Packers 1-90 Roster Rankings: How Valuable Are These Backups?

We recently ranked the Packers roster from 90 to 1, based on their value to the team.

After working individually to craft our rankings, Jon and Gary disagree on the value of some familiar backups, including an undrafted free agent many project to make the 53-man roster.

Now, the two debate who was right and who was wrong.

Don Barclay (Jon: 55, Gary 45)

Gary: Your ranking fascinates me, Jon. You have four lesser-known offensive linemen – Lucas Patrick, Jacob Flores, Geoff Gray and Kyle Murphy – all ahead of Don Barclay.

Jon: This is a hope-based ranking for me. I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Packers have been hoping for someone to render Don Barclay expendable for at least three seasons now and nobody has taken them up on the opportunity. He’s a limited lineman who can play all five positions at a slightly below average level, and I think each of the guys I put ahead of him are better options.

Gary: If Barclay keeps hanging around year after year, it’s got to be a sign that the Packers see something in him that us on the outside aren’t seeing. Or, to your point, they haven’t found someone they find to be as interchangeable on the line. What do you make of his prospects as the team’s backup center this year? 

Jon: If the season started today, and thankfully it doesn’t, I do think Barclay would be the top backup center. I don’t think that’s an ideal situation, as he’s not been a great player there when the Packers have used him at center previously, but right now I think that’s his real calling card.

Jeff Janis (Jon: 73, Gary 51)

Gary: I didn’t know you disliked Jeff Janis that much, Jon. Janis ranks ninth out of eleven wide receivers on your list, beating Montay Crockett and Michael Clark. (We had completed this list before Jacob Schum was replaced with another receiver, Colby Pearson.)

Jon: Well, here’s the thing: I don’t think Jeff Janis is a wide receiver. He’s only a receiver in the same way that Demetri Goodson is a cornerback. In reality, both of those guys play the same position. They’re special teams players who occasionally cameo with a different position group out of necessity.

Gary: Would it be fair to say you think Janis is the Packers’ offensive version of Jarrett Bush? Strictly a special teams player, and when he sees the field… watch out. 

Jon: Exactly! And even like Jarrett Bush, Janis has had his moments, like his heroics in Arizona in the playoffs. Never forget that Jarrett Bush had an interception in Super Bowl XLV!

Johnathan Calvin (Jon: 90, Gary: 69)

Gary: Jon, how dare you rank someone who shares your name as the least valuable Packers player?

Jon: See, I get enough people spelling my name as “John” that I have an innate dislike for anyone who makes my life even more complicated by spelling “Jonathan” as “Johnathan.” I kid you not, I had a conversation with someone today where they disagreed that my spelling of Jonathan is actually more traditional. Come on.

Gary: No one wants to talk about my name. What’s got to happen for Calvin to make the roster, or even the practice squad?

Jon: If I was going to change my rankings, I’d start with this one. I think Calvin has a fantastic chance of making the roster.

The Packers can say whatever they want about their pass rushing depth and some of it may even be true, but you can always use more big guys who can get to the quarterback. Calvin showed in college that he can rush from all over the formation; he lined up inside, as a 4-3 defensive end, and as a 3-4 outside linebacker. If that doesn’t give him a shot, I don’t know what will. I think he just has to show that versatility and strength and he’ll have a better shot than most.