Coming through

PackerReport.com's Todd Korth provides an analysis, update and outlook for each player in the Green Bay Packers' Class of 2006.

While it usually takes two to three years for most National Football League teams to get a decent reading on their draft class, the Green Bay Packers have been quite pleased with their Class of 2006. Through the early part of this season, more than half of the draft picks have contributed in one way or the other on game days, and most of the class is still part of the team.

Of the 12 players selected by general manager Ted Thompson, only fourth-round pick Cory Rodgers is no longer on the team. Wide receiver Greg Jennings, linebacker A.J. Hawk, and guards Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz and Tony Moll have cracked into the starting lineup with Jennings pushing for NFL rookie of the year honors. Others are waiting in the wings, either playing as reserves or preparing for the future on the team's eight-man practice squad.

"We feel good about our draft class," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "They've been getting an opportunity to play early and they're taking advantage of it. That's what you look for in young guys. You look for improvement. They haven't been overwhelmed. Daryn Colledge in the preseason took a step backwards. I think the opportunity to put Tony (Moll) in there and giving (Colledge) a chance to catch his breath has helped him flourish. The last two weeks, (Colledge) is playing very well.

"They're a group with a maturity level is pretty high and they've been given more opportunities than many draft classes are given this early in their career, and they're taking advantage of it. We feel good after five games."

Here is an analysis of each of Greeen Bay's 12 selections, along with their current stats and future outlook:

A.J. Hawk, LB, 1st round, 5th overall: Hawk continues to improve and gain confidence each week. He is everything the Packers had hoped he would be when they selected him in April. A starter at the weak-side position since he arrived in Green Bay, Hawk is second on the team in tackles with 42 behind middle linebacker Nick Barnett (46). He has 1.5 sacks and two passes defensed.

Outlook: Hawk will start for years to come for Green Bay with future Pro Bowl appearances on the horizon.

Daryn Colledge, G/T, 2nd round, 47th overall: Colledge lost his starting job midway through training camp, but got another chance to start in Week 2 for the injured Jason Spitz. Since then, Colledge hasn't relinquished his starting role on the left side of the line. He is playing more aggressively and is do a good job of protecting Brett Favre.

Outlook: Colledge will be the starting left guard throughout the rest of this season, and beyond.

Greg Jennings, WR, 2nd round, 52nd overall: Jennings was the fourth receiver taken overall in the draft, but is out-playing everyone, including many NFL veterans. Jennings is second on the team with 26 catches for 364 yards and three touchdowns. He is quickly becoming a favorite target of Favre, next to Donald Driver.

Outlook: Very bright future for Jennings, who is making Packers fans forget about Javon Walker.

Abdul Hodge, LB, 3rd round, 67th overall: Hodge has been limited to special teams where he has three tackles. He injured his knee Oct. 2 against Philadelphia and did not play against St. Louis. He probably will not play this Sunday against Miami, but might return to play against Arizona, according to McCarthy.

Outlook: Hodge will be Green Bay's starting middle linebacker, but the question is when? With Barnett in the middle, Hodge, who was impressive in the preseason, will have to sit until the team either moves Barnett to the outside, or trades him. Barnett's contract expires after the 2007 season.

Jason Spitz, G/C, 3rd round, 75th overall: The guard injured his left thigh in Week 1 and missed two games. He has since taken over for Tony Moll and likely will remain as the starter on the right side.

Outlook: Spitz is a better lineman than Colledge and Moll. Look for him to remain as the starter for years to come.

Cory Rodgers, WR/KR, 104th overall: He was drafted to return punts and kickoffs for the Packers, but repeatedly showed an inability to catch punts and kickoffs in practices and preseason games. He was released in training camp and is out of football.

Outlook: This pick is officially a bust.

Will Blackmon, CB, 115th overall: The versatile athlete has been one-dimensional since he broke a bone in his foot on May 21. Blackmon has yet to take a snap in the regular season, and missed all of training camp. His injury has been perplexing to Packers' doctors, because he has suffered setbacks in a few attempts to return to practice. Blackmon made another attempt to prepare for the season last week, as the team is holds its breath that he will be able to hold up.

Outlook: If he ever gets to 100 percent, Blackmon has all the potential to be a starter, but that won't happen this year.

Ingle Martin, QB, 148th overall: He has been the clipboard-carrying third quarterback this season. He is in the position of serving as the scout-team quarterback, and trying to improve his accuracy after a shaky training camp.

Outlook: When Brett Favre eventually moves on, Martin will be in position to compete to be a backup to Aaron Rodgers.

Tony Moll, T, 165th overall: Moll went from third string tackle at the start of training camp to starting right guard for the first four games of this season. He has the versatility to play both guard and tackle, with tackle as his best position.

Outlook: Moll will have an opportunity to start at tackle for the Packers once veterans Chad Clifton and/or Mark Tauscher move on. A former tight end, Moll is quicker than Colledge and Spitz, which makes him a good candidate to play outside in the future. For the rest of this season, Moll will serve as a backup to Colledge, Spitz, Tauscher and Clifton.

Johnny Jolly, DT, 183rd overall: Jolly made the 53-man roster but has yet to suit up for a game this season. Unless defensive tackles in front of him are injured, Jolly will continue to be a game-day inactive for the remaining part of the season.

Outlook: Jolly has to prove to coaches in practice that he has what it takes to play in the NFL, then hope for a break. Otherwise, he may not be with the Packers past next season.

Tyrone Culver, S, 185th overall: A pleasant surprise out of Fresno State, Culver has played in every game this season on special teams and in the team's passing defenses. He is a backup to Marquand Manuel and Nick Collins.

Outlook: If Manuel continues to struggle, it won't be a surprise to see Culver competing for a starting spot next season, and possibly at the end of this season. Culver is much more physical than Manuel, which gives him a big edge.

Dave Tollefson, DE, 253rd overall: The Packers signed Tollefson to the eight-man practice squad soon after he was released on Sept. 2. Tollefson was beat out for a roster spot by rookie free agent Jason Hunter in training camp.

Outlook: Tollefson has a chance to prove his worth in practices. If he shows progress, he may be promoted to the active roster in the event of an injury to another defensive end.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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