Green Bay Packers: Top 10 Prospects
Clay Matthews (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Clay Matthews (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Scout.com NFL Draft Analyst
Posted Jun 1, 2010
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Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and profiles the Green Bay Packers. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or under 25 years of age. Find out who the Packers top 10 prospects are entering the 2010 season.

Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-3
250
2
24

The Green Bay Packers took a chance on Clay Matthews in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Prior to his senior season at USC, Matthews, a former walk-on, was known as a special teams demon, but in his final year with the Trojans, he developed into a quality linebacker with tremendous pass rushing qualities. The Packers transitioned to a 3-4 defense last season, and as a result, Matthews received a heavy workload playing in all 16 games, starting 13 of them. He finished his rookie campaign with 51 tackles, 10 sacks and a forced fumble that he returned for a touchdown. For his efforts, Matthews was added to the Pro Bowl, replacing Lance Briggs on the NFC roster. With a year under his belt, the Packers expect Matthews to continue his ascension and become one of the league's premier rush linebackers.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
TE
6-5
247
3
23

A third round pick in 2008, Jermichael Finley didn't have much of an opportunity on offense to impress during his rookie season; he was used mostly on special teams in the 14 games. But, as much as Finley wasn't a threat on offense in '08, he emerged into one of the best young tight ends in the NFL last season. Starting 10 games in '09, Finley caught 55 passes for 676 yards and five touchdowns. The No. 2 prospect in the Packers organization, Finley is expected to exceed the production he achieved in '09 and could very well become an All-Pro this season.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 3rd Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DT
6-2
337
2
23

The Packers used the first round of the '09 draft to get the parts they needed to make a 3-4 conversion possible. And, the key to their plans was Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji. A mammoth interior force, Raji had a breakout senior year for the Eagles, and that year was his ticket to being the 9th overall selection. In his first year with the Packers, Raji was slowly installed on defense and started just one of the 14 games he played; he finished the year with 25 tackles and a sack. It's early, but it seems as though Raji will be the Packers starting nose tackle this year and will be given every opportunity to succeed.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 1st Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OT
6-5
314
R
21

A two-year starter at Iowa, Bulaga has the athleticism and ability to be one of the best offensive tackles in the NFL. And, the fact that the Packers were able to select Bulaga with the 23rd overall pick could prove to be as much as a steal as last year's 23rd overall selection when the Baltimore Ravens drafted Ole Miss OT Michael Oher. The Packers needed a young OT to build their offensive line around with veteran tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher in their thirties. Even though Bulaga could play right away, he's in the perfect situation where he can learn the ropes and develop correctly.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 1st Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-3
239
2
24

There are times when teams get lucky in the late rounds and come across a hidden gem that produces in a time of need. And, when Aaron Kampman went down with an injury last year, seventh round linebacker Brad Jones filled in admirably. Playing in 14 games, starting seven, Jones recorded 33 tackles and four sacks. With Kampman now in Jacksonville, Jones will start opposite Matthews this season.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 7th Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
FS
6-1
209
R
21

In a draft loaded with safety talent, the Packers may have struck gold with the selection of former Georgia Tech star Morgan Burnett in the third round of this past April's draft. Burnett decided to forego his senior year after he amassed 85 tackles and four interceptions in '09 for the Yellow Jackets, and will compete for a backup role this season with the Packers. There's a chance that Burnett, if he has a standout preseason, could start over disgruntled safety Atari Bigby, who would like to get a long-term commitment from the Packers.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 3rd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OG
6-3
322
3
23

A fourth round pick in 2008, Josh Sitton has developed into a quality starter for the Packers and played in and started all 16 games last season. He has the athleticism and size to be one of the better interior presences in the league, and, with more experience, he could turn into a Pro Bowl caliber player.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 4th Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-3
217
3
25

The Packers second round pick in '08, Jordy Nelson showed more promise as a rookie than he did in his second year. He possesses strong hands and the size to be a factor in the slot, but he only managed to haul in 22 receptions for 320 yards and two touchdowns last year. Nelson will compete with James Jones during the preseason to be the Packers No. 3 wide receiver, but he has to be more consistent to earn that role.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 2nd Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OT
6-4
316
2
22

Forced into the starting lineup for three games, as Clifton was nursing an injury; T.J. Lang, the Packers fourth round pick in '09, displayed his athleticism and upside in those starts. A three-year starter at Eastern Michigan, Lang gives the Packers flexibility on the offensive line as he can play inside or outside. He will be counted on as a key reserve this season.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 4th Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-3
294
R
22

After a solid senior season where he had 35 tackles, 11.5 for a loss and 5.5 sacks, and a strong offseason, Mike Neal elevated his stock into the second frame of the draft this past April. A massive interior force at Purdue, Neal will be moved to the outside with the Packers. It will be interesting to see how much playing time Neal receives this season, as he makes the transition, but considering where he was drafted, it's likely that he will go through on-the-job training.

Drafted by Green Bay in the 2nd Round (2010).


For more on the Packers, check out Packer Report.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.



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