It’s way too early to know much of anything about the 2013 Packers, but I can’t help myself. It’s time for this season’s first Packers stock report.
Here is who I see rising, falling and remaining steady on the Packers after only a few practices:
Jones added 20 pounds since his pro day and it appears as if it didn’t come from drinking beer and eating cheese curds. Most reports of Jones have been glowing, and the rookie from UCLA has Packers fans drooling at the possibility of finally having a versatile 3-4 defensive lineman to take the place of Cullen Jenkins.
Mike McCarthy singled Hyde out for praise after the first practice and it sounds like the rookie from Iowa has been solid in other practices as well. With a number of cornerbacks out with injuries or illness, Hyde has gotten an opportunity to show what he can do. So far, itsounds like he’s taking advantage.
There hasn’t necessarily been a ton of ooohhhs and aaahhhs about Perry’s play so far in camp, but it sounds like the defensive end turned outside linebacker is healthy and ready to restart his career after a season-ending wrist injury knocked him out for most of his rookie campaign. If Jones is as advertised and Perry bounces back and provides pressure on the quarterback opposite of Clay Matthews, this defense could get better in a hurry.
It’s typically rookies who end up in the rising category this early in the season. Everyone is impressed with the Packers’ shiny new toys. A strong camp is now expected from a player like Cobb, who is entering his third season and is the leading candidate to become the team’s top receiver after Greg Jennings’ departure. We haven’t heard too much about Cobb thus far — a good thing because it probably means that he looks fine and there’s nothing much to report.
Didn’t it seem like yesterday when Shields was a converted receiver just learning to play cornerback? Now he’s talked about as the Packers’ most talented corner and playing for a big payday. McCarthy said Shields looks a little rusty after missing OTAs because of a contract dispute, but it sounds like he’s continuing to play more physical and improving.
Even though it appears that McMillian is the best safety in camp besides Morgan Burnett, I’m not yet ready to put him in the rising category. The Packers have Burnett and a bunch of unknowns at safety. Being second best in that group doesn’t mean much, at least not yet. It’s good to hear that McMillian looks good so far, but we’ll see how the competition plays out.
Williams was one of the best corners in football in 2010. He hasn’t been the same since a shoulder injury early in the 2011 season, and now he’ll probably miss a few weeks with a knee injury. Being a 30-year-old corner with a knee injury is a good way to land in the falling category.
Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin got all the pub among Packers running backs in the offseason, but a lot of people thought DuJuan Harris might still be the best of the bunch. Turns out he’s also going to miss a few weeks with a knee injury. Running back is a crowded position, and missing time isn’t good news for the former used car salesman’s chances of cracking the starting lineup — or making the team.
Mike McCarthy’s Health
Curly’s Pub will be offering a series of burgers created by Packers players and coaches. The first burger is the “Mac Attack” burger created by coach Mike McCarthy, which is a 1/2-pound beef patty, topped with pepperoni, pepper jack cheese, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, jalapeno, mayo, spicy mustard and French fries. I think McCarthy is one of the best coaches in the NFL and I want him to coach the Packers for a very long time. If he eats too many Mac Attack burgers, though, he might not make it through the season. Hopefully the Packers medical staff has a working defibrillator nearby at all times.