The Packers’ offense is their biggest strength, but that does not mean there is not room for improvement.
The Packers haven’t added any free agents on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, and free agent losses of key contributors such as James Jones, Evan Dietrich-Smith, and most likely, Jermichael Finley, could mean the offense takes a step backward this season.
While the Packers are sure to add some offensive weapons in the draft, they will still need young players to step up and contribute this season if they hope to once again win the NFC North.
Here are four players who could play a big role for the Packers’ offense this season.
With the departure of Evan Dietrich-Smith, the Packers will be looking for another new starting center again this season.TJ Lang and Josh Sitton have both been mentioned as possibilities at center, but moving one of your two best offensive linemen out of position doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. And while Mike McCarthy has been non-committal about the team’s plans at center, I believe it will be JC Tretter’s job to lose.
At this point Tretter is a complete unknown, after an injury early in training camp forced him to spend most of the season on the PUP list. But seeing how the Packers made almost no effort to re-sign Dietrich-Smith, the Packers must have a lot of faith in Tretter’s ability to step into the role of starting center this season.
Bakhtiari was the only rookie to start all 16 games at left tackle last season. Not bad for a 4th round draft choice. Mike McCarthy gave Bakhtiari a vote of confidence recently when he announced that when fully healthy, Bryan Bulaga would remain at right tackle rather than move to left tackle, which had been the plan before Bulaga’s ACL injury.
Despite his success as a rookie, Bakhtiari still has a lot of room for improvement. There were games last season where Bakhtiari’s lack of experience and strength were evident, but another year of coaching and some time spent in the weight room should be very beneficial to the young left tackle.
With the likely departure of Jermichael Finley, the Packers are without a proven receiving threat at tight end. Bostick is a couple inches shorter than Finley, but he has similar speed and athletic ability.
Bostick played wide receiver in college and has put on 14 pounds since his college days to help him with the blocking duties playing tight end requires. After spending his first season on the practice squad, Bostick caught just 7 passes last season before being put on IR after a foot injury, but the Packers seem to think he could play a bigger role in the offense this season. Unless the Packers plan on using their first round pick on Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro, it’s possible they won’t find anyone in this draft with the receiving ability of Bostick.
According to NFL.Draftscout.com, Jonathan Franklin was the 2nd best running back prospect in last year’s draft, after only Packers’ 2nd round selection, Eddie Lacy. But Franklin ended up being the 7th running back off the board, and wasn’t selected by the Packers until the end of the 4th round.
Franklin didn’t look particularly sharp during the preseason, but when he was pressed into duty against the Bengals in week 3, he showed the explosion and elusiveness that the Packers were hoping for when they drafted him. Unfortunately, Franklin went down with a neck injury in week 12, and he still has not been cleared to play. Despite his injury and a crowded backfield, Franklin could be a major contributor to the Packers offense if he can demonstrate the explosiveness he showed in college, and a commitment to ball security.——————