The Green Bay Packers do not look very good in 2023 for a number of reasons. Jordan Love has struggled and has not been able to fill the large shoes vacated by Aaron Rodgers. Defensively, Green Bay is middle-of-the-road in terms of scoring defense but is actually top-10 in yards allowed. That is even without forcing many turnovers, considering the five the Packers have forced are tied for last in the NFL. There are undoubtedly some important Packers position upgrades that need to happen.
Important Green Bay Packers Position Upgrades
Every NFL franchise wishes it had better tackle depth. If the starting left tackle goes down with an injury, it could tank a promising season. With David Bakhtiari on IR and needing additional surgeries, the Packers have had to turn to their seventh-round pick from 2022, Rasheed Walker.
On the year, Walker has graded out as a semi-decent left tackle with a 61.3 PFF grade. He’s allowed two sacks thus far but was thoroughly bullied against the Broncos in Week 7.
Tackle play all over the NFL has not been the greatest of late. In Green Bay, the gap between Bakhtiari and his back-ups is vast and there is no guaranteeing he will get back to form once cleared. Fans have been clamoring for UDFA Yosh Nijman through Walker’s struggles, so it’s safe to say the Packers need to invest in upgrading the position.
As the Packers continue to struggle, they are heading for unfamiliar territory. Following Week 6, the Packers had a 45% chance to pick in the top 10 according to ESPN. If they continue to falter, NFL betting sites are going to have high odds of Joe Alt or JC Latham landing in Green Bay to help shore up the tackle position. Green Bay currently has a meager 26% chance to make the postseason, so all signs are pointing to a high draft pick who could be a tackle upgrade.
Walker was not the only one to struggle against that porous Denver defense. Both guards, Elton Jenkins and Jon Runyan, gave up pressures which added to Love’s bad game.
Jenkins has compounded the poor play of Walker. On the year, he’s earned a 54.6 PFF grade, though he has not given up a sack thus far. He was a second-round pick, so the Packers are likely not going to move on from him.
On the other side, Jon Runyan has not been what he was with the Eagles. He sits with a 56.9 PFF grade and has allowed a sack. However, as with Walker, Runyan was a liability against a bad Broncos defense. He also allowed three pressures and contributed to Love’s struggles, highlighting a Packers position that is in need of an upgrade.
Offensive line was not the only Packers position that faltered against a weak Broncos defense and has, as a whole, underachieved. Ever since trading away Davante Adams, the position has yet to recover. From passing up on Tee Higgins for Love in 2020 to spending seven picks on the position over the last three drafts, the Packers have yet to find that bona fide number-one.
If the team continues on its current pace, Green Bay will finish the year without a 1,000-yard receiver for the second straight year. The receiving corps of Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, and Jayden Reed are solid, but not quite enough to elevate the offense. Even Luke Musgrave, the rookie tight end, is very nearly the second-most targeted player on offense.
Receivers grow on trees. Dozens get selected each year in the draft and even more sign as free agents. However, generational talents like Adams are once in a blue moon. While it can be said about 80% of the NFL, the Packers need one more piece.
They will likely not find it in free agency as a player of that caliber rarely hits the market. However, the 2024 class has the potential to have Higgins, Mike Evans, and Odell Beckham, Jr. If not via free agency, the 2024 NFL Draft class looks like it will be strong in receivers. Either they take an Emeka Egbuka or Malik Nabers early or wait for the next tier. Either way, this receiver corps needs another explosive piece.
The Packers are among the worst rushing teams in the NFL and their position could use an upgrade. As with its receivers, Green Bay is not on-pace to have a 1,000-yard rusher this year and that has plenty to do with the fact that they do not have a home-run threat at the position.
From the running backs, Green Bay has only gotten two touchdowns, one by A.J. Dillon and one by Aaron Jones. Together, they’ve rushed for just 349 yards. With Jordan Love struggling, a non-existent running game is only exacerbating the issue.
Running backs have become expendable in today’s NFL and Dillon is set to become a free agent after the season. The Packers would do well to pick up a back in the next draft with an athletic upside as so many other offenses have done.
With only one position on this list, don’t think that the defense is off the hook. Safety is just the biggest need for an upgrade for the Packers. The biggest issue for the Packers secondary is the fact they may be without starting safety Darnell Savage for the remainder of the year.
Rudy Ford has been decent but the drop off from Savage to his replacement, Jonathan Owens, was steep. Owens, in a small sample, has allowed three receptions on four targets and has committed a few costly penalties. The same could be said about Anthony Johnson, Jr.. Regardless, an upgrade is needed.
The good news for Green Bay is that the free agent pool of safeties, including Savage, looks to be solid. There needs to be a conscious effort to upgrade the back-end of the secondary. In the NFC North, they must have an answer for their division foes’ passing attacks.