The Best 25 Packers Under 25
The Packers always have one of the youngest rosters in the league. Year after year, Ted Thompson relies on youthful contributions to bridge the gap between older stars, and by and large it’s worked.
Today, 54 players on the Packers’ 90-man roster are under the age of 25. As a 25-year-old myself, I have officially reached the threshold where the majority of the Packers roster is now younger than I am.
It’s a horrible feeling.
I’ve assessed the 54 men who are younger than I am, and have separated the top 25 into five tiers. These football players can’t run for elected office yet, but they can help Green Bay win a Super Bowl.
Len Lesser Tier
Character actor Len Lesser was known for a small role in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ and his turn on Seinfeld as Uncle Leo. You may not recognize these names, but they’re there. Much like Lesser’s 187 actor credits from IMDb.
25. Josh James, 23 years old. James comes to Green Bay from a small school in Montana, Carroll College. There, he was a two-time NAIA All-American offensive tackle.
24. Carl Bradford, 23 years old. Bradford’s measurables were almost identical to another pass rusher in 2014 – Missouri’s Michael Sam. Bradford has changed positions from outside linebacker to inside linebacker. After two developmental years, this season appears to be his last chance to make the roster.
23. Geronimo Allison, 22 years old. The Illinois product has made an impression on the coaching staff so far in training camp. Allison will have to leapfrog both Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis to make the Packers’ 53-man roster.
22. Mitchell Henry, 23 years old. Cut by Green Bay last year on the final day of the preseason, Henry spent time with Denver before re-joining the Packers this offseason. He’s primed to make another run for the 53-man roster again this year.
It’s a Friday afternoon and you’re stopping for gas on your way home from work. As you approach the counter to pay for your fuel and a Slim Jim, you decide to throw a buck or two at a scratch-off ticket. You won’t get rich, but if everything goes right you’ll have a few extra dollars in your pocket.
21. Matt Rotheram, 24 years old. He went undrafted last year and spent the season on Green Bay’s practice squad. Entering his second training camp, Rotheram spent his college years at Pittsburgh going up against Rams stud defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
20. Kennard Backman, 23 years old. Backman made the 53-man roster in Green Bay presumably because of his status as a draft pick. He joins Brandon Bostick and Colt Lyerla in a long line of raw tight end prospects the Packers have tried to mold.
19. Dean Lowry, 22 years old. We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink so far about Lowry’s athleticism and upbringing. Without any game tape against NFL competition, our guess on his production is only speculative. My hopes are high for the Northwestern graduate.
18. Kyle Murphy, 22 years old. Depending on his performance in the preseason, Murphy may find his way to the practice squad this season. Not much has been said about the Stanford product so far in camp. Silence can be a good thing, though, especially for offensive linemen.
Parks and Recreation Tier
“Oh, Parks and Rec is amazing!” Your friend is overselling that show. Your Packers friends are also overselling how good Jake Ryan is. Much like this sitcom, these players are pretty good. They’ll help Green Bay win games, but they are not essential pieces.
17. John Crockett, 24 years old. Entering his second year with the Packers, Crockett was the beneficiary of Alonzo Harris’ curfew violation last season. In a cup of coffee with Green Bay, Crockett flashed. He is likely to get a long look this preseason at the running back position.
16. Rick Lovato, 23 years old. One of my little annoyances with Madden over the years has been how the video game consistently overlooks long snappers. The Power Sweep recognizes long snappers as valued members of the 53-man roster. We salute you, Rick Lovato. You are an NFL player.
15. Jake Ryan, 24 years old. A fourth-round selection in 2015, Ryan saw the majority of his playing time come in the back half of the season. He is expected to be a strong factor at inside linebacker. At times last season, it looked as if Ryan wasn’t quite athletic enough.
14. Blake Martinez, 22 years old. Affectionately dubbed “Paul Blartinez, Ball Cop” by Jon and I, the inside linebacker has drawn rave reviews this offseason. If he can be a consistent performer in the middle of Green Bay’s defense, it would solve a lot of Dom Capers’ problems.
13. Jason Spriggs, 22 years old. The Packers traded up in the draft to select Spriggs, who figures to slide into the starting offensive line shortly. Where Spriggs goes is dependent on next offseason, when three of the five starting linemen are unrestricted free agents. Spriggs is 12-1 in one-on-one battles in camp so far.
12. Brett Hundley, 23 years old. It’s a difficult task to rank a player you hope you never see on the field. As Aaron Rodgers’ backup quarterback, Hundley has yet to see significant action. His rookie year preseason was impressive. Considered at one time to be a top pick, the UCLA product is having another solid camp.
The band Coldplay is good. No one starts their day and rolls out of bed thinking, “I can’t wait to listen to Coldplay!” They’ve got star power, but much like the band’s Super Bowl halftime performance, they need help to stand out.
11. Aaron Ripkowski, 23 years old. He has facial hair that rivals Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ripkowski earned his roster spot as John Kuhn’s backup last year because of strong special teams play. He now looks to slide into Kuhn’s linchpin, do-everything role on the offense.
10. Ty Montgomery, 23 years old. Montgomery has yet to see the field this year after a nasty ankle injury sent him to IR last season. A flashy returner learning the tools of the receiver trade, radio host Colin Cowherd declared Montgomery the “steal of the entire draft” last offseason. He’s yet to live up to that billing.
9. LaDarius Gunter, 24 years old. One of the undrafted free agents to make last year’s squad, Gunter has put together an impressive training camp. With the departure of Casey Heyward, he will assume the role of the fourth cornerback. Listed at 6-2, Gunter is the Packers’ tallest defensive back.
8. Kenny Clark, 20 years old. The youngest player on the roster this season, Clark is expected to contribute from early on with the Packers. His name is on the beat writers’ lips (and in their tweets) this summer, often accompanied with effusive praise. There will most certainly be some growing pains, but early returns are positive on the defensive tackle.
7. Jayrone Elliott, 24 years old. A true wild card on the defense, Elliott made a strong case for a roster spot in camp last year. With an embarrassment of riches at the outside linebacker position including rookie Kyler Fackrell, Elliott faces another uphill climb.
6. Richard Rodgers, 24 years old. Rodgers has the size and hands you look for in a tight end. Fans looking for a Jermichael Finley clone have been disappointed thus far with the Cal product. The tight end did slim down this offseason, and should complement free agent signee Jared Cook well this season.
5. Davante Adams, 23 years old. Near the conclusion of the 2014 Packers season, Adams could do no wrong in the eyes of Packers fans. His contributions helped Green Bay slip past New England and Dallas, both milestone wins. A disappointing 2015 keeps Adams from the top tier. Can he regain his confidence?
4. Quinten Rollins, 24 years old. He entered his rookie season as a bit of an unknown, playing only one year of college football after finishing his collegiate basketball career. Rollins impressed in his fourteen games last season – intercepting Nick Foles twice. Much of the praise last season was focused on Randall, but Rollins played equally as well.
The Michael Scott Tier
The Office was miserable without Michael Scott. The Packers would be in a world of trouble without these players.
3. Damarious Randall, 23 years old. Randall had a very solid first season, making the transition from college safety to NFL cornerback seem easier than it probably was. While he was responsible for the blown coverage that allowed Larry Fitzgerald to run wild in overtime and end the Packers’ 2015 season, the young cornerback has a high ceiling. He also may be the most confident player on the roster.
2. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, 23 years old. Clinton-Dix enters his third season with the Packers on the rise. The safety’s consistent play has allowed Morgan Burnett to flourish in Green Bay’s defense. Just as the Packers bequeathed LeRoy Butler’s 36 jersey to Nick Collins, it appears Green Bay chose wisely in granting Clinton-Dix the old number of Charles Woodson.
1. David Bakhtiari, 24 years old. The Packers’ starting left tackle enters his fourth and final year of his rookie contract and will collect a large paycheck in the offseason for admirably protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blindside for the past few seasons. He’s also responsible for the Packers’ cameo appearance in Pitch Perfect 2. The complete package as far as a millennial is concerned.