GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Each week, we'll take questions about the Green Bay Packers. They can be submitted via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail.
This week, we will discuss the following topics:
The 2016 free-agent class
Jayrone Elliott’s potential
New defensive contributors
Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon
Demovsky: It's not as long a list as it was this year. Or perhaps we should say the list doesn't contain as many star-caliber players as this year with Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga. Here's the list of players who will be potential free agents in 2016, and certainly defensive tackle Mike Daniels' name jumps off the page. But if you're Daniels or a guy like cornerback Casey Hayward and you see the money a player like Davon House got on the open market (he signed a deal with the Jaguars that averages $6.25 million a year), why not take things all the way to free agency? Sure, there's the injury risk, but it might be a risk worth taking.
Demovsky: This year will tell us if Jayrone Elliott is just another Vic So'oto or another Frank Zombo, an undrafted free agent who was a surprise to make the team and then fizzled out. Everyone remembers how Elliott showed up in the preseason last summer, when he led all of the NFL in exhibition game sacks. But it was not surprising to see him get very few opportunities as a rookie. That doesn't mean he'll flame out quickly like So'oto and Zombo did. Year 2 is a big year for guys like that who came into the league as undrafted rookies because if they don't show up again, they are easily replaced.
Demovsky: We've heard Mike McCarthy say all the time that players take a big jump from Year 1 to Year 2, so Elliott, as we just discussed, has that chance. But consider three draft picks from last season who had little or no role -- cornerback Demetri Goodson (who played only a handful of games on special teams) plus defensive tackle Khyri Thornton and linebacker Carl Bradford (who didn’t play a down). If the Packers can get something out of some or all of them, then that could help the defense.
Demovsky: It sure looks like Melvin Gordon will be there when the Packers pick at No. 30 in part because running backs just aren't valued in the first round much anymore. In his latest mock draft, Todd McShay did not have Gordon going in the first round. But it's unlikely, if not almost completely out of the question, that the Packers would take him. If Eddie Lacy didn't have two more years left on his rookie contract, it might be a different story. If Lacy had durability issues, it might be a different story. But neither of those things is a reality, so the Packers would be better served going in another direction.