General manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy were in good spirits Saturday following the NFL draft, and why not, considering the Green Bay Packers upgraded their roster with an infusion of new talent.
But not everyone was happy. The addition of 11 draft picks means several players will be out of work in the months ahead.
Every draft produces winners and losers on the Packersí roster. Hereís a look at the players who should be smiling and the ones who might have to find a new line of work.
• Aaron Rodgers: His good fortune is seemingly never-ending. First, Rodgers signed a five-year, $110 million contract extension Friday. Then, the Packers threw in a bonus package by drafting two potentially top-flight running backs, two offensive tackles and a pair of wide receivers. For Rodgers, this is an embarrassment of riches and should give him the tools he needs to make the offense shine this fall.
• Returning safeties: This draft had no shortage of talented safeties, yet the Packers didnít take one. Thatís a ringing endorsement for Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings, who along with Morgan Burnett form a young and developing trio of talented defensive backs. The Packers very easily could sign a veteran down the road, but for now, the future looks bright if youíre a Packers safety.
• Terrell Manning: Thompson traded up in 2012 to select Manning in the fifth round, but he has been a forgotten man due to physical ailments as a rookie. But with the release of veteran D.J. Smith over the weekend, and rumors flying that the Packers are looking to trade Desmond Bishop, the door appears wide open for Manning to grab a prominent role.
• B.J. Coleman: The third-string quarterback lived in the shadows as a seventh-round rookie last year but has some potential. The Packers didnít draft a quarterback, which is an indication they like Colemanís upside. Although the Packers landed an undrafted free agent quarterback late Saturday, second-string quarterback Graham Harrell can breathe a little easier knowing the Packers didnít feel compelled to draft another signal caller.
• Evan Dietrich-Smith: The Packers didnít draft a center, which means they seem content to hand the starting job to EDS on a permanent basis.
• Veteran running backs: Drafting Eddie Lacy in the second round and Johnathan Franklin in the fourth was a major statement by the Packers about the teamís weak running game. Lacy and Franklin are expected to become key contributors in a revitalized rushing attack. Before the draft, DuJuan Harris was being trumpeted as a potential starter. Now the best he can hope for is a bit backup part. Meanwhile, James Starks and Alex Green likely will be battling for one final roster spot, assuming the Packers keep four halfbacks. This draft also killed any hope Cedric Benson had of re-signing.
• Marshall Newhouse: He started at left tackle last season but now is a marked man. It was ominous enough that McCarthy said earlier this year he needed better production out of the left side of his offensive line. Then, the Packers drafted a pair of tackles ó David Bakhtiari and J.C. Tretter ó in the fourth round, and McCarthy on Saturday didnít shoot down the notion that Bryan Bulaga could move from right to left tackle. None of this bodes well for Newhouseís future.
• Backup offensive linemen: There are only so many roster spots available, most likely eight or nine. Considering their draft status, Bakhtiari and Tretter seem like good bets to make the final roster. That turns up the heat on Derek Sherrod to shed his injury woes and Don Barclay to make a big jump from his rookie season. It also leaves Greg Van Roten and Andrew Datko on thin ice.
• Defensive linemen: First-round draft pick Datone Jones provides the defense with a much-needed boost. But his presence will come at someoneís expense. The big bodies on the line must do more than take up space. So Mike Neal, Mike Daniels, C.J. Wilson and Jerel Worthy must step up their games to ensure their job security.
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