2011 Packers Yearbook: Player Most Likely to Have a Breakout Season in 2012

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2011 Packers Yearbook: Green Bay Packer Player Most Likely to Have a Breakout Season in 2012:

(Be sure to place your vote in the poll below.)

Adam: Bryan Bulaga. We usually think of a skill player when talking about breakout seasons. That’s not fair to the offensive lineman. Look for Bulaga to take the next step in 2012.

Al: Matt Flynn is probably the correct answer, but there’s this little issue of him leaving the Packers. If not coming off an ACL, I might have gone for a longshot pick like Alex Green here. Randall Cobb is the obvious choice, so I’ll pass on him. Who’s left? Am I crazy enough to give such a vote of confidence to Mike Neal? Nope. Jermichael Finley? Maybe. That leaves me with but one sure option: Desmond Bishop. Yes, he was a full-time starter last season and had a good year, but we’re talking breakout here. 100+ solo tackles, 6-8 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 INTs and a Pro Bowl berth.

Chad: As much as we all like to buck the trend with our picks, I don’t think there’s anyone who has a better chance of a breakout season than Randall Cobb. He should be able to secure more snaps next year, and considering that he was one of the most efficient receivers this year, that should be a great thing. Cobb will likely improve his ball security in the return game, as well.

Kris: Randall CobbJust when you thought the Packers had enough weapons on offense.  The threesome of Jennings, Nelson and Cobb (regardless of where Driver ends up) will be lethal.  It would open things up for Finley should he be cured of his case of the dropsies.  Throw in Cobb’s potential in the return game and you will need one big washcloth to wipe up the drool from Packer Nation.

Michael: Morgan Burnett. While Burnett was a bright spot on a defense that had so few, I expect him to take even more steps forward in his young career and become a league-wide force. If Burnett has the added benefit of playing alongside Nick Collins, the duo could become one of the leagues best in an improved Packers secondary.

Thomas: Randall Cobb.  Regardless of what the Packers decide to do with Donald Driver, I’m pretty sure Randall Cobb is already ahead on the depth chart.  Cobb definitely had some beginners luck early in the season and quieted down later in the season, so my feeling was that he wasn’t quite ready to be a big contributor in the offense.  After a season of experience plus a real off-season to work with the coaches, Cobb finally gets the offense down and blows by both Driver and Jones and becomes the 3rd/slot wide receiver after Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson.

Zach: Cobb is a great pick for obvious reasons. But I’m going to go with a wildcard in tight end D.J. Williams. Andrew Quarless may not make it back in time to find a spot on the 53-man roster, and Tom Crabtree is limited as a receiver. To have an impact as the Packers’ No. 2 tight end, Williams needs to become stronger physically and more comfortable with the ins-and-out of the playbook. With a good offseason. the guy we saw open eyes in shorts and helmets last summer could re-emerge.



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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.


29 thoughts on “2011 Packers Yearbook: Player Most Likely to Have a Breakout Season in 2012

  1. Bulaga was arguably a top 5 RT last year. So we should expect HOF type play from him?

    I’m going to go with Neal on this one, I believe him being healthy from day 1 will make the difference.

  2. The words healthy and Neal in the same sentence are the worlds biggest oxymoron.

    Cobb all the way.

    1. It could’ve been said the same thing about James Starks…

      It’s been 2 years. Just because Harrell played the same position doesn’t mean he’ll have the same fate.

      1. did you just use starks as an example of someone who has overcome an injury filled history? he got hurt last season and missed a couple games didn’t he?

  3. Last year I had Nelson but went with Lang as I felt he needed the support more.
    This season,though being big on Starks from the draft and IMO would be more the likely guy,I’m going with a defensive guy who has been stored away and I felt good about in the draft as a sleeper like Starks was for me…..Lawrence Guy will emerge in camp as a force making life more miserable for Neal and hopefully helps to get him going also.
    I said it first!!!!

    1. I believe the 22 y.o. Lawrence Guy, with a full off season will push Mike Neal. Both will be getting significant snaps next year. This will allow Raji to play around 65-70% and be fresh for the Year End tournament.

      TT needs to secure another wide body to replace our current NT backup

      1. I’m pulling for Guy, but if he makes the Roster I see him being used sparingly.. He’s kind of a question mark, and it may take a while for him to get it all together.

        I really do think the Packers are going to utilize CJ Wilson more this year than in the past. He’ll be a regular rotation player, I think.

  4. I could be captain obvious and say Cobb, but I want to go for a dark horse. I’ll pick Vic So’oto as the breakout performer. I still believe that CM3s bookend OLB is on the roster and I’m willing to bet that So’oto is that guy. I would wish that the Pack make an offer to Mario Williams though, but if we want Wells and either Bush or Grant back then I think we should build our future DL through the draft with the center piece being Raji and give our LBs one more year to try out for the right OLB spot. With a full off-season under his belt and plenty of time to fully recover, So’oto should grab that open spot easily.

  5. I felt like Bulaga’s breakout year was this year… I mean how much better could he possibly do? If he plays the way he did this year for the rest of his career he’s a HOF. I really hope Mike Neal would have a break out season… that’s what we need most. I like the Morgan Burnett pick. Our pass rush issues will be addressed this off season which will take pressure off of our secondary. People will be scratching their heads wondering how we went from allowing the most passing yards in the league to being an above average secondary and I’m calling it now, it’s because we had the tools in the secondary this year but we didn’t have the stud pass rusher or 2 that we needed to allow them to be successful and Morgan Burnett will be a major contributer. He’s at the point in his career that his greeness (is that a word?) should be mostly shaken off and he’s still in peak physical shape.

    1. To clearify I understand that Mathews is a stud pass rusher, I should have said EXTRA pass rusher or two.

  6. Morgan Burnett is a gamer- he’s just young and coming off what basically amounted to his rookie year.

    He needs to learn when to be disciplined and when to break on a play; once he matures, his athleticism will take over.

    I’ve always said he’s one of only 3 safeties in the league who possesses that kind of range- the other two are Polamalu and Collins. Burnett has the wheels to make a break from the hash marks when he sees the the QB start his throwing motion, and break up the play on the far sideline. Amazing, and he’s ball hawk, too.

  7. Just for shiggles,

    watch MD Jennings have a stellar year out of nowhere.

    You guys know he’s going to be the other starting safety, right?? 😉

  8. good God.

    md jennings
    dj williams

    you guys have got to be kidding.
    every team has turds like this at the end of the roster.

    i like the burnett call but if you’re picking anyone but cobb, you’re doing so just to be different.

    1. usually turds aren’t drafted in the 2nd round. Neal’s been hurt and that’s definitely screwed him, but statistically you got to wait 3 seasons before you can call him a bust. He breaks his ankle in the preseason this year, than yah stick him with Justin Harrell.

      1. No you don’t have to give Neal 3 seasons. Just because TT refused to give up on Harrell? Add Neals college experience to his first two years of Pro experience and you have a fighter that can’t anwer the bell.

        Better have sufficient backup if they insist on keeping him. The odds say he is not an NFL player.

  9. I love this article! Randal Cobb no question about it. Morgan Burnett likely. Mike Neal maybe, Alex Green maybe.

    The Pack needs to get a lot of help this year from their previous drafts while getting 1 stud rookie out of this upcoming draft.

    1. I don’t think we need a lot more help than previous years. I think we need maybe 2 impact players on defense then maintain some depth at our other positions… not withstanding wells walking. Other than that I’d say we’re sitting pretty. The year you’re talking about is 2014, when most of our starters’ contracts expire and also I’ve heard things about the salary caps shooting up. There’ll be a reconstruction of our roster…. TT is frugal and these guys will want to cash in on the success they’ve brought the team. There are going to be some major changes and not everyone is going to be happy and not everyone will be back.

      1. Excellent pt. It’s not outlandish to think that the players mentioned could turn into good backups. We are in a semi win now mode.

      2. I meant the players from previous drafts need to step up this year… Mike Neal, Derick Sherrod, Morgan Burnett, Alex Green. If this team is goig to get better then a big part of that getting better needs to come from these young players (previous drafts).

      3. Get a Friend for Clay n the Mighty Pack will be back! TT needs to stick to his words. Fortify BOTH lines… A FA pick-up would be great. Proven D-Line help would aid the Draft.

        Breakout player – If they get that D-Line help, Tramon Williams!

  10. Breakout season – With Finley opening up the middle, Jennings drawing safety help deep and Nelson pulling the nickle Randall Cobb will draw a dime corner every game and have nothing but space to navigate. Yes it’s obvious, but he’s going to put up some crazy yards per target next year.

    Most improved – As in cutting pressures, hits and sacks by 60% or more, I’ll take Newhouse. He has all the athletic ability in the world and will only get stronger. Great kick slide, doesn’t repeat mistakes, great length and cerebral. He will increase his productivity in a comparable manner to Bulaga from year one to year two. He was thrown into the fray last year and competed. I love what he has physically to man the position. Just want to see a change in his temperament.

    ‘Break out’ – Cobb and the raw numbers due to matchups the kid will get.

    ‘Biggest leap’ – Newhouse, hands down.

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