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Breaking down PFF's Packers player ratings

6/6/2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Three elite players, two in the next tier of NFL starters plus a handful of other above-average starters is how Pro Football Focus sees the Green Bay Packers' roster.

That helps explain how PFF ranked the Packers as the eighth-most talented team in the league.

As promised earlier, here is a complete breakdown of how PFF views the Packers' starters. It included 24 players (12 on each side of the ball to account for three receivers plus a fullback on offense, and a nickel defensive back on defense).

PFF used a color-coded system similar to what NFL scouting departments use to evaluate players. The ratings were as follows: Blue=Elite; Green=High quality; Light green=Good starter; Yellow=Average starter; Orange=Below-average starter; Red=Poor starter; Gray=Not enough information; Purple=Rookie.

Here is a breakdown of the Packers' starters:

Blue

Aaron Rodgers

Josh Sitton

Clay Matthews

Green

Eddie Lacy

Jordy Nelson

Light green

John Kuhn

Randall Cobb

T.J. Lang

Mike Daniels

Sam Shields

Casey Hayward

Yellow

Jarrett Boykin

Bryan Bulaga

Julius Peppers

Nick Perry

Brad Jones

Tramon Williams

Morgan Burnett

Orange

Andrew Quarless

David Bakhtiari

B.J. Raji

A.J. Hawk

Red

None

Gray

JC Tretter

Purple

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

PFF's Sam Monson, the author of this exercise, wrote the following about the Packers' starters: "The team has almost as many projected blue-chip starters (three, 12.5 percent) as it does below average (four, 16.7 percent), but it is the average players who may dictate the ceiling for this team. Seven projected starters (29.2 percent) grade out as average at this time, and whether those players outperform or underperform that designation will likely determine how good this team becomes."

From a salary standpoint, the Packers are paying Peppers ($8.5 million this season), Williams ($7.5 million), Burnett ($3.25 million this season after $9.573 million last season) and Jones ($3 million) to perform better than their "yellow" designation. Likewise, the Packers surely consider Raji ($4 million) and Hawk ($3.5 million) to be better than "orange" players.

On the other hand, Lacy ($559,201) should be considered a steal as a "green" player just as Cobb ($812,648), Daniels ($570,000) and Hayward ($690,901) are relative bargains as "light green" players because they still are playing under their rookie contracts.