With that said, we continue to rank the players from No. 1 to No. 83 (a figure that includes the just-released Carson Butler). This list doesn't necessarily list the players from best to worst, but we take into account the players' importance on the roster and other factors such as contracts and potential.
Packer Report Ranking: 12
— Cullen Jenkins, DE: The Packers' playoff hopes went up in smoke when Jenkins went down with a torn pectoral while trying to sack Buccaneers quarterback Brian Griese in the fourth quarter of their Week 4 game. Jenkins (6-foot-2, 305 pounds) was a one-man wrecking crew during his three-plus games, piling up a whopping 2.5 sacks and 19 quarterback hits/pressures. With him, they won two of their first three games and were leading at Tampa Bay — putting them in position to be 20-4 since he was put in the starting lineup late in 2006. Without him, they went 4-8, yielded 23.3 points per game, mounted what can be best described as a feeble pass rush and couldn't come up with a stop at crunch time in a number of close losses. Jenkins, who was mostly a bystander during offseason practices, will play right defensive end in the new scheme, which isn't exactly a playmaking position, although the Steelers' Aaron Smith posted six sacks last year. In nickel situations, he'll move to his customary position as an inside rusher.
Packer Report Ranking: 13
— Donald Driver, WR: Driver (6-0, 194) turned 34 in February. By contrast, new Packers Hall of Fame receiver Antonio Freeman recently turned 37. It's easy to laugh off Driver's wish to play until he's 40, but why not? Last year was his least-productive since 2003 — and he still posted 74 catches for 1,012 yards and five touchdowns. Driver, with about 20 pounds of muscle added as armor since arriving as a seventh-round pick in 1999, is ready, willing and able to do the dirty work, yet he also flashed big-play ability with six receptions of at least 44 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown in the finale against Detroit. He got better as the season went on, a byproduct of improved chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. Before the bye, he averaged 4.1 receptions per game and 11.4 yards per reception. After it, he averaged 5.0 receptions and 15.2 yards per grab. Without Brett Favre, Driver is the clear heartbeat of the team with his ability to liven up a mundane training camp practice and to electrify 72,000 at Lambeau Field.
Packer Report Ranking: 14
— Daryn Colledge, LG: Now is the year for Colledge (6-4, 308), a second-round pick in 2006. With three years of professional training in Green Bay, he looks like an NFL lineman. With 44 career starts — including all 16 last year, when he played every snap on offense — he's got the experience. And now, with the new focus on stability up front, he's finally been able to focus solely on one position — left guard. The intelligent and athletic Colledge started 14 games at left guard, once at left tackle and once at right tackle last year, but that doesn't tell the entire picture. With the Packers nursing Chad Clifton through training camp and the first half of the season, Colledge routinely would take half (or much more) of the snaps at practice at left tackle, only to be at guard on Sunday. With that said, Colledge remains the top backup to Clifton, and if the aging Clifton can't practice and rookie fifth-round pick Jamon Meredith isn't ready for prime time, then Colledge figures to be on the move again.
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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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.