By Chris Havel
Special to Event USA
Five ‘picks to click’ when Green Bay gets busy later this month in training camp
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The big-name players are obvious.
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Undoubtedly Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Jimmy Graham and Clay Matthews will be among those who dominate the headlines when training camp opens later this month.
The question is which unheralded players will draw notice?
Which ones will “flash” early enough – and often enough – to grab the coaching staff’s attention and ultimately bank enough trust to win a spot on the Packers’ 53-man roster?
Here are my five “Picks to Click” as training camp unfolds and exhibition games are played. Each will be 23 years old with no more than one NFL season under their belts when camp opens:
** 1 – Josh Jones, safety
Jones, at 6-2, 220, is expected to be the Robin to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix’s Batman at the safety position.
Quietly, Jones played in all 16 games with seven starts last season. He racked up 71 tackles (64 solo) with two sacks and an interception (off DeShone Kizer). He also was tied for second on the team with six special teams tackles.
Jones is big, strong and fast. New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is sure to put that combination to good use.
It’s likely he’ll line up all over the field, including near the line of scrimmage. Jones’ presence should give Clinton-Dix more freedom to roam, something he’s hinted at wanting for a while.
Unfortunately, the defense’s limitations didn’t allow for it.
Jones’ development will be welcome news to Clinton-Dix.
** 2 – J’Mon Moore, receiver
The fourth-round pick out of Missouri was the first of three receivers drafted by Green Bay for a reason: He’s got the best chance to contribute right away while he develops.
Moore (6-3, 205) has a terrific chance to be the next rookie receiver to burst onto the scene with Rodgers’ help. He showed the ability to move in and out of breaks, catch the football with ease and provide a burst during the off-season practices.
Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb all were drafted higher than Moore. Nevertheless, Moore’s ranking among draft-eligible receivers was comparable.
Rodgers’ greatness undoubtedly factored in each of those receivers’ NFL success. It should be no different for Moore.
** 3 – Cole Madison, guard
Madison (6-5, 308) is a sturdy, athletic offensive lineman who will contend for the starting right guard job. I suspect he will emerge as the opening-day starter, with veteran Byron Bell at right tackle until Bryan Bulaga returns from injury.
Madison’s reported “nasty streak” within the rules would be much welcomed in the Packers’ offensive line. Left tackle David Bakhtiari sets the tone in an otherwise low-key unit.
Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley and Bulaga are quiet by nature.
Madison’s presence should provide a youthful spark.
A little infusion of nasty never hurt an offensive line, either.
** 4 – Montravius Adams, defensive tackle
Adams (6-4, 304) appears to be in the right place at the right time. He managed five tackles in seven games while being limited by injuries a year ago. However, Pettine’s arrival and scheme should be of benefit to Adams and his skill set.
A slippery interior pass rusher at Auburn, Adams is expected to win a spot in the defensive line rotation. His greatest asset may be his leverage/quickness inside. Granted, Adams has had minimal playing time so there’s not much to go on, but I’ve got a hunch big No. 90 will step up this year.
** 5 – Aaron Jones, running back
I know I’ve touted Jamaal Williams as the Packers’ No. 1 running back in the past few months.
This doesn’t change that.
What I’m saying is Jones should have a breakout camp, which will lead to a clear role in the offense. His breakaway speed is undeniably a difference-maker for the Packers’ offense.
Jones (5-9, 208) is the team’s greatest “speed” threat out of the backfield. If his growth continues in camp, he could be dynamic in the run game and as a receiver out of the backfield.