The NFL Quarterback is arguably the single most important position in all of sports. Having a Hall Of Fame QB start for your team is a luxury most teams don’t have and automatically puts you in the conversation of Super Bowl Contenders. However this Green Bay Packers Roster? This roster has enough talent to get to the playoffs no matter who starts at QB, and once you get to the playoffs anything can happen. Here’s why Green Bay will make the playoffs this year:
The Running Backs
Green Bay has quietly turned into an extremely efficient running team over the last two years. Over the last two seasons they have rushed for an average of 122.3 yards a game, which is good enough to be in the top 10 in the NFL. Aaron Jones has proven himself as one of the best RBs in the NFL. Since 2019, he has accounted for 30 total TDs. That is good enough for second in the NFL (tied with Dalvin Cook, and only behind Derrick Henry). The mind blowing stat behind that is Aaron Jones accomplished this with only 533 total touches. Dalvin Cook had 659 total touches, and Derrick Henry had a whopping 718. Aaron Jones is a big play waiting to happen, and we haven’t even touched on what A.J. Dillion can bring to the run game.
The Offensive Line
Green Bay has arguably two #1s in the entire NFL on their offensive line. You would be hard pressed to find a LT who has been performing better than David Bakhtiari over the last five years. You would also be just as hard pressed to find a LG who has been performing better than Elgton Jenkins over the last two years. Jon Runyan and Billy Turner round out the right side of the line. Josh Myers is the rookie out of Ohio State that is being asked to replace the great Corey Linsley. They also happened to go to the same college and play the same position. The Green Bay Packers have a knack for drafting good interior offensive lineman. We are returning four of our five starters after a year that Pro Football Focus (PFF) graded this group #2 in the entire NFL. In 2020 the Green Bay Packers offensive line ranked #1 in time to pressure per drop back with a mark of 2.67 seconds, and were 4th in the league in most yards before contact per run (non QB runs) with a mark of 1.92. Green Bay has excelled in both run and pass blocking for multiple years, this year should be no different.
The Pass Rush
It is no secret that Green Bay’s pass rush dipped bit from the 2019 season, but they still remain with two players in the top three of their respective positions. Kenny Clark and Za’darius Smith are two of the games’ best. Smith has had back to back double digit sack seasons, has been in the top 5 for pressure rate two years in a row. Kenny Clark is widely regarded as a top 3 DT in the NFL and puts up corresponding numbers year after year. Rashan Gary looks to be finally living up to his 12th over pick, according to PFF he racked up 9 sacks, 46 pressures, 31 hurries, and 22 stops while only playing 44% of snaps in 2020. This man is a superstar in the making. The last piece to this puzzle is Preston Smith who had an outstanding 2019 season, but dropped off mightily in 2020. Part of his drop off could be contributed to Rashan Gary getting more playing time, but I give Preston 1 more year in Green Bay to prove that 2019 was not a fluke. I do not see Green Bay holding onto P. Smith an extra few years like they did Nick Perry.
Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage have quietly turned into one of the best (if not the best) safety duos in the NFL. Adrian Amos ranked as PFF’s 2nd best Safety in the NFL after the 2020 season, Darnell Savage finished 17th (out of 94). Since 2018, no safety in the league has been worth more wins above a replacement-level player than Amos, according to PFF WAR. Savage stepped in with solid play immediately as a coverage defender in his rookie year, but he became more of a complete player in 2020 with much-improved run defense. The safety tandem of Amos and Savage along with Alexander as the team’s CB1 gives Green Bay a chance to field an elite secondary if it can find quality pieces at cornerback to fill out its starting lineup.
Davante Adams is a perennial all-pro and one of the best WRs in the NFL. After that? It may be a deeper WR room than you think. Devin Funchess is a player that Matt Lafleur has raved about so far during OTAs. “Well, he sure looks the part, there’s no doubt about that, you’re talking a big, strong, long, physical guy that can run and sink his hips.” This is a hungry guy who’s body has taken a break from the beating for a year and wants to prove himself. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling combined for 1,100+ yards and 10 TDs in 2020 and stepped up in big time games more than once. Most notable was Lazard in New Orleans and MVS in the NFC Championship Game. These two WRs have all the potential to make an impact this coming year. Amari Rodgers was a stud at Clemson and one of the few wideouts in this years’ draft class who was categorized and NFL-ready. Whether it’s a full-go in the slot from the start in Week 1 or using him in a Tyler Ervin type roll, Amari will have a role in this offense from the start. Green Bay is heading into 2021 with a deeper WR corps than they have had in years, not to mention the threat Aaron Jones brings in the passing game.
Green Bay has one of the deepest tight end groups in the league led by All-pro SNUB Robert Tonyan. Big Bob Tonyan ended last year with 580 receiving yards and 11 TDs. Over the last two years he has become a legitimate redzone threat. With over 80 targets during that time span, he had ZERO drops. Marcedes Lewis, the ageless wonder and blocking MACHINE has proven to be impactful in the run game. Green Bay is still figuring out what they have in their young talents with Josiah Deguara and Jace Sternberger, each have provided meaningful playing time off the bench. In 2020 Josiah Deguara was turning heads with his blocking prior to his injury, this will be a very interesting position battle throughout the season.
Green Bay has a top five player in the entire NFL at RB, WR, CB, S, LT, RG, OLB (pass rush), AND DT. On top of that, they have plentiful depth at OL, WR, TE, RB, and defensive line. If you don’t think this team has talent to win no matter who starts at QB, you are choosing not to see it.
For more Wisconsin Sports news
Follow me on Twitter at @mcquadewarnold and follow us @WiscoHeroics1 for more great content. Check out our merch page here and use promo code Wisco at check out for $1 off! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!