The Green Bay Packers made a big splash in free agency’s opening hours, inking four new players to deals as the 2019 league year began. After years of waiting for the initial frenzy to pass, GM Brian Gutekunst made sure to be involved early and often with the player’s on the market.
The Packers made sure that their new additions addressed their biggest positions of need. Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith should elevate the team’s edge rushers, Adrian Amos plugs a major gap at safety, and Billy Turner gives versatile depth to the offensive line.
While these signings undoubtedly helped Green Bay plug some major gaps, the remainder of their offseason strategy should not deviate much from what it was before these additions. They may have gained slightly more flexibility with the 12th overall pick, but overall the team still has improving to do at the same positions of need.
Pre-free agency, one of the team’s primary weaknesses was the safety position. The tandem of Kentrell Brice and Tramon Williams needed significant upgrading. Amos instantly becomes Green Bay’s best safety, and Brice is no longer with the team. But the Packers would be wise to find another cheap free agent or add a rookie to replace Williams; otherwise, it’s likely that Raven Greene could open the year opposite Amos.
A popular thought was that the Packers would add a pass rusher from a relatively deep rookie class with their first pick. While the need is not quite as dire with the addition of the two Smiths, Green Bay should still try to add a blue chip pass rusher with that first pick. The Packers cut their losses by releasing Nick Perry, and Clay Matthews will likely not be back. While Preston and Za’Darius should be improvements on last year, the team needs young talent at the position that can be a force for Mike Pettine’s defense for years.
Similar statements can be made about the team’s primary offensive needs as well. Turner is an upgrade to the team’s oft-changing right guard position, but is far from a star in the league. Another addition (or two) needs to be made in the likely event that injuries affect other lineman.
The free agent acquisitions should not affect the team’s draft strategy regarding safety, pass rusher, and offensive linemen. They still need depth and playmakers at all of those positions. What’s more, their draft strategy regarding skill position players is still the exact same. The Packers need a young tight end to develop, with the popular names being Hockenson, Fant, and Smith, Jr. And Green Bay should still add another receiver early on, even after retaining Geronimo Allison to be the presumed #2 on the depth chart.
The Packers took big steps in the right direction with their recent free agent acquisitions. But even with those signings, the team still needs to add depth at the positions they’ve already filled, in addition to addressing those they still have not. Overall, the team’s approach to the draft and the remainder of the offseason should not be much different from what it was a month ago.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .