Clay Matthews' return will help solidify the Packers' defense. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay Packers players: From elite to rookie

Just what color are 24 Green Bay Packers players listed on the recently released Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranking of individual players across the league and in this case, specifically the Packers?

Color is important in this listing as PFF ranks them accordingly … starting with blue (elite) to red ( poor starter), and purple (rookie).

And without looking, you can probably guess who finished as the three elite players on the Packers roster – a roster that PFF coincidentally ranks as eighth best in the league.

Aaron Rodgers Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Aaron Rodgers
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

In all, there are 24 Packers who are rated – 12 on defense and 12 on offense.

One can argue about the pros and cons of every ranking – this one included. However, there are reasons for the rankings and they are explained clearly by PFF’s Sam Monson, the ranking’s author.

Here’s what he had to say:

The team has almost as many projected blue-chip starters (three, 12.5 percent) as it does below average (four, 16.7 percent), but it is the average players who may dictate the ceiling for this team. Seven projected starters (29.2 percent) grade out as average at this time, and whether those players outperform or underperform that designation will likely determine how good this team becomes.” 

Here is the complete list:

Blue (elite)
Aaron Rodgers 
Josh Sitton 
Clay Matthews 

Green (high quality)
Eddie Lacy 
Jordy Nelson 

Light green (good starter)

Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports photograph

John Kuhn 
Randall Cobb 
T.J. Lang 
Mike Daniels 
Sam Shields 
Casey Hayward 

Yellow (average starter)
Jarrett Boykin 
Bryan Bulaga 
Julius Peppers 
Nick Perry 
Brad Jones 
Tramon Williams 
Morgan Burnett 

Orange 
Andrew Quarless 
David Bakhtiari 
B.J. Raji 
A.J. Hawk 

Red (poor starter)
None 

Gray (not enough information)
JC Tretter 

Purple (rookie)
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 

Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com provided this breakdown based on salary information:

From a salary standpoint, the Packers are paying Peppers ($8.5 million this season), Williams ($7.5 million), Burnett ($3.25 million this season after $9.573 million last season) and Jones ($3 million) to perform better than their “yellow” designation. Likewise, the Packers surely consider Raji ($4 million) and Hawk ($3.5 million) to be better than “orange” players.

On the other hand, Lacy ($559,201) should be considered a steal as a “green” player just as Cobb ($812,648), Daniels ($570,000) and Hayward ($690,901) are relative bargains as “light green” players because they still are playing under their rookie contracts.

What do you think, Packers fans? Is the ranking accurate? What would you change?

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