As is the case for nearly ever Super Bowl champion, the Green Bay Packers assembled a deep and talented roster for their 2010-2011 championship season.
15 players—many important contributors—landed on season-ending injured reserve, and Green Bay had to call on the bottom of GM Ted Thompson’s emergency board for players to even field a full roster.
In the first of three articles ranking the Packers’ roster, you’ll find many of those players that no one expected to contribute.
Don’t let the rankings fool you, however. During the Packers’ Super Bowl season, every player on this roster was important to achieving the final goal.
Here are players 67 through 30. (Note: Players who ended on the practice squad are not included, but those who ended on the injured reserve are.) This will be followed up by players 29-11 and then finally, the top 10 players on the Packers roster.
67. CB Josh Bell: Landed on the injured reserve in mid-August with a knee injury and probably won’t be back next season. He might forever be known as the guy who gave up the game-winner to Mike Wallace and the Steelers in 2009.
66. CB Josh Gordy: Activated from the practice squad for the final nine games of the season but never saw the field. The Packers like Gordy however, and he’ll get another look as a project player and is probable to make the practice squad.
65. LB Diryal Briggs: Brought in towards the end of October and contributed a handful of special teams tackles. Briggs is only 25, but chances are he gets flushed out by the return of several IR linebackers this summer.
64. G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith: Was brought back after being cut in training camp on Dec. 31 and served as Scott Wells’ backup for the final stretch. While he never saw the field, he’ll get a chance in camp to win a spot.
63. CB Brandon Underwood: The Packers have high hopes for him but he’s yet to realize any potential. That, along with his recent legal troubles, will make Underwood fight for a spot on this team moving forward.
62. LB Matt Wilhelm: Was added along with Briggs at the end of October as a true street free agent. Wilhelm was also guilty of the facemask that all but gave the Falcons a Week 13 win, and won’t be back next season.
61. DE Jarius Wynn: Was a final roster cut but got a second chance after Justin Harrell went down. Wynn registered 1.5 sacks in limited action and should get a good opportunity to make the team next season.
60. QB Graham Harrell: Once a prolific college player, Harrell is now coach Mike McCarthy’s newest project quarterback. He still needs time, but he could develop into the backup if Matt Flynn leaves after 2011 or is traded.
59. G/C Nick McDonald: Made the team as a rookie free agent and the Packers like his potential as either guard or center. McDonald wasn’t active for a single game but could be in the running to take Daryn Colledge’s spot at left guard if he leaves.
58. LB Robert Francois: Played some with the defense but was mostly a special teamer. His penalty against Miami for lining up over the center was a big play in the game, but Francois might get another look in camp.
57. TE Spencer Havner: Cut before the season, the Packers brought back the fan favorite in November. Havner promptly got re-injured—considerably hurting his chances to be back next year.
56. LS Brett Goode: A trusted member of the special teams unit and didn’t make a glaring mistake all season. The Packers rewarded Goode with a contract extension towards the end of the year.
55. WR Brett Swain: Won the No. 5 receiver spot during camp and caught six passes while contributing on special teams. Some are high on Swain and some are low, but he’ll have to fight his way onto the roster again in camp.
54. CB Pat Lee: Played the most important snaps of his career in the Super Bowl after injuries ravaged the Packers secondary. Lee has been a bust second-rounder thus far but will still have the opportunity to make the team as a dime back.
53. RB Dmitri Nance: Acquired from the Falcons practice squad after Ryan Grant’s injury and fits the Packers running scheme. Nance will need an impressive summer and camp to win a roster spot, however.
52. S Anthony Smith: Re-acquired from Jacksonville in an unsuspected October trade. Smith played on special teams but didn’t contribute much and most likely won’t be back.
51. DE Justin Harrell: Many quiver at the sound of his name, but Harrell’s story is a sad one. With all the injuries he’s suffered in his career, the talent that led the Packers to pick him in the first round has never had the chance to show.
50. TE Tom Crabtree: Surprisingly survived the final roster cuts but showed why by bringing blocking and toughness to the Packers tight ends. Crabtree might never be an impact receiver, but his blocking gives him value.
49. DE C.J. Wilson: A surprise contributor as a seventh-round rookie on the defensive line. Wilson kept getting better and stronger throughout the year and has a high chance of staying on the roster.
48. TE Donald Lee: With all the talent and youth among the Packers tight ends, it was clear Lee was on his last stretch in Green Bay. Caught a couple touchdowns but was released after the season.
47. G Jason Spitz: Once a two-year starter on the offensive line, he’s regressed to the point where the Packers are unlikely to bring him back. Spitz still has some versatility, but also struggled when pressed into duty during the season.
46. S Atari Bigby: Injuries cost him his starting spot and the coaching staff’s confidence in him wavered this year. Still an aggressive tackler, chances are Bigby will head for greener pastures this offseason.
45. G/T Marshall Newhouse: The fifth round pick in 2010 didn’t see the field at all his rookie season, but the coaching staff has high hopes for his future. Newhouse could be the long-term answer at either right tackle or guard depending on his progression.
44. FB Quinn Johnson: Part of the Packers trio of fullbacks, Johnson is the best pure blocker of the bunch. Needs to become more assignment-sure, but has the most potential of the three.
43. LB Brady Poppinga: Has never been a game-changing athlete in 53 career appearances and his recent injury woes will hurt him. With some of the new youth in the linebacking core, Poppinga might be hard-pressed to make the team.
42. FB Korey Hall: The most experienced fullback on the Packers roster and also one of the core special teamers. Despite everything Hall gives Green Bay, he’s a free agent this summer and might not be around any longer.
41. LB Brad Jones: Played so well in ‘09 that the Packers did very little to address the outside linebacker position in the offseason. Jones was injured after an ineffective start to the 2010 season, but should factor into the linebackers next year.
40. DE Howard Green: He was acquired midseason and played a bigger role in the Packers defense than everyone expected. Primarily a block-eater, Green’s rush of Ben Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl gave Nick Collins an easy pick-six.
39. TE Andrew Quarless: While not the athlete Jermichael Finley is, he brings a lot of the same things to the table. With another year to mature, Quarless could develop into one of the better No. 2 tight end options in the league.
38. K Mason Crosby: He’s consistent, but in a frustrating way. Crosby has never had a kicking accuracy over 80 percent, but chances are he’ll be back next year.
37. LB Frank Zombo: He was never expected to contribute in his rookie year, but played well (five sacks) when given the opportunity. Zombo’s injury opened the door for Erik Walden, but he’ll be back to fight for playing time next year.
36. CB/S Jarrett Bush: Always an easy target for fans, Bush finally emerged as an important part of the Packers this season. As arguably the most vital special teams player, he’s almost certain a roster spot next year.
35. LB Erik Walden: Had one of the performances of the year in Week 17 versus the Bears with three sacks and 12 tackles. If the Packers don’t add an outside linebacker in the draft, Walden might have the first crack at being the starter.
34. OL T.J. Lang: Can play nearly any position on the offensive line and served as the primary backup for several of them this season. He still needs to get better, but Lang could be the starting left guard next year.
33. P Tim Masthay: It took plenty of failed experiments, but it seems as if the Packers have finally found a reliable punter. Masthay is far from Craig Hentrich at this point, but he gives the team some stability.
32. S Charlie Peprah: He was castoff in 2009 but the Packers brought Peprah back before this season. It was a good thing they did too—he was a steady starter filling in for injuries at safety.
31. T Mark Tauscher: The Packers brought him back to be the right tackle, but injuries once again caught up with Tauscher. After a nightmare beginning to the season, he was placed on IR and is probably done in Green Bay.
30. LB Brandon Chillar: An athletic and versatile linebacker, Chillar also saw his season end due to injury after just eight games. He needs to recover in time for camp and prove he’s worth his $2 million contract to be back.——————
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2