While that very well may be, we should be just as excited for several players who will be headed into their sophomore year this season.
What should we expect?
Datone Jones/Defensive End
Jones had a bit of a disappointing rookie season between the injuries that slowed him and low sack totals. Jones totaled 3.5 sacks, but 2 of them came in one game. Jon Gruden loved him and the pick last year, and I am willing to give Jones the benefit of the doubt with the injuries. If Jones can stay healthy this offseason and season, I think he could have a great year on the line.
2014 predictions – 30 tackles, 7 sacks
Eddie Lacy/Running Back
Eddie freakin’ Lacy. The man was simply a machine last year, and considering the totals he put up even without a passing threat due to Aaron Rodgers‘ injury, he should be even better next year.
It is tough to go too much higher when predicting more from Lacy given a fantastic rookie season, but with Rodgers’ return, a year in the system, and the offensive line gelling even more, Lacy should be due at least a few more yards and a TD or two.
2014 predictions – 1,400 yards, 13 TDs, 350 receiving yards
David Bakhtiari/Left Tackle
Bakhtiari really surprised us last year. Bryan Bulaga went down and we did not feel like we had a prayer at any solid protection, let alone a running game. But after a couple mistakes versus some top tier pass rushers Bakhtiari settled into a groove and really showed he could play. With a full year in this, jitters should be gone and we could have the makings of the next Josh Sitton on the line.
2014 prediction – This one is tougher to predict, so let’s just say he won’t be going anywhere. Bakhtiari will get it done.
Tretter will hopefully be the answer at center. Tretter had the unfortunate situation in breaking his ankle last season and did not play. All Packers fans are hoping he takes the spot and runs with it. If center can be nailed down the Packers could have some line continuity they have not had for years.
2014 predictions – Starting center, we hope.
Johnathan Franklin/Running Back
We saw a lot of him during the Cincinnati game and then none of him. That fumble really hurt, as well as the inability to really spark anything returning kicks. The problem for Franklin is simply the Packers sudden wealth at running back. When you have the Offensive Rookie of the Year (Lacy), the surprising return of a tone setter (James Starks), and a talented player returning from injury (DuJuan Harris), you are not going to see many chances.
2014 predictions – Honestly? If the boy sees the field for extended periods we’re in trouble.
This kid excites me. Hyde helps bring cornerback depth on a team that really needs it. Hyde is now quite experienced in the nickel and from the sound of it could bring some help at safety. I am sure he wants to atone for that dropped interception in the wildcard round versus the 49ers with a few picks this year.
Hyde may never be as talented as another fifth round pick that got paid the big bucks this year (Richard Sherman), but he is a great player who could fill the Charles Woodson and nickel role, especially if this ends up being Tramon Williams‘ last season in Green and Gold.
2014 predictions – 3 interceptions, 5 passes defensed, 15 tackles
The rest …
Normally I would not lump the rest together, but the Packers drafted quite a few players last year. Of the remaining five players, four are on the roster, given receiver Charles Johnson got an opportunity on the Cleveland Browns roster.
Nate Palmer and Sam Barrington are developmental players that could be good special teams and role players this year at linebacker. Kevin Dorsey will be fighting an uphill battle recovering from an injury and battling for a roster spot versus three new wide outs.
2014 predictions – Boyd carves out a nice role, Palmer and Barrington do well solidifying special teams, and Dorsey ends up on the practice squad or more likely, cut.
How do you think these guys will play out the 2014 season?
Let us know by leaving a comment below.