Four under-the-radar Packers to watch in training camp
Safety Sean Richardson.Photo: Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
GREEN BAY - NFL training camps have their own special way of being predictable and unexpected all at once. A certain number of a team’s roster spots are all but locked down, and the Packers are no different.
Most of the quarterback spots are all but spoken for, as are the top three receiver positions and four of the five starting offensive line jobs.
To that effect, the top three or four cornerback jobs are probably soft locks, although the order of the depth chart may be arranged and rearranged a number of times before the start of the season.
But every training camp also has a few surprises. There is always a certain amount of roster churn, and with that reality comes a few unexpected players making a roster every year.
The Packers have a few players on the 90-man roster right now that could be in a position to make an impact, even if fans might not be all that familiar with them right now.
The first is safety Sean Richardson.
A collegiate teammate of cornerback Casey Hayward, Richardson has size (6’2”, 216 lbs.) that the Packers’ other safeties can only dream about.
After contributing some on special teams (four tackles in five games) in 2012, a neck injury sent him to injured reserve for the final five weeks of the season.
But he’s been fully cleared to play, and if he can live up to his impressive measurables, he could push Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings for playing time opposite Morgan Burnett.
Secondly, inside linebacker Terrell Manning may be ready to put his physical gifts to work now that he’s put his disastrous rookie season behind him.
A fifth round pick last year, Manning missed most of training camp with ulcerative colitis, but was noted for his versatility and explosiveness by Pro Football Weekly in their 2012 draft preview.
If he can stay healthy (and it seems safe to assume he won’t contract a nasty bug again), he could be in the mix as a top backup at inside linebacker.
Thirdly, defensive tackle Gilbert Peña, an undrafted rookie free agent this year, might literally be too big to ignore.
The Packers have lacked size along their defensive line in recent seasons, and if everyone’s being honest with their listed weight Peña is currently the third heaviest man on the roster.
Though his age might be a concern, big bodies are always at a premium, and at 6’2” and 330 pounds, the 26 year old rookie could be the kind of immovable object the Packers need to add depth at nose tackle or defensive end.
Finally, and perhaps controversially, Jonathan Amosa could be the man who finally takes John Kuhn’s job away.
Though Kuhn has epitomized words “folk hero” over the last three seasons or so, he’s turning 31 in September and has been banging his head into opposing linebackers for eight long seasons.
Amosa, meanwhile, is almost nine years younger and started the last two seasons at fullback for Washington.
Described by DraftInsider.net as a “high effort prospect who gets the most from his ability,” Amosa could step in early as a special teams contributor and goalline road grader.
Though he’s limited as a receiver, Amosa wouldn’t be in camp if the Packers didn’t think he could contribute. Perhaps this is the year Lambeau Field cheers “Kuuuuuuhn” for the last time.
Jon Meerdink is a news anchor and reporter with your Packers flagship, 620WTMJ. He's also the founder, writer and editor of packerperspective.com.