The Countdown: Roster Rankings

Part 12 of this series includes some of the big guns, including No. 11 Ryan Grant and No. 15 Donald Driver, with B.J. Raji, Chad Clifton and Nick Barnett in between.

With training camp seven days away, football season is almost here. 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: 11

Ryan Grant: It's not just that Grant is only the third running back in franchise history to record back-to-back 1,200-yard seasons. It's that the Packers don't feel good about any of the other options. Of the 374 running plays that didn't involve the quarterbacks last season, Grant got the ball 75.4 percent of the time. Still, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry with seven of his 11 touchdowns in the second half of the season. He finished with 1,253 yards, good for seventh in the NFL, without turning over the ball on a running play. Considering the Packers preferred over-the-hill Ahman Green to Brandon Jackson on running plays last year, it's a safe bet that Grant will be the workhorse again.

Packer Report Ranking: 12

In case you missed ...

Part 12 (11 through 15)

Part 11 (16 through 20)

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) .

B.J. Raji: Raji was the ninth overall selection in last year's draft but didn't make a big impact, in part because of a two-week holdout and then because of a nagging high-ankle sprain. The top backup at all three spots on the line in the base defense last year, Raji is now the starting nose tackle. That was a job handled with aplomb by Ryan Pickett, and Raji will have to prove he can consistently hold up against double teams. He wasn't tough enough against double teams last year and he provided almost zero pass rush, with one sack and three quarterback hits. He needs to take a big step forward for the defense to remain elite against the run.

Packer Report Ranking: 13

Chad Clifton: Clifton, who was given a three-year contract shortly after reaching free agency and turned 34 in June, missed time twice with an ankle injury last year. When he finally hit his stride, the Packers' offense became practically unstoppable, and he earned the respect of his peers by being named a Pro Bowl alternate. Clifton missed four games and left four others early because of injuries. Last year, that spelled disaster — especially in the games against Minnesota. This year, maybe Bryan Bulaga will prevent a repeat. For now, though, Clifton is clearly the best option.

Packer Report Ranking: 14

Nick Barnett: Barnett made a successful recovery from a torn ACL that ended his 2008 at midseason. When Barnett became a full-time player in Week 4, the defense began to soar up the charts. He led the team in tackles and tackles for losses, but also missed too many tackles, was destroyed in coverage in the playoff game and wasn't involved in a single turnover. With a career-high four sacks, Barnett added some much-needed oomph to a lackluster pass rush. All in all, it wasn't a bad season for a player who wasn't allowed to practice a radically new defense until late in training camp. He should be much better this season.

Packer Report Ranking: 15

Donald Driver: Not even Father Time can catch up to the ageless Driver. Driver, who with Reggie Wayne is the only player in the league with six consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons, needs merely 607 yards to break Hall of Famer James Lofton's franchise-record 9,656. Driver remains a lethal open-field performer, with those one-step routes a staple of the offense. Yet at an age when almost all receivers lose a step or two (see Terrell Owens), Driver managed to rank ninth in the NFL with five receptions of 40-plus yards and almost posted a career high with his 15.2 yards per reception. Driver enters this season with cleaned-out knees, a chip on his shoulder after a costly fumble in the playoffs and, with an expiring contract, a desire to be rewarded with another sizable deal as he presses toward his goal of playing until he's 40.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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