Each day that passes in the Packers 2022 off-season is like a brushstroke on a Rembrandt. It will be completed at some point, we know, but right now it feels like it could be years.
The goal is to create a work of art that’s greater than the sum of its parts, and for the Packers that means building a roster worthy of hanging in the Louvre.
But for something that exquisite there can’t be any blemishes. So let’s take a look at where the team could use some touch-ups.
Brian Gutekunst’s reputation as a strong talent evaluator is at stake with the Packers 2022 off-season.
The “Butterfly Effect” of trading Davante Adams netted the Packers rookie linebacker Quay Walker, 1/2 of Christian Watson and the ability to retain De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas.
Those are some seriously dynamic additions (we hope, in the cases of Walker & Watson), but the problem is only one of them will be directly involved with actually trying to replace Adams production.
Gutekunst, in addition, snagged veteran wideout Sammy Watkins, and Romeo Doubs in the fourth round out of Nevada.
I wrote here how I feel about what rookie Christian Watson’s ceiling may be (hint: it’s high), but the reality is Watson is going to need some time to adjust to the NFL game, and Aaron Rodgers to him.
Sammy Watkins is a useful guy to have, but has been injury plagued throughout his career and really at this point it’s anyones guess if he even makes the final roster.
Doubs has a very nice skill set, and could be more ready for primetime at this stage than Watson, but being a rookie and mid-round pick, expectations will naturally be tempered.
The rest of the names in both the wide receiver and tight end rooms should be familiar to Packer fans.
I’m not sure it’s a problem yet, but outside of the running back duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon the Packers offense doesn’t really have a focal point, and certainly no one particular player that’s going to strike fear into the hearts of defenders other than the guy under center.
Maybe that’s the smart money bet that Gutekunst is making?
Rodgers will find a way to elevate the guys he has at WR/TE as he has in the past, Matt LaFleur will lean on his (hopefully) stingy defense, strong running game and smart play designs, and Gutekunst will sit back looking like a future HOF executive or the guy who squandered Aaron Rodgers remaining years on a bad bet.
The big issue to me is that we all saw how this movie ended in the the 2021 playoffs. The Packers defense played exceedingly well against the 49ers, and the offense sputtered resulting in another painful playoff exit. The eventual Super Bowl winning LA Rams continued to add dynamic playmakers on offense, whom they rode all the way to the title.
For Rodgers to age gracefully like Tom Brady, he needs his Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown (too soon?). He’s already lost his Mike Evans. Fortunately for Rodgers he’s got some time left (unlike the other #12) to groom one last group of pass catchers. It will again be on Gutekunst and not Rodgers if this group ultimately falls short.
I don’t expect the Packers to add any big names between now and the start of the regular season. Firstly because they don’t have the money to do so, but also because Brian Gutekunst has already pushed his chips in on the offensive side.
We know roughly what we will be getting out of Allen Lazard & Randall Cobb. That means we need a whole hell of a lot out of Watson-Watkins-Rodgers-Doubs.
Defensive Back Depth:
In the NFL you can pick any position on any team and say “Yeah, but what if preferred starter gets hurt? They don’t have anyone behind him!”.
That’s a true statement, and really nothing can defend against a barrage of injuries to any one position group.
But, I think depth for the defensive backs group is generally the most important on the team, maybe second only to the offensive line.
The amount of mixing and matching of defensive sub-packages, coverage tweaks, in-game adjustments and god forbid, injuries, makes having some passible depth necessary.
I should only have to utter the name LaDarius Gunter for you to understand my point.
Thankfully the Packers have arguably the best 1-2-3 of cornerback depth in the NFL, and certainly a top ten duo at safety in Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos.
Beyond that, Shemar Jean-Charles exists as a 2nd year CB out of Appalachian State whom we’ve seen very little of, and safety Shawn Davis a former 5th round Pick of the Colts who has nice measurables.
There are of course a handful of other lottery ticke…I mean depth pieces on the roster currently, but I think you’d agree that the back end of the defense will be in bad shape if they’re playing meaningful snaps.
I was probably one of many who thought the Packers would take a swing at one of the top rated safeties in the 2022 draft class, but I was pretty surprised when they left the draft without a single developmental defensive back.
Perhaps all we need to know is that the Packers brass feel confident in the total number of high end players at their respective positions, and if injury were to strike they can move guys around as they see fit and come out okay.
I’d feel most comfortable if they brought in one of the veterans still available like a Kyle Fuller or a Jaquiski Tartt for a look.
If the defense is going to be the star of the show for the foreseeable future, why not double down and make damn sure?
As a Packer fan, it feels pretty good to be writing an article complaining about why the fourth guy on the depth chart isn’t any better. But also, as a Packer fan, why isn’t the fourth guy on the depth chart any better?