The Green Bay Packers recently wrapped up their training camp and preseason. Several players stood out with stellar performances, putting themselves in a position to make an impact for the Packers this season. Here are five of the biggest standouts for the Packers this summer.
Sean Clifford Emerges as Backup Quarterback
One of the most surprising standouts was rookie quarterback Sean Clifford. The Packers took some criticism for drafting Clifford in the fifth round, but he quickly silenced the doubters. Clifford finished the preseason completing 41 of 57 passes for 391 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. His strong play won him the backup job behind Jordan Love.
Clifford displayed command of the offense and enough arm strength to make NFL throws. He was also impressed with his athleticism. According to Clifford, by the second week of training camp, he felt fully comfortable running the offense. His culmination was a solid showing in the preseason opener against the Bengals. Clifford proved capable of succeeding in the NFL if needed, despite not yet being tested in a regular season game. He will likely see favorable NFL betting odds as Love’s top backup.
Rookie Corner Carrington Valentine Flashes Potential
Seventh-round pick Carrington Valentine was drafted largely for his blazing 4.44 second 40-yard dash time. But throughout camp, Valentine displayed he is much more than just fast. The 21-year-old rookie consistently made plays in practice and preseason games. He finished the preseason as the team leader with six passes defensed and an interception.
Valentine has proven to be smart, instinctive, and mature beyond his years. He is a virtual lock to make the 53-man roster and contribute in the secondary this season. Valentine has taken full advantage of his opportunities.
Offensive Lineman Zach Tom Wins Starting Job
Heading into camp, Zach Tom was battling Yosh Nijman for the starting right tackle job. Not only did Tom win the competition, he showed the potential to develop into an elite starter. The versatile Tom can play anywhere on the offensive line but excelled when given the chance at right tackle.
Tom provided stability to a position of need for the Packers. Even if he moves around the line, Tom has earned the trust of the coaches with his strong camp performance.
Undrafted Rookie Malik Heath Climbs Depth Chart
An undrafted free agent from Mississippi State, wide receiver Malik Heath entered camp under the radar. But he consistently moved up the depth chart with an impressive summer. Heath led the Packers with 12 catches for 146 yards in the preseason. He even earned starts with the first-team offense against starters late in camp.
Heath’s strong route running, hands, and playmaking ability could make him the No. 4 receiver in Week 1. While he still has to prove himself against starting defenses, Heath has done everything asked of him so far.
Jordan Love Shows Progress as a New Starter
While Jordan Love experienced the typical highs and lows of a young quarterback, his camp performance was generally encouraging. He finished the preseason with a 109.8 passer rating while displaying poise and command of the offense. Love seems ready to successfully replace Packers legend Aaron Rodgers as the new starting quarterback.
Love took the necessary steps forward in his development throughout training camp. He heads into the regular season with momentum after not being surprised by anything he faced this summer. The Packers have reason for optimism with Love leading the offense into a new era.
The Packers appear to have found several hidden gems and future contributors during training camp. The standout performances from these five players have created excitement for the regular season. Green Bay’s newest starters and role players will soon face the ultimate test when the real games begin.