The Packers biggest criticism throughout the 2022 season was their failure to surround QB Aaron Rodgers with enough firepower at the skill positions. Relying on rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to play pivotal roles led to serious growing pains early on. But watching the Super Bowl this past weekend should also serve as a wake-up call for their need to solidy the offensive and defensive lines.
The Chiefs had a similar offseason as Green Bay – dealing away a top five wide receiver. They also chose to piecemeal their WR room with mid-level players offering a variety of skill sets. But what allowed them to return to their 3rd Super Bowl in five years was retooling their fronts. Having Patrick Mahomes doesn’t hurt, either. But they weren’t satisfied relying on stars Chris Jones and Frank Clark rush the passer.
They spent a first round pick on George Karlaftis, who generated 8 sacks and 49 total pressures as a rookie. They signed Carlos Dunlap, who added another 41 pressures. This was on top of the 153 pressures they got from Jones and Clark. And then, there was the Eagles. Their historic pass rush propelled their own Super Bowl run. They had four players with at least 11 sacks, and five players with over 45 total pressures. For reference – Preston Smith led the Packers with 10 sacks, and Kenny Clark led with 45 pressures.
Sunday’s game was ultimately won, however, by the Chiefs offensive line. They kept a hobbled Mahomes clean all night, not allowing a single sack. And it was a strength of theirs all season. They ranked first in the NFL in ESPN’s pass block win rate for the year.
This was also an area that was far too inconsistent for Green Bay. David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins both seemed to return to form towards the end of the season. But the rest of the unit was far too up and down, and it helped end their season. Detroit was able to create 16 pressures against the Packers in Week 18. Rodgers was clearly uncomfortable all night, and pressure led to two sacks and Rodgers game sealing interception.
Looking at the plethora of mock drafts that have already filled the internet, it’s the same story for Green Bay. Many putting wide receivers, tight ends, an occasional safety at pick #15. But it might be wise for them to try and bolster the trenches. As Ted Thompson wisely would say, “the good lord only made so many of them.”——————
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.