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Hawk, Colledge, Jennings Make All-Rookie Team


The Green Bay Packers certainly had their share of rookies in 2006, with 15 on the active roster during the final month of the season.

It turned out to be a pretty darn good crop.

Three rookies - linebacker A.J. Hawk, offensive lineman Daryn Colledge and receiver Greg Jennings - were selected to Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team for this past season, tying the Packers with the Saints for the most rookies on the squad.

The trio comprised the Packers' first three draft picks last April, with Hawk going in the first round (fifth overall) and College (47th) and Jennings (52nd) being taken in the second round.

Hawk was penciled into the starting weak-side linebacker position from the moment he arrived in Green Bay, and he didn't disappoint. He led the team with 155 total tackles, including a team-best 112 solo tackles, and had 3 1/2 sacks.

He also had nine passes defensed, which tied for a team-high for a non-defensive back, plus two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

"The longer he plays and the more comfortable he feels, he's going to have a chance to anticipate and start to steal plays here and there," linebackers coach and new assistant head coach Winston Moss said. "This scheme has a lot of ways that he can make plays within it."

That's what Hawk started doing more toward the end of the season, as his two interceptions both came during the Packers' four-game winning streak in December and were critical plays.

At San Francisco on Dec. 10, Hawk dropped deep over the middle to snare an Alex Smith pass at the goal line intended for rookie tight end Vernon Davis, who was taken one pick after Hawk in the first round of the draft. The turnover, which came midway through the fourth quarter, prevented a touchdown and kept the Packers in control of the game.

His second interception came in the season finale at Chicago and also came in the red zone, when Hawk stepped in front of tight end Desmond Clark to pick off Brian Griese's pass in the third quarter, keeping the Bears scoreless at the time.

Colledge was expected to start right away, too, and even though things didn't turn out that way, he rebounded to have a commendable rookie year.

Working toward the starting job at left guard, Colledge was demoted after a rough game in the preseason opener at San Diego. But he was determined to improve, and when an injury to fellow rookie Jason Spitz put Colledge back in the starting lineup in Week 2, he never lost his job again.

"I think the biggest thing you have to be pleased about is he came in here with high expectations and had that bump in the road early in the preseason, and he never wavered in his attitude or his effort," said new offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who was Colledge's line coach last season. "He kept plugging away, kept working, and he turned things around.

{sportsad300}"That's probably the best lesson for everybody. More than anything, that's a good example of the kind of guys we want on this football team, guys who keep plugging and don't stop believing in themselves."

Colledge ended up starting 15 games, most of any of the three rookies on the offensive line. One of those starts came at left tackle for Chad Clifton, who missed the game at Miami because of an illness. After a rough first quarter against eventual defensive player of the year Jason Taylor, Colledge and the Packers adjusted and limiting Taylor's impact was a big reason Green Bay pulled out a 10-point road win.

The Miami game also was a turning point for Jennings, though not in a good way. Jennings severely sprained his ankle in that game, and even though he only missed one start, the injury prevented him from maximizing on the fast start to his season.

Through the Miami contest (six games), Jennings had 21 catches for 378 yards, averaging 18 yards per reception, and three touchdowns, including a 75-yard catch-and-run at Detroit for Brett Favre's 400th career TD pass.

But after injuring his ankle in Miami, Jennings had just 24 catches for 254 yards the rest of the way. He ended up third on the team with 45 catches, one behind running back Ahman Green, and his potential impact when healthy for a full season is something the Packers are looking forward to seeing in 2007.

"He's a mature young man, he's poised, he's quietly confident," receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said. "He just has a very good feel for the game at a young age. Nothing seems to catch him by surprise."

Pro Football Weekly/Professional Football Writers of America All-Rookie team:


QB Vince Young, Titans

RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

RB Reggie Bush, Saints

TE Owen Daniels, Texans

WR Marques Colston, Saints

WR Greg Jennings, Packers

C Nick Mangold, Jets

OG Jahri Evans, Saints

OG Daryn Colledge, Packers

OT Marcus McNeill, Chargers

OT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Jets


DE Mark Anderson, Bears

DE Tamba Hali, Chiefs

DT Haloti Ngata, Ravens

DT Barry Cofield, Giants

OLB Ernie Sims, Lions

OLB A.J. Hawk, Packers

MLB DeMeco Ryans, Texans

CB Richard Marshall, Panthers

CB Tye Hill, Rams

S Dawan Landry, Ravens

S Donte Whitner, Bills


PK Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

P Ryan Plackemeier, Seahawks

KR Devin Hester, Bears

PR Devin Hester, Bears

ST Bernard Pollard, Chiefs

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