The Green Bay Packers drafted two running backs in the first four rounds of this year’s draft after many had been calling for the team to find more production in the run game. With the addition of draftees Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, some would argue that each will end up playing a key role in the 2013 Packers’ storyline.
With Packers GM Ted Thompson having once again been very quiet in free agency, the draft was seemingly the team’s biggest chance to add to their existing roster. Those draft picks, along with a few undrafted free agents, have garnered a lot of attention. Actually, they have seen nearly all of it this off season, minus a few tiny contract situations that were recently ironed out.
Lost in the shuffle of all that is new, it’s what is “old” that I am anticipating will make the biggest difference when the smoke clears and the 2013 season is in the books.
Linebacker Desmond Bishop emerged as one of the team’s top defensive players during the team’s 2010 Super Bowl season. That year, Bishop jumped from a career high of 29 tackles to 75. The increase in playing time was a factor, but it’s hard to argue that Bishop became one of the team’s most productive defenders until a torn hamstring ended his 2012 season.
Bishop suffered the injury in the team’s first preseason game and he was placed on season-ending injured reserve shortly thereafter. It’s hard to argue that the team’s production at inside linebacker wasn’t less-than-stellar without Bishop last season. He figures to be back in action this year and has said that he will be “110% ready” for training camp, which begins in late July. There are still questions about Bishop’s recovery and whether he can return to that same productive form. That remains to be seen, but Packers fans should remain hopeful. A healthy Desmond Bishop would mean more to this team, in my opinion, than any other player that the team has added.
When running on all cylinders, Bishop is a fiery one-man wrecking machine. Need a reminder? Click here.
Still need more evidence? I looked at Bishop’s best season and compared it to counterpart AJ Hawk’s. In Hawk’s best season, he accrued 83 tackles, two interceptions and 3.5 sacks in 16 games. That was his rookie season of 2006 and the the team ran a 4-3 scheme. In 2011, Bishop had 90 tackles and five sacks in 13 games played. That same season, Hawk appeared in 15 games and had 53 tackles and one and a half sacks.
Bishop, to me, stands to offer the most to this team that it did not have in 2012. If he truly can be 110% of what he was before he was hurt, the Packers could be a much improved defense in a hurry. Share your thoughts on Bishop or who you think stands to add the most to the 2013 Green Bay Packers.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: