The Green Bay Packers ushered in a new era during the 2023 off-season. Trades, free agency moves, and the 2023 NFL Draft transformed this team into one of the younger units in the entire NFL. The 2023 NFL Draft class could go a long way toward how this new era in Green Bay pans out. Many of the rookies are already making strong first impressions, however, there is one who is certainly standing out.
Green Bay Packers Rookie Lukas Van Ness Making Strong First Impression
According to Jack Gentry:
Kenny Clark is entering his seventh season with Green Bay. A key cog in the Packers’ pass rush, Clark has seen plenty of talented players come and go. When Clark speaks people listen. That is why his praise for Van Ness should be taken seriously.
“He’s going to be great for us,” Clark said about Van Ness. “He’s going to be versatile, play a lot of different spots. He’s big and strong, so I think he can play inside, playing the 5 (tech), playing the 3 (tech) inside, and pass rush. He’s still agile enough to go out and play on the edge. Versatile guy, big and strong, he’s fast on the ball, and he has a good long-arm from what I’ve seen training with him.”
Van Ness tallied 10.5 sacks in his junior year at Iowa last season. He established himself as one of the best pass rushers in college, making plenty of extra money along the way.
If Van Ness can make an instant impact on Green Bay’s defense, he will have a great opportunity to make even more cash in the coming years. More importantly, an effective Van Ness should translate into a top 10 defense for the Packers in 2023.
Shortly after the 2023 NFL Draft, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy compared Van Ness to legendary Packers pass rusher Clay Matthews. On Thursday, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery compared him to another former Pro Bowl Packers edge rusher:
“I think the biggest thing is most outside rushers have the ability to bend, (use) speed and get off the edge. But the guys that have to come inside, you can’t always just win with speed inside. You’ve got to have some type of power element, and that’s something that (Za’Darius Smith) had, and this is something that Van Ness has. He has the power, just like Rashan does, when he gets healthy, to be able to go in there and be an effective rusher.”
Many Packers fans were skeptical of the draft pick, and it didn’t help that the Packers passed on Ohio State Wide Receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. However, early returns are indicating that Van Ness could be an intriguing corner stone of the Packers defense for years to come.
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