Packers 2010 Yearbook Awards: Player Most Likely to Become a Starter After Being a Backup Last Year
(Be sure to place your vote in the poll below.)
Adam: Mike Neal – Neal wins this one, mainly because if he doesn’t the Packers will be in trouble up front.
Al: Mike Neal – Neal was coming on strong in full beast mode when he went down for the season. I remember Washington coach Mike Shanahan remarking how good the Packers’ DL was after the Washington game and Neal was a big factor that game.
Chad: Mike Neal – You know it’s a good sign when there aren’t too many options for this category. How many starters are actually leaving, even potentially, next season? The only ones I can think of are Cullen Jenkins, Daryn Colledge, Mark Tauscher, Nick Barnett, Brandon Jackson, and James Jones (if you can count him as a starter). From that list, the only positions where a replacement starter wasn’t already seeing action are at defensive end and left guard. That being the case, I’m going to have to go with Mike Neal. His only real competition is C.J. Wilson; meanwhile, the left guard position is WIDE open right now.
Kris: Mike Neal - With Jenkings likely headed out the door in free agency, now is the time for Mike Neal to show us what he’s got. He started showing flashes before his 2010 season came to a screeching halt due to injury, but the man definitely seems ready to stake his claim on a starting position for 2011.
Thomas: T.J. Lang – If anything T.J. Lang proved in 2009 that he can play in the NFL, whether he ends up being a backup or a starter in the future has yet to be decided but he definitely belongs in the NFL. That can’t be said with any of the other potential starting linemen. In my opinion Lang gets the first shot at left guard should Daryn Colledge leave.
Zach: Neal – With Cullen Jenkins on his way out, Neal should be a starter at defensive end. He’ll first need to beat out Howard Green, who played well down the stretch and applied the pressure that caused Nick Collins’ pick-six in the Super Bowl. But if Neal is healthy, and plays anywhere near the level he showed to begin his rookie season, it’s his job to lose.
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.