May 22, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) talks to fellow linebacker Nick Perry (53) during organized team activities at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE

Packers' Defensive Position Battles


Ryan Pickett is fighting for a starting/roster spot

May 22, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (79) waits his turn during drills at the Green Bay Packers organized team activities at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE

Offseason workouts are well under way now as teams try to figure out who will start and who will make the team. Some will be cut, some will lose starting spots, and some will become starters.

So, what position battles do the Packers have?

Defensive End

Both defensive end spots on the line are filled with competitors such as as veterans Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal, Anthony Hargrove, and rookie Jerel Worth. They are all looking to claim a starting spot. Hargrove is a candidate to be cut due to his suspension but he could also be a rested lineman for later in the season. Rookie Jerel Worthy has tons of skills that can make him a starter as he and Mike Neal are the two favorites. Ryan Pickett could be in danger of being cut if he doesn’t win a spot in the starting line. Rookie Mike Daniels can force him to be cut if he performs well over the summer and if Pickett does not win a starting spot. This will be a very interesting battle.

USC alumni Clay Matthews and Nick Perry could pair up

May 22, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) talks to fellow linebacker Nick Perry (53) during organized team activities at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-US PRESSWIRE

Outside Linebacker opposite Clay Matthews

Erik Walden and rookie Nick Perry will definitely be the two players battling for this starting spot as the Packers will have to decide who can make more of an impact as a playmaker. Walden has proven an ability to get into the offensive backfield and has shown he’s a sure tackler. The Packers must have thought this, too, as they decided to bring him back for this season thinking he could be a starter. Nick Perry was very good at sacking the opposing quarterbacks at USC. I think this will be Perry’s job to lose as Perry has a track record in college of being a dominant pass rusher. Perry should make a great partnership with Clay Matthews. The one thing that could help Walden is that Perry is moving from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 outside linebacker, but that transition should not cause any problems.

Bush will probably be the nickel cornerback

Jan 1, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush (24) during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Lions 45-41. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Nickel Cornerback

With a move to safety imminent for Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields will become the two starting cornerbacks. This means that Jarrett Bush and rookie Casey Hayward will battle to be the nickel cornerback as Bush’s experience gives him the early lead in this race. However, Hayward has some very good ball hawking skills and definitely will get a shot to beat out Bush. However, Bush seems like the favorite and will probably at least start the season as the nickel cornerback though Hayward could take his job during the season.

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Tags: Anthony Hargrove Casey Hayward Clay Matthews Erik Walden Green Bay Packers Jarrett Bush Jerel Worthy Mike Daniels Mike Neal Nick Perry Ryan Pickett

  • BubbaOne

    Woodson’s move to safety is not imminent. Matter of fact, MM said after Tuesday’s OTA he likes the young safeties.
     
    Re nickel back: you didn’t mention Davon House as a viable alternative.
     
    Ryan Pickett isn’t going anywhere. Last year when he missed 2 games due to a concussion the opponents ran at will including the Bears gaining 199 yds on the ground w/ a backup RB. Daniels and he play two different positions so why would you say Daniels could decide if Pickett gets cut.
     
    Vic So’oto should be mentioned in the conversation when talking about OLB’s Perry and Walden.