The Green Bay Packers re-signed LB Eric Wilson over the weekend. Wilson has spent the past two seasons in Green Bay. Wilson is a vital special teams player. In 2023, he did see an uptick in defensive snaps. Eric Wilson’s return to Green Bay may not be a headline move. However, Wilson’s importance and value to the team is worth discussing. Not only did Wilson deliver statically but his effort is the main takeaway.

Eric Wilson has been the Packers team leader in special team tackles the past two season. Wilson had 11 special team tackles in 2023 and 13 in 2022. In 2023, the Packers, mainly due to injury, used Wilson on defense. Although Wilson may not be the answer to the Packers linebacker hole, he did show that he can play. Wilson will be a nice depth piece in 2024.

The Packers special teams unit in 2023 was not worth celebrating. According to Rick Gosselin, the Packers finished 29th. To say that the Packers need to see improvement from this unit is an understatement. There are numerous flaws. However, it is critical that the Packers and Rick Bisaccia retain the players that produce. In order to see improvement, the Packers must build a special team unit around proven players.

Eric Wilson’s Impressive Effort

Eric Wilson

The biggest reason why the re-signing of Eric Wilson makes sense is his effort. Wilson displayed impressive determination and toughness on multiple occasions in 2023. None bigger than the fumble recovery on Keisean Nixon’s 75 yard kickoff return against the 49ers in the Divisional Round playoff game. Wilson prevented a momentum swinging play from turning into a disaster. The fumble recovery led to a Bo Melton go ahead touchdown. The 49ers still went on to win but Wilson’s effort and heads up play gave the Packers a very real chance of winning the game.

Wilson’s effort will be a valuable asset as the Packers prepare to design an effective scheme around the new kickoff rule. The kicking team players line up at the opponents 35 yard line. Since the players will not be running full speed, it is paramount to play guys who can get off blocks and make open field tackles. In week 1, Wilson tackled Bears returner Tyler Scott at the 11 yard line. Wilson barreled through the Bears kick return coverage to make the tackle. Wilson displayed impressive speed and quickness on the play. The Packers will need that skill set more than ever with the new rule.

Wilson’s skill set gives the Packers an interesting piece. He is not a star but he certainly can provide the Packers with a solid few defensive plays. More importantly, his effort on special teams gives the Packers hope that they can improve in that phase. For a team that struggled on special teams, the key to rebuilding that group is to retain key players and add the right pieces around them. Eric Wilson is a key piece. His importance to the Packers is higher than most realize. It is good to have #45 back in Green Bay.