The Green Bay Packers picked 13 players in this past NFL Draft and, like in no other recent campaign, those rookies, out of necessity, will be asked to take a greater role on the team from day one.
But who will rise to the occasion and become impact players from opening day onward? Here’s a look at three rookies who could have the biggest immediate impact on the team.
Luke Musgrave, TE
Before the draft, the roster was sorely lacking in pass catchers. The team had either lost or not re-signed Robert Tonyan, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Marcedes Lewis in the offseason– a foursome that accounted for nearly half of their passing yards last season.
At tight end, Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis remained, but neither is the type of pass receiver who will benefit new quarterback Jordan Love to any significant degree.
Luke Musgrave, the Packers’ second round pick from Oregon State, is a big, athletic pass catcher with a tremendous upside due to his elite-level athleticism and feel for the game. He’ll get his opportunity to shine at the NFL level at a tight end spot that’s wide open on the team.
Jayden Reed, WR
The Packers’ second round pick from Michigan State is another rookie who will be given every chance to shine on a team in need of pass catchers.
Reed is regarded by scouts as a reliable wide receiver and play maker with elite-level catching instincts and high-end speed. He’s also a tenacious ball player who is more than willing to go to war against tough defenders.
On the Jordan Love-led Packers offense, he’ll be a quality asset as not only a dependable pass catcher with big play potential, but also as a fiery, but level-headed field presence.
Lukas Van Ness, DE
Losing the pass rush talents of Rashan Gary last season was a big blow to the Packers’ ability to get to the opposing quarterback. It’s questionable whether Gary, who is recovering from the ACL injury that ended his season, can make opening day. And even if he CAN play, it’s up in the air whether he can be the same impact player.
To address that, the Packers drafted Lukas Van Ness with their first round pick.
The edge rusher from Iowa is strong and agile with good pass rush assets from both the inside and outside. Although still a work in progress as only a two-year college player, scouts see him as having the projectable traits of a high-end NFL starter. He’ll be in the edge rush rotation from day one.