The 10 Most Important Packers of 2014

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Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) breaks up the pass intended to Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12). Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

6) Sam Shields

Shields is the Packers’ top cover corner, and in this day and age, you need a cover guy to blanket the top wide receivers in the NFL.

Shields had a solid season last year and rightfully earned a contract extension in the offseason. With Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, and Cordarrelle Patterson all dangerous receiving threats in the division, Shields will have his hands full this season.

Shields’ ability to shadow the opposing team’s top receiver each and every week frees up the other Packers defensive backs to roam and make plays. Shields doesn’t usually need safety help over the top, and his coverage skills should also help the Packers’ revamped pass rush.

However, if Shields struggles, the Packers may be handcuffed on what they want to do on defense this season.