The Packers defense played really well last season under first year defensive coordinator Joe Barry. As Barry enters his second season in Green Bay, his unit is expected to be even stronger. The Packers have superstars at all three levels of the defense and Brian Gutekunst used the offseason to add a few more chess pieces to the group.
Kenny Clark is a stud and this unit now has depth. Dean Lowry stepped up and played well a season ago and with the additions of Devonte Wyatt and Jarran Reed, the defensive line appears to have their best rotation in years. Second year player TJ Slaton showed a few flashes last season and he will also compete for playing time in 2022.
Rashan Gary was incredible last season and has established himself as the Packers best pass rusher. Preston Smith looked more like himself last season and the Packers rewarded him with a contract extension which also saved the team some cap space. The expected release of Za’Darius Smith also saved the Packers cap space, but it significantly hurts the pass rush depth. Behind Gary and Smith, the Packers must hope that a couple of their promising young edge rushers will step up. Tipa Galeai, Jonathan Garvin, Randy Ramsey, LaDarius Hamilton, and incoming rookie Kingsley Enagbare will compete for playing time.
De’Vondre Campbell played better than anyone could have imagined last season on a cheap one year deal. Campbell is now back on 5 year deal and with the addition of first round pick, Quay Walker, the inside linebacker position looks very strong. Krys Barnes has had a great career as an undrafted player and he will provide exceptional depth for this unit. The departure of Oren Burks will open up opportunities for Ty Summers, Isaiah McDuffie, Ray Wilborn, and Tariq Carpenter to compete for depth and jobs on special teams.
Similar to the pass rush room, the Packers secondary has great starters but depth is certainly a question. Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas make up one of the strongest CB trios in the league. Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage proved a very solid safety duo at the back end of the defense. However, behind these 5 DBs the Packers have very little depth and experience. Shemar Jean-Charles and Vernon Scott may have to step up and play larger roles in 2022.
This defense is for real. There are superstars and great starters across the board. Defensive line and inside linebacker certainly have quality depth to support any injuries. Although EDGE and the secondary do not have exceptional depth, the starters at these positions are studs and if they can stay healthy Joe Barry’s defense will be one of the best in the league.——————
Pierson Beatty is a lifelong Packers fan and Journalism student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. You can follow him on twitter at @pierson_gbp .