Last season it was Mike Daniels. The season before it was Randall Cobb. If the Packers are going to contend for a Super Bowl in 2014, at least one player will have to make the leap from potential to breakout star.
Here are the top contenders:
WR Jarrett Boykin
Boykin is probably at the top of most people’s most likely to break out lists. He was successful last season and he has Aaron Rodgers throwing him the ball. Teams will be ready for him in 2014, though. If he’s going to make the leap, he’ll have to do a better job of getting separation.
DL Datone Jones
Unlike Boykin, Jones is probably near the bottom of most people’s lists. Fans soured on Jones late last season and, apparently, so did the coaching staff as fellow rookie Josh Boyd got more snaps down the stretch. I still have high hopes for Jones and I think he can fulfill those hopes. You need to be patient with young defensive linemen. They rarely break out in their rookie seasons. Let’s see what year two brings for Jones.
CB Davon House
We’ve been waiting for House to take the next step for a while now, haven’t we? If he doesn’t take it in 2014, he probably never will. House’s size appears to make him an ideal fit in Green Bay’s defense, but whenever he strings together some good plays, he follows it up with a couple of stinkers and winds up on the bench. With Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward on the roster, House doesn’t have much room for error.
LT David Bakhtiari
We all groaned when Bryan Bulaga went down and the rookie Bakhtiari ended up starting at left tackle. By the end of the season, those groans turned into “Huh. That kid can play.” Yes, it was a good debut for the kid whose last name I hate spelling, but his ceiling is higher than just a feel-good, surprising rookie playing well in a tough spot. The Packers offense can be a whole lot better if Bakhtiari transforms from promising rookie to left-tackle anchor.
TE Brandon Bostick
Based on what little I’ve seen of him, Bostick seems to do everything well except catch the ball. He especially seems to struggle with drops in traffic. If he develops his hands, especially in tight spaces, I like what he can do in the passing game.
LB Jamari Lattimore
Remember when Lattimore had a few good games in place of Brad Jones and we all pegged Lattimore as the next breakout guy? He faded down the stretch, and now we’ve kind of forgotten about him again. I have no inside info (or “sources,” as the big shots on Twitter would say), but I don’t think Lattimore was healthy late last season. It’s going to be another long year on defense if A.J. Hawk and Jones once again get most of the snaps at inside linebacker. Lattimore will get a chance to show what he can do and we’ll probably find out for sure if he’s the real deal or not.
DL Jerel Worthy
Wouldn’t it be nice if Worthy bounced back from his ACL injury and broke out? My expectations are low on Worthy for multiple reasons: 1) He wasn’t that great as a rookie, 2) he’s coming off a serious injury and 3) Ted Thompson hasn’t exactly been hitting the ball out of the park with his defensive line draft choices lately.
DB Micah Hyde
If Hyde hangs onto that late interception against the 49ers, Hyde’s star would be shining much brighter than it already is after a solid debut season. Even though he couldn’t come up with that big pick, he still could be a difference-maker on defense, either at safety or as a slot corner. Hopefully he avoids the second-year injury bug that struck down Casey Hayward.
Packers news, notes and links
- Why haven’t the Packers re-signed Matt Flynn yet? Are we really going to play the backup quarterback game again? I hate when the backup quarterback becomes an actual issue. Fans overreact to the issue and the whole ordeal gets annoying. Sign Flynn and get it over with.
- Stop whatever it is you’re doing and listen to this No Huddle Radio podcast with Dan Shonka from Ourlads NFL scouting service. You’ll be up to speed on NFL draft prospects in no time.
- The Packers exhibition schedule includes games against James Jones, Charles Woodson and the Raiders, John Dorsey and the Chiefs, as well as the Titans and Rams. Yawn…
- John Rehor gets the debate flowing once again this week with a post about the Packers passing game. What if Randall Cobb gets hurt again? What if Jordy Nelson also goes down? What’s up at tight end? Depth could be an issue in the Packers passing game for sure, but we’ll see what the depth situation looks like after the draft.
- This is one of the most boring stretches of the offseason in recent Packers history. I suppose that’s a good thing. It means players are staying out of prison and there aren’t any soap-opera like situations like we’ve experienced recently with Brett Favre and Greg Jennings. Kind of makes blogging about the team a challenge, though. Thanks for sticking around and reading ALLGBP.com during these slower times.
Non-Packers links and other nonsense
- RIP Ultimate Warrior. Here’s hoping you’re shaking the ropes in the big ring in the sky.
- I quit drinking soda pop in high school and I’ve never regretted it. This piece about the history of soda in the United States is fascinating and re-affirms that I made a good choice. That said, if you want to drink soda, drink soda. Making laws to discourage people from consuming soda is silly.
- You can make fertilizer out of wind energy? Yup, you can make fertilizer out of wind energy.
- Yes, we are all stupider because of politics.
Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .