaps surprisingly, Van Roten's impressive practice habits have not gotten him any extra playing time during the preseason. The college left tackle turned NFL guard has only played sparingly through the Packers' first two games.
The argument can be made that the Packers are trying to hide Van Roten's talents so he's not picked up by some other team at the end of training camp and the Packers can hide him on their practice squad.
Despite the curious decision not to play Van Roten very much, he's doing a good job and exceeded expectations.
Even during OTAs and minicamp, Dezman Moses was creating a stir. In the May/June time frame, Moses was practicing with the starters while Clay Matthews was sitting out of practice as a precaution.
Moses has taken the steam he built up during the offseason and carried it over to training camp as the rookie who's probably exceeded expectations the most.
His preseason statistics might say only four tackles so far but that doesn't tell the whole story about Moses.
What Moses possesses is an all-out motor who has the ability to rush the passer and make tackles from sideline to sideline.
He also has shown he can be a contributor on special teams, which is where Moses will get the most playing time early in his career.
While his performance at cornerback hasn't been anything special, Otis Merrill has made an impression as a kick returner.
During the second preseason game against the Browns, Merrill took a second-quarter kickoff 60 yards into the opponent's territory.
And through two games, Merrill leads the team in kick returns with three attempts for 103 yards, good for a 34.4-yard average.
For right now, that's the most Merrill has going for him because his most notable play on defense was being beat for a deep pass down the left sideline during the fourth quarter of the Chargers game.
Despite the positive impression on returns, there's little room for Merrill with Randall Cobb handling all the return duties.
Dion Turner was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Southern Utah. He was a two-time, first-team all-conference selection but hasn't had the same level of success with the Packers.
Through the first two weeks of preseason play, Turner has made a tackle in each game and that's about the extent of his impact.
Turner might be least heralded player on the Packers' roster and he's a longshot at best to make so much as the practice squad.
It would be considered a minor miracle if Turner can escape the first round of roster cuts following the third preseason game.
It might not be the ideal situation for a safety on the third line of defense to be making so many tackles, but Sean Richardson is second on the team with nine tackles through the first two preseason games.
In reality, Richardson has a nose for the football and always seems to be where the action is, whether it's a run or a pass.
At 6'2" and 216 lbs., Richardson has ideal size for a safety and appears to move pretty well for his size as well.
With his combination of size and speed, he'd make an ideal addition to special teams and has a puncher's chance of making the roster if he can continue his solid play through the last two preseason games.
The Packers brought Micah Pellerin in after the Indianapolis Colts cut him during the offseason, but he's done little to make an impression during training camp.
In two games, Pellerin has made one tackle, which pales in comparison to Sean Richardson.
As a college cornerback, Pellerin does offer a little versatility which may be of value to the Packers, however.
Making the 53-man roster might be out of the question for Pellerin but making the practice squad is not.