The 2017 draft class for the Green Bay Packers included nine picks, with all nine currently on the active roster. DeAngelo Yancey and Kofi Amichia spent the entire 2017 season on the practice squad but were recently signed to the 53-man.
In order to fill gaps left by lower-than-expected production and free agency departures, certain members brought in in 2017 need to make more of an impression for the Packers to be successful.
Adams, who Green Bay spent its lone third-round pick on in last year’s draft, overcame injury troubles to see the field for seven games in his rookie campaign. Only registering two tackles, Adams first saw the field in Week 10 in Chicago against the Bears.
With the Packers signing Muhammad Wilkerson in the offseason, the solid season by Kyler Fackrell and the change in scheme with new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Adams’ reps may be limited on the field. But, he can factor into the defensive lineman rotation by having a strong camp and keeping injury-free.
Currently, Adams sits behind Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark, who had himself a breakout second season last year. Wilkerson also could rotate in between the 1, 3 or 5 technique roles on the line, depending on the type of defensive front Pettine wants to run.
Adams is more of a nose tackle, so he is more suited for a 1-technique role, making his contributions a bit more limiting. If Pettine likes what Adams brings to the table, look for him to work Adams into the regular rotation to give Daniels and Clark rest to keep them fresh for entire games.
If Adams is given a regular chance in the rotation, look for him to put up 20 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
Thrown into the fire from the get-go last season, Jones responded well to his hybrid role. In seven starts and 16 games, Jones amassed 71 tackles, two sacks, five defended passes and one interception.
Jones’ best games came against the Browns in Week 14, where he had three PDEF and his interception, and Week 3, where he had a career-high 12 tackles.
Even with HaHa Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett roaming the defensive backfield last season, Jones still saw a big role for a first-year player. He played some in-the-box safety, inside linebacker, slot cornerback and traditional safety, putting his positional flexibility out there from the jump.
With Burnett signing in Pittsburgh, Jones will be looked to alongside Clinton-Dix to help solidify the defensive backline. Jones, Kentrell Brice and Marwin Evans will all be given chances to fill the safety and box roles vacated by Burnett, but Jones should compound his successful rookie season with a solid second year.
Look for 95 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass breakups and a forced fumble from Jones in 2018.
When Green Bay signed Pipkins in May of 2017, it was looked at as more of an under-the-radar signing, potentially just for camp depth. Pipkins made enough of an impression that he made the final 53-man roster, adding to the tradition of Green Bay striking gold in the undrafted free agency for corners.
Last season, Pipkins had to be thrust into situations he wasn’t necessarily ready for, but he made a positive impact. In 12 games and one start, Pipkins had 15 tackles and one pass defense.
While those numbers may not jump off the page, his consistent improvements throughout camp and the season helped give him a leg-up in the corner rankings coming into 2018. While the team did bring back Tramon Williams, there have been no superb additions to the corner ranks, boding well for a role for Pipkins.
Many draft rankings have the Packers taking at least one corner in the draft, if not two, which could limit Pipkins’ role. But with a strong camp and mastering of the new scheme, he could become a valuable slot weapon for Pettine.
Look for Pipkins to make his presence known in 2018, with 35 tackles, 2 interceptions, 5 pass breakups and a defensive touchdown.
Any other ideas for who could make a second-year jump for Green Bay? Leave your comments below and tell me what you think!뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23