Are you ready for it? Can you even contain your excitement for what’s to come? Embrace yourselves, this is it. It’s here.

The 2016 Green Bay Packers are putting an end to their extensive, exceedingly-long draught of five years without a Super Bowl win and taking back what is rightfully theirs – the Lombardi Trophy.

It’s happening this season and it’s happening with this roster.

Gone are the days of a portly Eddie Lacy filling his time with personal eating competitions. Gone are the days a middle linebacker incapable of covering a mattress with bed sheets. Say goodbye to the leisurely tight end on a sunset stroll over the middle of the field.

Rather, welcome a revamped roster that brings home the fifth Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Welcome back the number one scoring offense in the NFL. Say hello to Clay Matthews back on the outside and making a run at defensive player of the year. How sweet does that sound?

In order for that to become a reality, Ted Thompson must do the unthinkable; He must spend money in free agency. Green Bay needs players that are ready to play and make an impact from the get-go. With more than $20 million in cap space and a team seemingly one or two players away from the ultimate goal year after year, the time to strike is now.

Below, I will prescribe the cure for recent ailments experienced in Titletown, finding solutions in both free agency and the draft. Without further adieu here is your Super Bowl LI Champion depth chart, as formulated by yours truly:



  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. Brett Hundley
  • Goodbye: Scott Tolzien – As an unrestricted free agent and at a crucial point in his career, Tolzien’s best bet of any playing time in the NFL is best suited on a different roster. However, his legendary spin move against the Vikings will live on in Packers lore.
  • Hello: Brett Hundley – The second-year quarterback firmly occupies the backup spot and may even see the field on a few occasions with the offense back to their old blowout ways.
  • What’s Missing:  A third QB – Ever since Rodgers went down with his collarbone injury in 2013, Green Bay has been cognizant of keeping three quarterbacks on the roster. If that mindset doesn’t change, a third arm will be needed on the roster.

Running Backs

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Kenneth Dixon, via draft
  3. John Crockett
  • Goodbye: James Starks – Always serviceable, always unselfish. A huge part of the 2011 Super Bowl run, Starks has reached his Packers ceiling and Thompson will not re-sign him at the age of 30. Another team, however, will find great value in him.
  • Hello: Kenneth Dixon – The pass-catching back is an ideal fit as a replacement for Starks and gives Rodgers a young, reliable weapon out of the backfield. Shifty, powerful, strong hands. His versatility is huge and opens up the offense even more.
  • What’s Missing: Backup experience – Relying on Crockett and Dixon puts trust in running backs little to no experience in an NFL game. Crockett carried the rock a total of nine times for 21 yards last season, showing glimpses of a productive back, but neither guy is certain. Protecting the football will be key for these two to stay on the field.


  1. John Kuhn
  2. Aaron Ripkowski
  • Goodbye: Kuhn’s playing time – Re-signing Kuhn or letting him walk will be a tough issue for Thompson to deal with. His value as a leader and blocker has made Kuhn such an integral part of the team. Kuhn gets another one-year deal for his servitude and takes on the active role of Ripkowski’s official overseer, conceding much of his playing time to the second-year back.
  • Hello: Ripkowski’s playing time – Green Bay knew what they were doing when they drafted Ripkowski. With a whole year under his belt and Kuhn nearing the end, Ripkowski should see the field with plenty of confidence and a lot of excitement from coaches and fans.
  • What’s Missing: A Stadium-wide cheer for Ripkowski – KUUUUUUHHNNNN!! will forever resonate across stadiums as long as the Shippensburg alum takes the field. The next step is finding what works when Ripkowski takes a one-yard dive for a touchdown or lays out JJ Watt on a chip block.

Wide Receivers

  1. Jordy Nelson
  2. Randall Cobb
  3. Davante Adams
  4. Ty Montgomery
  5. Jeff Janis
  • Hello: Jordy Nelson – Possibly the most impactful injury of the entire 2015 season occurred before the season ever began. Nelson is back and, it appears, better than ever. Thompson stated he’s been “a workout and rehab freak”, only adding to the excitement at the thought of Rodgers getting his #1 target back.
  • Goodbye: James Jones & Jared Abbrederis – There are just too many players at this position to keep everyone. Jones will draw the short straw due to age and speed, but he had an exceptional season considering he wasn’t even on a roster a week before the season started. Abbrederis could very well make this roster with a good camp, but with his health and limited playing time against the rest it is hard to see him making it over Janis and Adams – as much as everyone wants to give up on Adams, it would take a bad camp for him not to stay.
  • What’s Missing: Trust in Adams – Whether it is from the fans or McCarthy himself, there was a lot of disappointment in Adams’ production last year where he ranked as the 109th wide receiver by ProFootballFocus. His fall in the ranks returns as the #3 option behind Nelson and Cobb, a place he held in his extremely promising rookie season. Expect big things from Ty Montgomery this year, as well.

Tight Ends

  1. Ladarius Green, via free agency
  2. Richard Rodgers
  3. Justin Perillo
  • Hello: Ladarius Green – Thompson must address the tight end position and Green is the best option for what the Packers need. Green’s production dwindled at the end of the season along with the rest of the Chargers offense, but his build (6-6, 237) is ideal and he can stretch the middle of the field better than Richard Rodgers. He filled in for the starting role when Antonio Gates was suspended and posted 14 catches, 174 yards, and two touchdowns in four games.
  • Goodbye: Andrew Quarless – Quarless will never become the go-to guy and his time has passed. He spent all of last season on IR/designated to return and his off-the-field incidents are not worth keeping around.
  • What’s Missing: Reliable blocking – Ladarius Green and Richard Rodgers both ranked in the bottom half of pass and run blocking last season, according to PFF. Fortunately, the NFL is trending towards tight ends becoming another receiver with the ability to block as an added bonus.

Left Tackles

  1. David Bakhtiari
  2. Joe Haeg, via draft
  • Hello: Joe Haeg – Thompson has had great success in the middle rounds discovering offensive line talent and this year could produce the same results. Haeg is an athletic tackle that could fall to the Pack in the fourth or fifth round in a draft with a lot of depth at the position.
  • Goodbye: Don Barclay – Barclay ranked as the 2nd-lowest tackle by PFF so literally anyone else will be an upgrade. He got eaten alive in the week 16 game against Arizona and Thompson won’t put money into that lack of production.
  • What’s Missing: Recognition for Bakhtiari – Bakhtiari was the 12th ranked pass blocker in the league and everyone saw the dangers of the line without him. Barclay’s play was cringe-worthy and forcing Sitton over to left tackle took away any cohesion in the line. Bakhtiari will take another big step this year in production.

Left Guards

  1. Josh Sitton
  2. Lane Taylor
  3. Matt Rotherham
  • Hello: Matt Rotherham – An undrafted rookie on the practice squad last year, Rotherham should start making a name for himself behind All-Pro Josh Sitton and backup Lane Taylor. Rotherham even received a raise in December last season, showing the organization has sees value in his game.
  • Goodbye: No one – Lane Taylor is a restricted free agent this season and the Packers will keep him for relatively cheap, maintaining depth and consistency on the line.
  • What’s Missing: Locking up Sitton – Sitton has been the best and most consistent piece of the offensive line, earning 2nd Team All-Pro honors three straight years. His contract expires after 2016 so don’t be surprised if Thompson makes him a priority and they get a deal done early in the year, as they did with Mike Daniels.


  1. Corey Linsley
  2. JC Tretter
  • Hello: Another solid year from Linsley – With two years as a starter under his belt, Linsley will be even better in his third year and will move into the discussion as a top center in the NFL.
  • Goodbye: No one – JC Tretter is a versatile backup that can play all positions on the line.
  • What’s Missing: Health – The entire offensive line was injured last season. Keeping Linsley on the field and healthy is imperative for a strong showing by the offensive line.

Right Guards

  1. TJ Lang
  2. Josh Walker
  • Hello: A healthy TJ Lang – Lang was a warrior last season, battling through a shoulder injury in the final weeks including the playoffs. Off-season surgery on the injured shoulder should mend in time to form one of the better guard duos, paired with Sitton, in the league.
  • Goodbye: No one – Consistency is key.
  • What’s Missing: Decision on re-signing Lang – Next off-season is already unfolding into a captivating one. TJ Lang joins Bakhtiari and Sitton as unrestricted free agents following the 2016 season. Thompson will need to decide who he values the most along the line, as each will be looking for increased pay.

Right Tackles

  1. Bryan Bulaga
  2. JC Tretter/Joe Haeg
  • Hello: Consistency – For the third straight year, the Packers will tout the same starting offensive line in front of Rodgers. Cohesion is as important as any other aspect in a strong offensive line.
  • Goodbye: No one – Bulaga retains the starting spot with Tretter’s flexibility on the line making him a capable backup.
  • What’s Missing: Better production from Bulaga – It was a smaller sample size, but Tretter actually ranked seven points higher than Bulaga by PFF.


Defensive Tackles

  1. Mike Daniels
  2. Letroy Guion
  3. BJ Raji
  4. Mike Pennel
  5. Javon Hargrave, via draft
  • Hello: Javon Hargrave & BJ Raji – Again, the talent on the defensive line in this draft runs deep and Thompson can snag a solid big man in the middle of the draft. Hargrave will help with depth and can develop behind a solid foundation of veterans. There is still uncertainty regarding Raji re-signing but considering Pennel’s four game suspension and the stage of Raji’s career, he is best-suited to say with the Pack as a veteran leader in a more limited role.
  • Goodbye: Mike Pennel’s first four games – The NFL suspended Pennel for four games for violating the league’s substane abuse policy. Not a great start to the offseason, again, for the Packers defensive front. Pennel is on track for an increased role but this suspension sets him and the rest of the defense back after appearing in all 16 games last season. Pennel’s sack against Carson Palmer is still one of my favorite plays of the season.
  • What’s Missing: Mike Daniels All-Pro honors – That might be a stretch, but there were very few defensive linemen who played as well as Daniels did. He rightfully earned a four-year, $42 million extension during the season and that will look like a bargain if he improves at the rate he has been playing. Daniels will be head-hunting all season and I, personally, cannot wait to watch the bounty.

Defensive Ends

  1. Datone Jones
  2. Emmanuel Ogbah, via draft
  • Hello: Emmanuel Ogbah – The defensive line touts great depth and value across the board in this draft. There are a lot of ways the first round can play out, but I expect Thompson to either trade out of the first round for picks or grab the best defensive lineman available at the time. Ogbah is a great fit up front and you can never have enough sturdy big men.
  • Goodbye: Letroy Guion – Yes, I’m aware he’s still on the team. He was slotted as a defensive end last season upon Raji’s return and I expect him to be moved back to the middle where he was more productive. Still expect Guion to take snaps at defensive end as he will be used across the line.
  • What’s Missing: Experience – Datone Jones has shown flashes of production along the line, but there are still questions regarding his reliability as a starter. Ogbah is recognized as being NFL-ready, but that’s no certainty. The versatility of Guion will assist at the position, especially if Jones bounces between outside linebacker and defensive end.

Outside Linebackers

  1. Clay Matthews
  2. Julius Peppers
  3. Nick Perry
  4. Jayrone Elliott
  5. Datone Jones
  • Hello: Clay Matthews & Nick Perry – McCarthy made it clear his goal is to move Clay Matthews back to his natural position at outside linebacker. The unselfishness of Matthews to take over inside and forfeit his freakish pass-rushing ability was a major reason the defense held up as well as it did the last year and a half. But it’s time to let the caged animal loose. Matthews and Daniels attacking the quarterback almost every play? Yes, please. If the price is right, Nick Perry will be back on the team. The feeling is he will test the market and Thompson will react accordingly. With a large group of free agent backers, Thompson might find Perry worth the price.
  • Goodbye: Mike Neal – Thompson will choose between Neal and Perry. Perry’s 3.5 sacks in the postseason left a positive image of his play and is the better overall player.
  • What’s Missing: Rookies developing – Elliott, Jones, and Perry are all relatively young and still growing, but none appear to be a sure-thing after Peppers leaves. Thompson drafting an outside linebacker to fill in that gap wouldn’t surprise me, but this year’s team is capable enough with the names listed above.

Inside Linebackers

  1. Jerrell Freeman, via free agency
  2. Sam Barrington
  3. Jake Ryan
  4. Joe Thomas
  • Hello: Jerrell Freeman – This is the free agent signing the Packers need to make a move on. If it’s not Freeman, it needs to be Danny Trevathan. Both are good in pass coverage, something that has been an issue for Packers inside linebackers in recent years, and both are ready to play on day one. Sam Barrington is coming off a season-ending foot injury and Jake Ryan is still developing, although he showed improvement week to week.
  • Goodbye: Clay Matthews – Go back to abusing left tackles
  • What’s Missing: Reggie Ragland – If he falls to the 27th pick, Packers need to snag him. I just don’t see that happening and it’s a rarity that Thompson trades up in the draft. If Thompson doesn’t make a move on inside linebackers in free agency, expect an early round draft pick on someone like Ragland or potentially Scooby Wright.


  1. Sam Shields
  2. Damarious Randall
  3. Micah Hyde
  4. Quintin Rollins
  5. LaDarius Gunter
  • Hello: LaDarius Gunter – The second-year corner was on the roster last year, but he played in only 8 games and recorded a total of two tackles. Gunter played his way onto the team as an undrafted rookie from Miami, paralleling fellow corner and Miami alum Sam Shields. With the magic cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt works with players, Gunter should take a big step forward in 2016.
  • Goodbye: Casey Hayward – Hayward will get a hefty contract elsewhere that exceeds Thompson’s willingness to pay, especially considering the young talent on the roster.
  • What’s Missing: Experience – This is truly a solid group of corners with a lot of potential. All are ballhawks that can play man-to-man, but quality time on the field is really the only thing lacking. Rollins and Gunter will see increased playing time with Hayward gone and the inexperience will show. Randall saw the field plenty last year, yet still has a lot of room to grow.

Free Safeties

  1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  2. Micah Hyde
  • Hello: Hit Stick Clinton-Dix – Clinton-Dix took that next step in his second year, a step McCarthy looks for in every player during their sophomore campaign. He ranked as the seventh-best safety against the run and I’m just waiting on that neck-snapping hit he lays while plugging holes at the line of scrimmage.
  • Goodbye: Safety concerns – Ha Ha solidified himself as a long-term answer to a safety problem that plagued Green Bay’s defense in years past. Along with Morgan Burnett, they were one of two safety tandems to both rank in PFF top 8 overall safety grades.
  • What’s Missing: Forced fumbles – Charles Woodson was a master at clubbing the ball loose and I hope Ha Ha can find the same success some time soon. Green Bay ranked 29th in fumble takeaways last season so it’s a team issue, but Ha Ha has only forced one fumble in his two years as a starter.

Strong Safeties

  1. Morgan Burnett
  2. Chris Banjo
  • Hello: Chris Banjo – Based on special teams alone, Banjo will get re-signed. He was named a special teams captain in the playoffs and is turning into the new era Jarrett Bush.
  • Goodbye: Sean Richardson – Richardson underwent a second cervical fusion surgery and may not ever see the field again. He is a talented player that Capers was hoping to use, unfortunately the risk may be too great.
  • What’s Missing: Burnett starting every game – It was 2012 the last time Morgan Burnett started all 16 games. He is one of the most valuable players on the defense so it’s imperative he can stay health and on the field.

Special Teams

Long Snappers

  1. Brett Goode
  2. Rick Lovato
  • Goode, unfortunately, tore his ACL towards the end of the season. Lovato stepped in as a replacement and will likely remain on the roster as Goode heals. Goode is an unrestricted free agent but should re-sign given his closeness to Aaron Rodgers and consistent play.


  1. Mason Crosby
  • Crosby was signed to a new four-year deal on Tuesday. He hit on 24/28 field goals and made all 36 extra point attempts.


  1. Tim Masthay
  • After a string of successful seasons for Masthay, he had an extremely disappointing last season – comparable to Crosby’s 2012 season where he missed 12 field goals. Another year under Ron Zook and a fresh start to the season should get him back on track.

Kick Returners

  1. Ty Montgomery
  2. Jeff Janis
  • Two explosive returners with good vision. Montgomery only had seven returns last season but averaged 31.7 yards on those chances. Meanwhile, Janis averaged 29 yards/return on 14 chances. A return touchdown is coming in 2016.

Punt Returners

  1. Micah Hyde
  2. Jeff Janis
  • Micah Hyde’s production as a punt returner took a steep drop from his 2014 season, but I see him returning to form in 2016.

There you have it. Your 2016 Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Thompson has plenty of talent to work with in the draft and he finally pushes his way into the free agent market, tending to the two biggest needs on the roster – inside linebacker and tight end. With Thompson’s contract expiring in 2018 and expectations of him retiring, I should probably start my application for the position soon.