Once again this April, the Press-Gazette will provide a pre-draft breakdown of the Green Bay Packers’ roster at each position by beat writer Rob Demovsky. This will lead up to the start of Pete Dougherty’s annual position-by-position draft series on April 21.
What they have
Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Graham Harrell
The Packers have what no other NFL team can say: They have the reigning Super Bowl MVP under center. Aaron Rodgers capped a marvelous postseason with his MVP performance in leading the Packers to the Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rodgers was nearly against the Steelers to cap a postseason with nine touchdowns and only two interceptions (both of which came in the NFC championship game at Chicago). His postseason performance elevated him to elite status, if he wasn’t there already.
Matt Flynn, who finished his third pro season, played well in his only start, at New England on Dec. 19, even though he came out on the losing end. He looked like he belonged in a prime-time NFL game by throwing for 251 yards, three touchdowns and a rating of 100.2. He had a costly interception, though, against the Patriots, and one the week before in a relief appearance at Detroit, where the Packers also lost. The former seventh-round pick at worst is one of the NFL’s top backups and possibly a starter in the league soon, although it almost certainly won’t be with the Packers given that Rodgers is entrenched.
Harrell looked like just another training camp arm early last summer but then in the preseason games showed a knack for being crafty in and out of the pocket. His arm strength was better than advertised, too. After spending most of the season on the practice squad, he was elevated to the roster the week of the New England game and stayed there the rest of the season.
Rodgers’ two concussions last season are worrisome but as long as he remains healthy, the Packers don’t have anything to worry about. However, they need to be prepared in case he takes another blow to the head and is forced to miss time.
They’d love to keep Flynn around, but the reality is that he wants to be a starter and knows that won’t happen in Green Bay any time soon. He has one year left on his contract. If the Packers don’t trade him, which they probably won’t, they’ll lose him in free agency a year from now, so they need to find out if Harrell can be their next No. 2. That’s where the lockout hurts because ordinarily Harrell would be well into coach Mike McCarthy’s renowned quarterback school, which the young QB needs.
If they’re worried Harrell isn’t good enough to be Rodgers’ backup someday, then this might be the time to pick up another quarterback in the draft. That likely wouldn’t be until the later rounds, but Flynn showed that late-round quarterbacks can be developed. It’s a typical year for quarterbacks in the late rounds, where about a half-dozen will be picked from the fourth to seventh rounds.
-- Rob Demovsky, firstname.lastname@example.org