The Green Bay Packers drafted linebacker Lukas Van Ness from Iowa with the 13th overall selection (first-round pick) in the 2023 NFL Draft. Van Ness has not gotten off to a fast start in his NFL career and many Packers fans were hoping he’d be playing better as a rookie.
He only has recorded 13 tackles, one sack, and one pass deflection so far this season. Time will tell if Lukas Van Ness will get more snaps or if he will become a better player over the next couple of years. There was one linebacker on this team that also got off to a slow start in his NFL career, but also got the bag when producing.
Rashan Gary was also a backup when he was first drafted by the Packers. He was behind Za’Darius and Preston Smith. Green Bay was right with his developmental plan and hopefully the same can be said about Van Ness.
However, Van Ness is currently backing up Preston Smith. Green Bay should have made room for him by trading Smith at the NFL trade deadline, which is something general manager Brian Gutekunst didn’t do. He is going to have to make that decision this offseason.
Rashan Gary is the other starting outside linebacker for the Packers. If Green Bay isn’t going to Van Ness as planned, they could have drafted Broderick Jones with the 13th selection, who went one pick after Lukas Van Ness. Jones was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers and he has been a total rock for them on the offensive line this year.
The offensive line is one of the biggest needs this offseason for Green Bay. They have made many questionable drafting decisions over the last several years.
Lukas Van Ness Needs More Snaps for the Green Bay Packers For the Rest of the Season or Show Promise in Year 2
The Packers are 3-6 this season and it appears as if this is a lost season. The young players who have not seen enough reps need to see more snaps like Van Ness. Green Bay will most likely miss the playoffs this season and need to see what they have for 2024 and potentially beyond.
There is talent on this roster, but it is a very young roster despite many fans questioning the general manager. Lukas Van Ness needs to see the field and get more stats into his cupboard. If that does not happen this season, the Packers have to find a way to get Preston Smith off the roster and start Van Ness opposite Gary next season.
If they were to do that and there is no significant progress from Van Ness, then it could very well become a major problem for them. For now, he isn’t a bust, but it can become a problem if there isn’t much production by this time next season.