How Much Will The Packers’ Sophomores Impact the Team?

Thousands of pages have been dedicated to the recent NFL draft and how the players selected will impact the team this year. It’s unlikely that more than two or three of those players will have a material impact, but the Packers’ sophomores could have more of an impact that anyone expects. Let’s go over the best candidates for a second-year breakout.

Eric Stokes

Stokes was almost universally panned as a selection and then outperformed all expectations. He was a reliable number 2 corner for most of the season and has the make up speed that 99% of NFL corners can only dream of.

I wonder if Stokes outperformed in his first year and may take a step back in year 2. NFL teams didn’t attack his weaknesses all that much and he was able to use his speed to cover up some mistakes. More tape on him may mean more targets.

I hope Stokes gets some time in the slot. He showed a willingness to tackle last season and certainly has the quicks and size to stick with slot receivers.

Josh Myers

Myers was having a pretty solid season before getting hurt. He is big for a center and was reportedly drafted to add a little more power to the interior of the o-line. This years’ pick of Sean Rhyan was made for similar reasons.

Looks for Myers to take a step forward with a better handle on the offense and get excited for him to double team defensive tackles with Rhyan.

Amari Rodgers

Rodgers was an exciting pick and then a meh/10 as a player. Many fans have already written him off, but they must’ve forgotten Davante Adams first two seasons.

Adams was justifiably nicknamed Dropvante by many fans. Wide receiver can be a hard transition for players who played in a more spread style offense in college and aren’t truly great athletes.

Rodgers may have lost his chance with the drafting of three receivers who can duplicate everything he can do in the offense. His best bet at a legitimate NFL career may be a position change to running back, but that spot may be even more crowded on the Packers’ depth chart.

Don’t be surprised if Rodgers impresses this season and is a slot stalwart by year’s end. Don’t be surprised if he has a poor camp and is shipped to the Jets for Denzel Mims at the end of training camp.

TJ Slaton

Slaton could be the key to the Packers’ defense evolving. Kenny Clark and Devonte Wyatt can wreak havoc rushing the passer one-on-one against a guard if Slaton is able to absorb a double team on the nose.    

A d-line with three guys who can beat blocks consistently and free up the linebackers to roam would be at least two guys better than it was last year.  It would allow Joe Barry to devote more resources to stopping the pass without having to worry about the run. A three-man line with Clark/Wyatt/Slaton could be flanked by Gary and Walker with Campbell in the middle. That grouping could potentially pressure the passer consistently and stop the run all while allowing five defensive backs to take care of the pass.

Shemar Jean-Charles

Jean-Charles didn’t do much his rookie year and only had a few snaps on defense. His best hope at impacting the defense in his second year may be by proving he can play the third safety spot. If Jean-Charles can reliably defend the deep zones, Amos and Savage can play closer to the line of scrimmage.

It’s also possible that Jean-Charles could secure a niche as slot corner. It’s unlikely that he would beat out any of one of the big three corners on the team, but he could play in dime or if there’s an injury.

Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.

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