Episode 34 - Top Ten Packers

Blue 58, powered by WTMJ Mobile, goes beyond the headlines to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers.

This week on Blue 58, we catastrophize about injuries on the offensive line, take a quick look ahead to next year’s potential free agents, and try to figure out if it matters who punts for the Packers. Finally, we rank our top ten most valuable Packers on the roster. Who’s in, who’s out, and who’s properly rated? 

Here's the headlines we covered on this week's episode:

What Happens if David Bakhtiari Gets Hurt?

In the event that Bakhtiari would be injured, the Packers’ list of options is quite short. Jason Spriggs would probably get the first crack at replacing the Pro Bowl left tackle, but beyond that, things get messy.

Jon: Are you as concerned about tackle depth as I am?

Gary: No, I’m not. And our difference here is likely surrounding second-year tackle Jason Spriggs. The Packers traded up to pick Spriggs last year in the second-round, and he struggled in year one.

When you watched Spriggs line up last year, he looked like a young player. He’s got some room to grow physically, and likely struggled with the transition from Big 10 defenders to the NFL. 

However, there’s not a lot to write home about behind Spriggs. And that’s certainly a problem… but how many other teams are loaded with starting quality offensive linemen in their second and third string?

Packers 2018 Free Agents: Who's Coming Back Next Year?

The Packers will have to make more hard decisions next offseason, when starters like Davante Adams, Corey Linsley, Morgan Burnett and Lane Taylor are all scheduled to be free agents. 

Jon: If you had to pick one guy who’s due for a new deal, who would you take?

Gary: Corey Linsley, and it’s not all that close. Two reasons. First, the Packers will have three likely starters on the offensive line hit free agency next offseason: Jahri Evans, Lane Taylor and Linsley. Of those three, Linsley is the hardest to replace. That’s my second reason. The Packers have next to nothing waiting in the wings at center, and there’s no one on the roster right now that seems to be ready to take that next step.

Here’s the flip side, though. The Packers have refused to paid top dollar to the last three centers who were young and hitting free agency. Scott Wells left before the 2012 season for the Rams, Evan Smith left before the 2014 season for the Buccaneers, and JC Tretter left this offseason for the Browns.

Will they finally open up the bank for Linsley? We’ll see.

Is It Justin Vogel's Job to Lose at Punter?

For the Packers to be comfortable releasing their starting punter this early in training camp, it’s likely they feel confident in undrafted rookie free agent Justin Vogel.

Jon: Are punters just replaceable parts or is there really something noteworthy about Vogel?
Gary: Vogel’s intriguing, but it’s so hard to know how his game will translate to the NFL. He started his college career at the University of Florida, but transferred to Miami and spent three years as the team’s starting punter. 

The most noteworthy fact about Vogel, though? His dad was a tough linebacker for South Carolina in the 80’s, and his mom was a classical ballerina. Has there ever been a better genetic combination for a punter? 

Main Topic: Top Ten Packers

We've recently been ranking the Packers' roster from 90 to 1, based on the player's value to the team. 

Jon's Top 10 Packers:

  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. David Bakhtiari
  3. Mike Daniels
  4. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  5. Bryan Bulaga
  6. Morgan Burnett
  7. Martellus Bennett
  8. Jordy Nelson
  9. Davante Adams
  10. Nick Perry

Gary's Top 10 Packers:

  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
  3. Nick Perry
  4. Morgan Burnett
  5. Mike Daniels
  6. Jordy Nelson
  7. David Bakhtiari
  8. Kevin King
  9. Damarious Randall
  10. Clay Matthews

On Jon’s Top 10 but not Gary’s:

  • Martellus Bennett (13th on Gary’s list)
  • Davante Adams (18th on Gary’s list)
  • Bryan Bulaga (11th on Gary’s list)

On Gary’s Top 10 but not Jon’s:

  • Damarious Randall (21st on Jon’s list)
  • Kevin King (19th on Jon’s list)
  • Clay Matthews (16th on Jon’s list)

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