Coming off two consecutive seasons as the #1 seed in the NFC, the Packers appear poised for yet another Super Bowl caliber season. Part of that is having the back-to-back MVP, but the Packers roster top to bottom is one of the deepest across the NFL. GM Brian Gutekunst has done an excellent job constantly trying to improve the fringes of the roster, and that has come in handy in a league where injuries are part of the game. Here we try and rank the strength of the Packers position groups from top to bottom.
1. Running Back
Aaron Jones and AJ DIllon combine to form one of the most dangerous tandems across the NFL. Dillon showed last year he is far from a one trick pony, contributing much more so in the passing game. Having Dillon to spell Jones worked well as the pair combined for 1600 rushing yards and over 700 receiving yards. Justis Mosqueda had a great article about how the Packers might be able to deploy both Jones and Dillon together in 2022. Apart from their top two, Kylin Hill and Patrick Taylor both proved capable in limited roles a season ago.
Any position group that includes the reigning back-to-back MVP is clearly pretty well off. Aaron Rodgers comes into 2022 coming off two of his best seasons in Green Bay, and his resurgence under Matt LaFleur cannot be overstated. But this is also a big year for Jordan Love, who will once again get many of the reps through the offseason program and into the preseason. Love showed flashes in the preseason of the traits that made him a first round pick, but those flashes need to become more consistent in order for the Packers to believe he can be succeed Rodgers in the coming years.
3. Offensive Line
This obviously hinges upon the health of David Bakhtiari. The Packers will continue to hold him out through the offseason, but he should be ready for the start of the season. Elgton Jenkins will start the year on PUP, but hopefully should be ready for the back half of the year. And the Packers have to be happy with the competition they’ve created along the interior. Jon Runyan Jr had a solid season a year ago, and Josh Myers should take a jump with a clean bill of health. Add in Royce Newman and rookies Sean Rhyan, Zach Tom and guard will once again be the training camp battle to watch.
After locking up Jaire Alexander to an extension and resigning Rasul Douglas, the Packers ensured their top 3 corners are under contract through 2024. And this will once again be one of the top units in football. Eric Stokes was thrust into a bigger role than anticipated after Alexander’s injury, and played better than the Packers could have hoped for as a rookie. Douglas was the playmaking spark with 5 INTs and 2 TD after being signed off the Cardinals practice squad. Corner would be even higher on this list if it weren’t for the questionable depth behind those three. With two WR converts in Kabian Ento and Rico Gafford, along with Keisean Nixon and Shemar Jean-Charles who both played almost exclusively special teams, there isn’t much proven talent on the back end of this group.
5. Defensive Line
The defensive line is perhaps one of the most improved position groups compared to a year ago. Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, and TJ Slaton all return, but the group is bolstered by the signing of Jarran Reed and drafting of Devonte Wyatt. Wyatt gives the Packers another pass rush threat from the interior. Slaton also showed flashes throughout his rookie year – and gives the Packers the ability to move Clark off of the nose and along the defensive front.
Even with the departure of Za’Darius Smith, this is still a very solid group at the top. Preston Smith rebounded from a disappointing 2020 season in a big way, with 9 sacks and 9 TFL. And Rashan Gary leapt into stardom with his expanded role. Drafting Kingsley Enegbare in the 5th round provided some much needed depth at the position. The Packers preferred to rotate their edge rushers in shifts, so both Enegbare and Jonathan Garvin will likely get plenty of opportunity. Garvin played almost 400 snaps a seaason ago, and has all the physical tools to be a solid depth piece.
After refusing to spend premium capital on the inside, the Packers doubled down this offseason. Resigning All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell was a huge win for the Packers defense. Campbell was everything the Packers have lacked over the past decade at the position. He was reliable in coverage, and quick enough to play sideline to sideline. They then added a Campbell clone in Quay Walker in the first round. This should allow the Packers the ability to play more base defense, Joe Berry’s preference, and not leave themselves with their pants down against the pass.
Another group that is very top heavy. Adrian Amos has been one of the most consistent players on the Packers defense. Darnell Savage had an up and down 2021, but Green Bay has to hope he will return to the form he showed the back half of the 2020 season. The depth apart from the starting two, however, leaves a lot to be desired. Vernon Scott was basically a red-shirt in 2021, and he is the only other safety currently on the roster with any NFL experience.
9. Wide Reciver
Easily the most discussed position group on the Packers roster after the trade of Davante Adams. Many were upset that the Packers didn’t select a first round receiver, but they should feel good about the potential of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. They both offer a downfield threat that was desparately lacking after also losing MVS in free agency. Allen Lazard solidifed himself as a solid #2 option, and proved to be one of the best blocking receivers in football. Randall Cobb looked more explosive than he had at the end of his first tenure in Green Bay… before suffering a core injury towards the end of the season. And the Packers still have high hopes for Amari Rodgers, who should give another YAC threat from the slot.
10. Tight End
The Packers decided to run it back at the tight end position in 2022. After losing Robert Tonyan to an ACL injury against Arizona, they relied mostly on Josiah Deguara, Marcedes Lewis, and Tyler Davis. All of those names return for 2022. The Packers have to hope that Tonyan can return to the production of 2020, and that Deguara takes another step forward after his first full NFL season in 2021. Tyler Davis will be a name to watch in 2022 – a former QB who transitioned to TE in college, he is more of a traditional inline tight end. Brian Gutekunst specifically mentioned Davis after questions for not selecting a tight end in the draft.
Rich Bisaccia certainly has his work cut out for him with this group. Swapping Corey Bojorquez for punter Pat O’Donnell was done to increase consistency not only with punting, but to improve the field goal operation as a whole. The Packers also brought in competition for long snapper for the same reason. The Packers seem to be betting on these inconsistencies causing a rocky season for Crosby. After cutting JJ Molson, it’s likely Crosby is back again, this time with a new holder and possibly new long snapper to boot.——————
Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.