With the Green Bay Packers set to report to training camp in five days, FOX Sports Wisconsin lists five players to keep an eye on once practices begin.
RG Jahri Evans
When T.J. Lang left Green Bay in free agency for Detroit, it created a big hole on the right side of the Packers' offensive line. Instead of trying to fill Lang's spot at guard with a young player, the team made a rare foray into the free-agent market, signing veteran Evans, who spent the first 11 seasons of his career with New Orleans. No offensive lineman in the NFL has played more games than Evans' 169 since 2006, his rookie year. He's missed just seven games in his career. So on paper, he seems like a reasonable replacement for Lang. However … Evans turns 34 in August and has allowed 16 sacks combined over the last four seasons. Evans says he still can be a Pro Bowl caliber guard (he is a six-time selection). But when offensive linemen are done, they are done. It will be interesting to see -- and perhaps a key to Green Bay's offensive success (not to mention Aaron Rodgers' health) -- to which line Evans is closer.
QB Brett Hundley
Right now you're probably saying, "What? Why do I care about the backup quarterback?" Selected in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, Hundley has played in all of four games, completing 2 of 10 passes. However, he obviously still has a lot of upside as the Packers reportedly nearly dealt Hundley during the draft. Green Bay apparently likes Joe Callahan, who was brought back to the team and placed on the active roster after being claimed -- and subsequently waived -- by the Saints. Most teams only carry two quarterbacks and leave a third (perhaps undrafted free agent Taysom Hill) on the practice squad. If Hundley looks good in training camp, perhaps the Packers can flip him for a pick. And if he stinks up the joint, maybe that means Callahan, the former Wesley QB who warmed fans' hearts last preseason, will be the backup anyway and Hundley …
Jeff HanischJeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
CB Kevin King
Yeah, so this one is kind of obvious. King, Green Bay's top pick in this year's draft, had to miss the rookie minicamp and part of OTAs due, having to wait until Washington was done with classes. Can King catch up and become a relevant part of the defense -- if not a starter -- early in the season? Green Bay did bring back Davon House, who can serve as an insurance policy until King is ready. But the Packers' cornerbacks are going to be tested early. Russell Wilson in Week 1. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and the high-powered Falcons offense in Atlanta the next week. Then having to defend both A.J. Green and speedy rookie John Ross in Week 3. King's progression -- or lack thereof -- could be key in determining Green Bay's early success or failure.
USA TODAY SportsMark Hoffman
RB Ty Montgomery
While Montgomery isn't changing his number, he is set to be Green Bay's starting running back. But will it last? Montgomery had his breakout moments last season in the backfield, most notably in a 30-27 win at Chicago on Dec. 18 when he rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries. Earlier in the year vs. the Bears, in his first extended action at running back, he rushed for 60 yards on nine carries. In the regular season against teams not named Chicago, Montgomery ran for 235 yards on 52 carries (4.5 average) and a TD. Not bad, but not earth-shattering either. In his last five games -- including playoffs -- Montgomery had just 158 yards on 42 rushes (3.76 average), although he did have 17 receptions. With a full offseason under his belt, Montgomery should, in theory, improve at the position. And he'd better. Did we mention the Packers drafted not one, not two but three running backs? All eyes will be on No. 88.
P Justin Vogel
We'll see how long this lasts, but undrafted free agent Vogel enters training camp as Green Bay's lone punter. We expect Vogel will have competition at some point, but he'll have plenty of opportunity early on to show off what he can do. However, the odds are against the former Miami Hurricane, who averaged 43.8 yards per punt as a senior. Since 2012, there have been 20 rookie punters who appeared in at least 14 games, including eight who were drafted. Of the other 12 who, like Vogel, were not drafted, only four punted in the year right out of college (Ryan Allen, Drew Butler, Mike Darr and Johnny Hekker), with no time on a practice squad. If Vogel is booming punts early, maybe he makes that previous quartet a quintet. Otherwise, he probably should rent.