The Packers have been a draft and develop team for a couple years now, and so it should not be a surprise that this is the healthiest number of nominees for our 2012 team awards. If the Packers don't have many guys competing for this award then something is wrong with their philosophy and it's time to start talking about coaching changes. Fortunately, there a number of strong candidates who made the most with their time and improved from the 2011 season. This is a good sign for the future depth of the team and hopefully the trend will continue next year as well (especially with the continued development of some of those exciting defensive rookies).

Sam Shields

The change in Shields' career has been dramatic and noticeable in 2012. Shields may have been the biggest disappointment in 2011 and looked left for dead through much of the preseason. Near the end of the preseason he started to turn things around and eventually earned his way back on the field after being benched in favor of Jarrett Bush for the first game of the year.

After getting back on the field, he overcame phantom PI penalties and his previous fear of tackling to become one of the better corners the Packers had this year. Considering the breakout success of Casey Hayward and generally steady play of Tramon Williams (yes, he did struggle at the end of the year but otherwise turned in a solid year covering some of the best receivers in the league), that's saying something.