Packers Annual Checkup: LB Jamari Lattimore

Today is the 28th day of FOX Sports Wisconsin Packers writer Paul Imig’s offseason evaluations of every player on Green Bay’s roster. Click here for all of Paul’s previous evaluations and come back every day through mid-March for Paul’s in-depth film and statistical analysis. Coming up soon:

Today: LB Jamari Lattimore
Monday, Feb. 25: LB Terrell Manning
Tuesday, Feb. 26: LB Clay Matthews
Wednesday, Feb. 27: S Jerron McMillian
Thursday, Feb. 28: OLB Dezman Moses
Friday, March 1: DE Mike Neal
Saturday, March 2: WR Jordy Nelson

JAMARI LATTIMORE, LINEBACKER/SPECIAL TEAMS

Season stats: 16 games active (14 regular season, two postseason); eight snaps on defense; seven special teams tackles, zero missed tackles, one special teams penalty committed

Best game: Week 11 win at Detroit (three special teams tackles; 0.5 PFF special teams rating)

Worst game: Week 12 loss at New York Giants (zero tackles; one special teams penalty committed; minus-1.0 PFF rating)

ProFootballFocus.com season rating: minus-0.5 special teams rating; minus-0.8 defense rating

Expectations at the start of the season: Low

Expectations were … Met

Looking live: Lattimore made the team in 2011 after going undrafted and played 30 defensive snaps as a rookie. At the time, the Packers viewed Lattimore as an outside linebacker prospect. But, much like Brad Jones, when Lattimore reported to training camp in 2012, the team switched him to inside linebacker. Lattimore had played outside linebacker in junior college as a freshman but switched to defensive end once he got to Middle Tennessee State. His latest position switch to inside linebacker paid off right away in 2012. Lattimore had an impressive training camp, making several impact plays that caught the attention of Green Bay’s coaching staff. However, Lattimore is now stuck at a position where the Packers are deep, though not necessarily secure. While he’s not currently much of a contributor on defense, Lattimore was third on the team in special teams tackles.

Upon further review: In training camp, McCarthy commented that Lattimore was more natural at inside linebacker than outside. Though Lattimore wasn’t able to prove that in the regular season while only playing eight defensive snaps, he showed a ton of promise in training camp. With the Packers investing a 2012 fifth-round pick on inside linebacker Terrell Manning, along with Jones’ emergence at inside linebacker and the 2013 return of Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith from injury, Lattimore has a lot of work to do to move up the depth chart. Only able to show his skills on special teams, Lattimore was impressive working under special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum.

Overall 2012 grade: C

Status for 2013: 50 percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster in Week 1 next season. Like any young player without much proven in-game production, Lattimore is relatively expendable. If Green Bay’s coaching staff views him as a player who will never evolve beyond ‘special teams only,’ Lattimore could be one player who doesn’t return in 2013. But, if Lattimore figures into the defensive plans going forward, he could be a project player worth hanging onto to see if he develops.

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