The Packers continue to surprise Cheesehead’s this off-season. The highlight of all the surprises has to be six-straight defensive players we drafted. However, Ted has signed yet ANOTHER defensive player in the form of former Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling. In 2008 Merling was the 32nd overall pick, and if you ask me he has not lived up to his first round potential.
Merling is 6-4 295pounds, with this size he will remain a defensive end in the Packers 3-4 scheme. After graduating from Clemson Merling has had 66 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8 passes defended, and one interception which was returned for six points in 47 games with 5 starts. If you don’t remember, the Pack was targeting another Miami defensive end, Kendall Langford, who could have been a great free agency pick up. The Packers see something in Merling that I have not been see yet, he seems be a developmental pick, or somebody to create competition among other defensive ends.
The Packers have a lot of defensive ends on the roster currently, I predict the starters will be Ryan Pickett and Jerel Worthy at number 1 and 2 respectively. (Pickett wins because of experience) After Worthy and Pickett I see Mike Daniels grabbing the third spot, and the number two spot in the nickel package, at least until Hargrove can compete after his eight game suspension. The number four spot will be the loser of the Daniels/Hargrove battle. The number 5 spot is very unsure, mostly because there are many competitors, including Mike Neal, Jarius Wynn (who for some reason I see much potential in), C.J. Wilson, Lawrence Guy, and free agent pick-ups Daniel Muir and Phillip Merling. If the Packers decide to roll with 6 defensive lineman I think Wynn will win (pun intended) the number 5 spot with Mike Neal at number six or on the practice squad. Take note that these predictions are only accurate for when Neal and Hargrove are back from their suspensions, while suspended they don’t count against the Packers 53. I cant really tell who will hold their spot until later.
Now to talk about the released. QB Nick Hill formerly played in the Arena League, where I expect him to go back to, and even before that practiced with the Chicago Bears. To be honest I thought Hill had a serious chance to compete with Coleman for the third QB spot. Cameron Ford, who graduated from Wake Forest was mainly used as a run blocker.