Originally written on Packer Update  |  Last updated 11/19/14
A summer illness kept Green Bay’s fifth-round pick from contributing on defense The Green Bay Packers began the season with 10 rookies on the 53-man roster. That’s a pretty high number – especially for a team than won 15 games the previous year. But GM Ted Thompson didn’t hang on to all those rookies to save money or to make himself look good. He kept them because they could play. In fact, seven have played significant roles in the team’s march to its second straight NFC North title. I’ll be ranking the rookies – from least productive to most productive – over the next couple of weeks. Here’s #10: Story of 2012 – Had it not been for a summer illness that dropped his weight to under 220 pounds, there’s a chance Terrell Manning could’ve been one of the most productive rookie on this year’s team. That’s because the defensive coaches were desperate at inside linebacker after Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith went down with season-ending injuries, and it’s safe to assume Manning would’ve gotten the call ahead of Brad Jones had he been healthy in camp. Instead, the former NC State standout was relegated to special teams, where he began to make a major impact down the stretch. What to expect in 2013 – If A.J. Hawk and his bloated salary is finally released, there figures to be an open competition to fill his spot. Manning, Smith (if healthy), Jones (if re-signed) and perhaps a rookie should battle it out in camp for the chance to start next to Bishop. Of the three returnees, Manning has the least experience but the most talent. He runs fairly well (4.62) and shows pop on contact. He’s a little stiff in coverage, but he moves better in space than either Hawk and Smith. He also showed the ability to blitz in college – something the Packers value but haven’t really had at the “buck” linebacker spot in years. You probably noticed the donation widget to the right of this post. I haven’t asked for donations in years, but I’m going to ask now. If you enjoy this blog, please make a donation. It doesn’t have to be $5 – that’s the default amount. Give what you can afford. It would be very much appreciated.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Curt Schilling tweeted advice to Johnny Manziel

Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa

Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

WATCH: Kenny Smith pushes Shaq into a Christmas tree

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Quincy Acy ejected for throwing punch at John Wall

Billy Beane did not want to trade Josh Donaldson

Peyton Manning plans to be back with Broncos next year

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Is the NFL playoff system heading south?

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.