Now that I’ve stumbled out of my post-Packers playoff loss haze, let’s take a look at where the team can improve this off-season. After a shining start to his tenure as General Manager, Brian Gutekunst has a lot of work to do. As the embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers demonstrated, this Packers team needs far more talent to be a Super Bowl Contender.
The most glaring issue against the 49ers was at the inside linebacker position. Although Blake Martinez puts up tackling numbers, his play leaves much to be desired. Kyle Shanahan attacked number 50 all night. Isolating Martinez and forcing him to chase running backs to the sideline was the headliner of the 49ers offensive gameplan. And they executed to perfection. In the early 2000s, or even a decade ago Martinez may have been a star. Frankly, he’s been a step slow or out of position far too often these past few years. It’s time for the Packers to move on.
Adding talent to the linebacker room is integral for the Packers to be successful next season. Any Packers writer could have typed that sentence for the last decade. The team however, has shown they do not value the off-ball linebacker position in the slightest. Green Bay needs to add a linebacker who can run sideline to sideline with speed. They need a consistent cleanup man who can shed blocks from the second level of the defense. Yet, team philosophy says the Packers will only invest a mid-round pick, at most, to the position. Jordyn Brooks, of Texas Tech, Shaquille Quarterman from Miami, and Malik Harrison out of Ohio State are players the green & gold could target.
Re-watching last week’s game also displays just how badly the Packers need to draft an interior defensive lineman. Kenny Clark is a beast, but he desperately requires help. Green Bay’s run defense was gashed on far too many occasions. An adequate two-gapping defensive lineman must be placed next to Clark. Unfortunately, this draft is hardly the place to find one. This year’s draft is sorely lacking depth on the interior defensive front. The Packers will need to prioritize the position early to grab an impact player. Green Bay could take a look at Alabama Crimson Tide star Raekwon Davis, or National Champion Rashard Lawrence of LSU with either of their top two picks.
Last, but certainly not least, the Packers need to spend this off-season surround Aaron Rodgers with more speed and talent. Whether it be a wide receiver, running back, or tight end, more help is needed. With Rodgers aging gracefully, Green Bay needs to follow the same blueprint the Patriots and Broncos have. In the twilight of John Elway/Peyton Manning and Tom Brady’s careers, these organizations made sure to surround their superstar quarterbacks with play-makers at every position.
At this stage of his career, Rodgers needs help. Davante Adams cannot be the only viable threat on the outside every game. Thankfully, this year’s draft could include the best wide receiver class of the millenium. Green Bay needs to prioritize team speed. Laviska Shenault of Colorado, Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State, and K.J. Hamler coming out of Penn State would all fit Matt Lafleur’s offense with early round picks.
Keep it locked here all off-season for your Green Bay Packers NFL Draft content!Nick is a lifelong Packers fan. 4th and 26 was on his 13th birthday, unlucky. Follow him @CANDRAFTGEEK647 on Twitter for all your Packers draft needs and questions.