It was a season of unheralded players stepping up and making unexpected contributions for the Green Bay Packers, who rode that wave into an unexpected postseason berth. While the likes of Jordan Love and Dontayvion Wicks commanded the headlines, there are plenty of other contributors that deserve credit as well.

While the following list may only include three names, there are countless others who stepped up and helped the Packers exceed most everyone’s expectations. 

Rasheed Walker

In his second season with the Packers, Rasheed Walker emerged as the potential long-term replacement for David Bakhtiari after a standout 2023 season. The 6’6″, 324-pound tackle made starts in 15 of 17 regular season games, helping protect Jordan Love’s blindside while proving to be a solid blocker in both the run and passing games.

Walker allowed only six sacks and committed just six penalties throughout the season, according to PFF. With Green Bay rushing for the 15th-most yards in the league and Love being one of the fewest sacked quarterbacks last season, Walker’s impact was definitely felt in both areas of the offense.

With the future of Bakhtiari still up in the air as he looks to return from injury, Walker has become a pleasant surprise for the Packers, who once again hit a home run on a late-round offensive lineman.

isaiah mcduffie, green bay packers

Isaiah McDuffie

Thrust into a larger role with De’Vondre Campbell’s injury-riddle season, Isaiah McDuffie made an immediate impact on the Packers’ defense in 2023. The 227-pound linebacker made his first career start this past season, racking up 73 total tackles in 16 games.

Having been limited to spotty defensive snaps in the past, McDuffie graduated from being a core special teams contributor to also having a role on defense, which could very well help him stick earn a role in Jeff Hafley’s new defense.

While not seen as an uber-athletic linebacker, McDuffie is more than willing to be involved in every play, even if it doesn’t show up on the stat sheet. With the LB room always needing more depth, look for McDuffie to continue to grow into his role moving forward.

Karl Brooks

It only took one season for Bowling Green defensive lineman Karl Brooks to make a name for himself in Green Bay, and how he finds himself as a strong addition to the pass-rush rotation. Selected in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, Brooks wasn’t expected to become such a key contributor this early in his career, but he joins a long list of Day 3 draft picks turned impact players.

Four sacks and 10 tackles doesn’t really jump out for Brooks, but there are plenty of moments in the game that stand out for how he’s making an impact. While the likes of Kenny Clark and Devonte Wyatt are the bigger names in the defensive tackle group, Brooks is making a name for himself by doing the dirty work, something that will keep him with the Packers for a long time.


Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23