Packers Preseason: 5 Players to Watch in Week 1

With the Packers preseason opener only one day away, there are still many roster spots and positional battles up for grabs. The three preseason games with be the only truly live action to judge, and will be an opportunity for many of the fringe roster players to make a statement. Here are five to watch for in Week 1:

G/C Jake Hanson

Hanson was selected just 16 picks after fellow offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. in 2020. But his Packers tenure to this point has gone very differently. He spent the entirety of 2020 on the practice squad, and in 2021 he played a total of 6 offensive snaps. A relative unknown, Hanson was drafted as a center, where he played all four years at Oregon.

But throughout this offseason he has taken reps at guard, including first team reps at right guard. Now, the Packers have always valued positional versatility on the offensive line. But this also feels similar to the Packers trying Kamal Martin at Edge a season ago, which ended up being a last ditch effort to keeping him on the roster.

Hanson has a leg up in that the Packers depth at center is unproven. Josh Myers missed a significant chunk of the year last season, and back-up Lucas Patrick is now a Bear. But Green Bay invested a fourth round pick in Zach Tom, who also has experience at center. These three preseason games will be big for Hanson to try and cement a spot on the roster.

S Vernon Scott

Scott appears to have the lead in the battle for the third safety spot thus far in camp. He has gotten reps with the starters after Darnell Savage injured his hamstring during Family Night. Scott had a promising rookie season in 2020, playing 89 snaps on defense primarily in the box. He also played another 184 snaps on special teams. But 2021 was essentially a redshirt season – playing a total of 17 snaps on specials teams and none on defense. This camp he has started to make some splash plays, including an interception of Aaron Rodgers in a two-minute drill. He and Shawn Davis will continue to battle it out for that primary back-up spot.

K Gabe Brkic

Mason Crosby, who will turn 28 before the Packers kick-off the regular season, has remained on the PUP list throughout camp. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on his kicking leg this offseason, while also coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro. For now, Brkic is the only other kicker on the roster. But he has failed to seize the opportunity in front of him so far, and time may be running out.

The Packers worked out three different kickers on Tuesday. One of them was Aldrick Rosas, who has four years of NFL experience and was even a 2nd team All-Pro in 2018 for the Giants. Brkic has a lot to prove in order to stick around in Green Bay.

WR Samori Toure

Toure was the third receiver taken by the Packers in the 2022 draft, and as a 7th round pick didn’t generate nearly the buzz of Christian Watson or Romeo Doubs. Doubs has been the star of camp so far, but Toure has shown out in his own right. He has demonstrated big play ability and good body control. The WR depth chart may not be as top-heavy as years past, but it is deep. And Toure is probably fighting Juwann Winfree for the final spot. With Christian Watson looking more likely to start the season on PUP, Toure has a better chance, but will need to continue to impress to get there.

RB Tyler Goodson

Goodson was the en vogue pick after this year’s draft for undrafted player most likely to make the roster. But that was for good reason. He had a heralded career at Iowa, and has experience with the zone heavy scheme Matt LaFleur loves to run. He also has the ability to contribute in the passing game, which has been another emphasis in Green Bay. With Kylin Hill still on the PUP list, and Patrick Taylor missing time with a groin injury, Goodson has the inside track to the third RB position.

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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.

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