It was puzzling that veteran Rob Holmberg went from Nate Wayne's backup to free agent within the span of a month. But that happened because rookie Marcus Wilkins and first-year pro Paris Lenon demonstrated often in training camp that they can play, or have the potential to play, well at the professional level.
A gamble on Sherman's part to release Holmberg? Perhaps, but a very calculated gamble. Hard to second guess the Packers on this one. When you consider that pro personnel director Reggie McKenzie and college scouting director John Dorsey are former NFL linebackers, the Packers obviously see the talent and potential that Wilkins and Lenon possess. Linebackers coach Bo Pelini is regarded as one of the best in the business, and defensive coordinator Ed Donatell can often be seen at practice "coaching up" the linebackers.
If the Packers would have had more than six draft picks in the April NFL draft, chances are they may have selected Wilkins. But Sherman relied on his staff, and himself, to act quickly near the conclusion of the draft to obtain high octane free agents such as Wilkins, offensive tackle Kevin Barry and running back Tony Fisher.
The same staff prepared Na'il Diggs to start at outside linebacker as a rookie in 2000. Diggs has held the position ever since.
"Our personnel staff worked very hard in identifying guys," Sherman said. "We didn't have a seventh round pick. It was almost to the point if was even worth having one because it allowed us an opportunity to be very aggressive during the seventh round, calling players – coaches and players alike – calling players and talking to them, myself included, trying to get them to come to Green Bay.
"We have a very good product. Kids know the Green Bay Packers, so that helps us. I wouldn't say we were lucky. I thought we did our homework. I thought the personnel staff did a fantastic job in identifying the right guys."