The Countdown: Roster Rankings

Part 10 of our second-annual roster rankings — No. 21 to No. 25 — leads off with veteran lineman Mark Tauscher and continues with first-round pick Bryan Bulaga, cornerback Pat Lee and the players battling to start at left guard.

With training camp nine days away, we're starting to close in on the start of football season. The Packers have 82 players on their roster, not including the suspended Johnny Jolly. The limit is 80, but the two unsigned draft picks don't count until they're officially under contract, and restricted free agent safety Atari Bigby doesn't count until he signs his tender.

Like we did last year, we're ranking the players from No. 1 to No. 83. 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: 21

Mark Tauscher: If Tauscher were a quarterback who led such a dramatic turnaround, he would be the toast of the sports world. In the first nine games of last season, Aaron Rodgers was sacked 41 times. In the final seven games, Rodgers was sacked nine times. Was it a dramatic change in schemes? Not really. Did Rodgers speed up his internal time clock. Sure, a little. The big difference was that Tauscher had replaced Allen Barbre for good at right tackle. Tauscher simply had Midas' touch upon his return. It wasn't like Tauscher was dominant, but his ascension into the starting lineup restored the calm. Tauscher allowed two sacks and was penalized three times (one holding), according to STATS. He's 33 but is expected to retain his starting position against T.J. Lang.


In case you missed ...

Part 10 (21 through 25)

Part 9 (26 through 30)

Part 8 (31 through 40)

Part 7 (41 through 45)

Part 6 (46 through 50)

Part 5 (51 through 55)

Part 4 (56 through 60)

Part 3 (61 through 65)

Part 2 (66 through 71)

Part 1 (long shots) .

Packer Report Ranking: 22

Bryan Bulaga: In a perfect world, veteran Chad Clifton will start all 16 games and Bulaga won't play a meaningful snap all season. That's probably unlikely, considering Clifton either missed or was removed from eight games because of injuries. Some scouts harbored doubts about whether Bulaga could play left tackle in the NFL. We'll probably have a good idea of whether he can handle left tackle by season's end. Bulaga's addition is huge in that the Packers can plug him in at left tackle rather than move Daryn Colledge from left guard or Lang from right tackle. In the long run, grabbing Bulaga in the first round was huge. As long as Rodgers is on the roster, the Packers are going to be a pass-first team, and as long as they're a pass-first team, they need an upper-echelon left tackle to handle elite pass rushers.

Packer Report Ranking: 23

Pat Lee: Lee missed all of last season with a knee injury sustained while returning a kickoff in the preseason. The last of the Packers' three second-round picks in 2008, he's played in five games in his two NFL seasons and has played only about two-dozen snaps on defense during that span. To win the big games, the Packers need to get a better handle on the game's elite quarterbacks and their three- and four-receiver formations. That means Lee, who could be the third corner depending on Al Harris' comeback, could be thrust into a major role. Even if he's the fourth corner, he'll see plenty of action against teams like Minnesota, Chicago and New England in the regular season and, perhaps, New Orleans in the playoffs.

Packer Report Ranking: 24 (tie)

— Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz: With 21 of last year's 22 preferred starters back with the team (Aaron Kampman being the exception), only one starting position is up for grabs on offense. That's left guard, where incumbent starter Colledge will battle his good friend Spitz. Both players are entering their fifth seasons in the NFL. Colledge's 2009 was a huge disappointment, starting with his Week 2 shift to left tackle and continuing after being moved back to guard. After allowing 13 sacks in his first three seasons, he yielded 8.75 last year. His holding penalty in overtime at Arizona helped end the season. Spitz's season wasn't any better, with just four starts (and two sacks allowed) before a season-ending back injury that required surgery. Colledge is probably the favorite, considering Spitz was held out of the offseason practices. It will help Colledge that he won't have to swing out to tackle every day at practice.


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.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.


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