Every year, we fill the void between the end of offseason workouts and the start of training camp with our countdown of the Green Bay Packers' roster.
This year, with offseason rosters expanded from 80 players to 90, Packer Report ranked the players from No. 90 ( "Longest of Long Shots", Curenski Gilleylen) to No. 1 (Aaron Rodgers). It's important to note that these rankings are not simply based on skill. Players were ranked on their importance to the team. Skill, a player's position, the depth of his position group, the odds he contributes, salary and draft history all play a part in how a player is ranked.
It's hardly a scientific process. There's no magical formula and, truth be told, if I started this undertaking from scratch, there'd probably be some changes. There are some ties, especially at the start of this series, since there's nothing to differentiate the three undrafted rookie guards, for instance.
Maybe more than the ranking itself, hopefully you will learn a little something about each of the 90 players in the process.
No. 82: Packers need OL depth
G Don Barclay, Grant Cook and Jaymes Brooks: Beyond the starters, Green Bay enters training camp with just one interior lineman who has played in an NFL game: Evan Dietrich-Smith. So, with a solid camp, one of these three could break through.
— Barclay (6-4, 305), who received a $2,500 signing bonus, fits the mold of most Packers linemen in that he played left tackle in college. In fact, Barclay was a three year starter at left tackle for West Virginia, earning first-team all-Big East honors as a senior. Barclay thrived despite three coaching changes meaning three offensive line coaches and three schemes. That makes him well-prepared for the Packers' scheme, which features some power and some zone blocking.
— Brooks (6-2, 300), who sat out the entire offseason program with a strained hamstring, was a three-year starter at right guard for Virginia Tech. He finished his career having made 42 consecutive starts and earning second-team all-ACC accolades during his final two years. Brooks, who was born in Germany, made his first career start in the Orange Bowl as a redshirt freshman. At the Players All-Star Classic all-star game, he took about 30 snaps at center. One of the top remaining linemen after the draft, Brooks received a $4,500 signing bonus.
— Cook (6-4, 318) signed with the team after a tryout at the rookie camp. After starting seven games during his first three years at Arkansas, Cook won a starting job at guard as a senior. As a redshirt freshman, he was the backup left tackle behind current Packers guard Ray Dominguez.
No. 85: Never have enough cornerbacks
— CB Dion Turner: Turner (5-11, 194) played safety as a freshman and sophomore before making the move to cornerback for his final two seasons. He was first-team all-Great West Conference during his years at cornerback, known as much for his tackling as his ball skills. He picked off three passes in his career — one apiece during his final three years. He played just two years of high school football, playing volleyball in the fall before switching sports. Turner, who ran 4.43 at his pro day, received a $1,000 signing bonus.
— CB Otis Merrill: Merrill (5-11, 188) was signed after a tryout at the rookie camp. He started his career at Wisconsin but transferred after missing 2007 with a shoulder injury and playing in only one game in 2008. At Illinois State, he played in 32 games and started 15 times. He started 10 games as a senior, earning second-team honors in the Missouri Valley Conference with one interception and four passes defensed. He ran 4.48 at his pro day.
No. 87: Pass-catching tight end
— TE Eric Lair: Lair (6-2, 238) had a breakout junior season for Minnesota with 39 catches for 526 yards and two touchdowns. He had back-to-back games of nine catches against Northern Illinois and two touchdowns against Northwestern. However, with quarterback Adam Weber moving onto the Denver Broncos and a coaching change meaning a scheme change and a move to an athletic quarterback, Lair started only three games as a senior and finished with 11 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown. Lair, who ran a 4.60 at his pro day, received a signing bonus of $2,500.
No. 88: Behind the eight-ball
— DL Johnny Jones: Jones (6-4, 310) sat out all of the offseason practices — a major blow considering the depth on the defensive line. He entered the league in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall. He failed to make the Dolphins' roster and landed on Green Bay's practice squad early last season. At Marshall, he was a full-time starter as a sophomore but didn't start at all as a junior and opened just three games as a senior. He blocked two kicks in each of his final three years. Before the 2011 draft, he ran a 4.95 at his pro day.
No. 89: From receiver to tight end
— TE Brandon Bostick: Bostick (6-3, 245) played wide receiver at West Florence (S.C.) High School and Newberry College. He finished his career at the Division II school ranked fourth with 136 receptions, third with 1,935 yards and second with 19 touchdowns. He had a tryout at the rookie camp but was not signed, but was added later after the Packers released a tight end they signed immediately after the draft, Cameron Ford. As a junior, he torched Tusculum for 11 catches for 322 yards and three touchdowns. He ran 4.59 at his pro day.
No. 90: Longest of long shots
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.