By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on March 27, 2014
The Green Bay Packers have decided to let a couple of key free agents walk this offseason, which means the door will open for other players on the roster to succeed. Packers general manager Ted Thompson has always believed in the next man up philosophy. He wants to see lesser-known players improve and become an asset to the team. For that reason, here are five unheralded players who must step up for Green Bay in 2014.
The Packers selected Datone Jones in the first round last year. He’s not exactly an unheralded player due to his 10 tackles and 3 ½ sacks in 2013. However, he’s someone that doesn’t get a lot of publicity. Green Bay is counting on him making big strides in his second year as the defensive end position is going to be very important to the success of the team this season.
It doesn’t appear Jermichael Finley will be playing for the Packers in 2014. Even though Andrew Quarless is re-signed, Green Bay still needs to see other tight ends step up. One in particular that has caught the eye of the coaching staff is Brandon Bostick, who is regarded as the best blocking tight end on the team. Bostick has huge upside and should be a contributor on offense this year.
With James Jones gone, the Packers need to see a fourth wide receiver emerge. Myles White is expected to take on a bigger role in 2014, which means he must be ready when the opportunity presents itself. The biggest concern for White is that he doesn’t botch his chance at being productive as Jeremy Ross did last season.
Green Bay is still looking into several options to replace center Evan Dietrich-Smith, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this offseason. The obvious approach is to bring someone in from free agency. However, there have been talks that the Packers feel comfortable with J.C. Tretter starting in 2014. The fourth round draft pick in 2013 wasn’t activated until December of last year. He’s big, smart and could be exactly what the Packers need.
Nick Perry is a household name in Green Bay simply because he hasn’t lived up to the hype of being a first round draft selection. Injuries have kept him off the field, and his production has been non-existent when he’s on the gridiron. The re-signing of Mike Neal means Perry is going to have to compete for playing time. However, the Packers still believe he could turn into a special player.
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