Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, David Bakhtiari, Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Christian Kirksey, Adrian Amos, and Mason Crosby all share one similarity (besides currently playing for the Green Bay Packers) – they all are some of the most experienced players on the team and are integral to the success of the younger members of the roster.
And with how the current NFL offseason has been progressing in a virtual fashion, these veterans are going to be even more important to helping the incoming rookies and younger players with their development.
For Rodgers, he is going to be looked at as a mentor for the team’s first-round pick this year, Utah State QB Jordan Love, and while in-person offseason activities will eventually happen, the hardest part for a rookie of any position is to be able to learn the playbook. Rodgers, who is going to be going into his second season at the helm in a Matt LaFleur offense, knows the cadences very well (even with the normal offseason changes), so with Love coming in fresh, Rodgers can at least offer up various in-game situations to run the rookie through to help give him a bit of a leg up before coming back to in-person meetings.
Jones is obviously going to be tied to helping AJ Dillon take his power-running abilities from Boston College and translate them into being a bruiser in the NFL. While Jones is a guy who thrives on making opponents miss, Dillon’s MO is tied to how he runs through and over people; regardless, Jones can help work with Dillon on his understanding of outside zone plays versus inside dives, pass-blocking responsibilities, screen game nuances, and other RB duties that can help make Dillon a valuable runner, especially in the colder months of the season.
While no receivers were drafted this year, Adams still has a bit of a role with working with tight end / H-back Josiah Deguara, especially with helping with some of the slot and split-wide responsibilities. Adams is still counted on to block on running plays too, especially for boundary plays and outside zone runs, and Adams can help give Deguara some tips on how to lock up, even though Adams is definitely fighting a losing battle in the weight category.
Bakhtiari may have the most important role this offseason in helping the three OL draftees get acclimated to the team. While a center and two guards were drafted and Bakhtiari is a left tackle, he can still offer up solid blocking techniques, ways to not get called for holding by the refs, and line calls that all O-Line members must know and be aware of.
The Smith Brothers only have seventh-round selection Jonathan Garvin as an addition to the defensive line unit, but the former Florida Gator brings a ton of upside and a high ceiling to the NFL, so maximizing those talents early on in his career is going to be integral to how good he can be. The Smiths both have extensive history on wreaking havoc in opposing backfields, and with Garvin being a solid pass rusher to boot, he could for sure benefit from listening to the two veterans on their swim move techniques, bull-rush characteristics, and how they make sure that they are involved in every play.
Kirksey’s involvement falls into helping Kamal Martin in his acclimation to the NFL, and each of these players has Big Ten roots (Kirksey – Iowa and Martin – Minnesota), so the similarities between the two can already help build a bond in the LB room. Kirksey was brought in to replace Blake Martinez in the middle of the offense, and Martin will be looked at as an LB depth piece, creating turnovers and playing solid pass coverage, all while helping coordinate schemes and coverage alignments and stopping the run, all elements that Kirksey has familiarity with and can help with, due to his history of having played in a Mike Pettine-run defense before.
Amos would be a great teacher for TCU safety Vernon Scott to listen to, as the seventh-round pick needs to do whatever he can to impress in an already-full safety room. By biding his time on special teams, Scott could very well break camp being one of the more trusted members of the coverage unit, with the potential to work his way into playing some defensive snaps. With Amos, Darnell Savage, Raven Greene, and the other safeties on the roster, playing time could be scarce, but Amos would be a huge help for Scott to learn coverage callouts, how to more efficiently play center field, and what it takes to be a ball-hawking safety in the NFL.
No specialists were drafted or brought in as free agents this offseason, so there is no true direct correlation for Crosby to help with this offseason. However, his veteran perspective, tied to how he has been able to remain in Green Bay for his entire career, can help give rookies a fresh look at how to take advantage of the situation that has been given to them and how to maximize their skills to become a household name.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