The Packers have released their tentative initial 53 man roster on Saturday. Here’s the position-by-position breakdown for Wisconsin Sports Heroics.
Quarterbacks (3): Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle, Jordan Love (R)
Coming as a shock to nobody, the quarterback room saw little change from last year, other than the addition of rookie Jordan Love; whom the Packers chose in the first round of the 2020 draft (No. 26). Aaron Rodgers will be the presumptive starter with Tim Boyle as QB2, and Jordan Love as QB3.
RBs (4): Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Tyler Ervin, A.J. Dillon (R)
Aaron Jones likely takes a bulk of the carries as RB1, with Williams and Dillion splitting carries as RBs 2 and 3. Dillon looks to make an instant impact on offense with his powerful, explosive running style while Williams is also looking to solidify his spot as RB2 behind Jones. Tyler Ervin will likely be used as a gadget guy within the offense; which he excelled at under LaFleur last season. It will be very exciting to see how this position group grows in the regular season.
WRs (5): Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Equanimeous St. Brown, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Malik Taylor
The wide receiver group got noticeably thinner and different with the departures of both Darius Shepherd and fan favorite Jake Kumerow, but this position group is still promising nonetheless. After Adams, you have a decent trio of talent. MVS has gotten immense praise from Rodgers in training camp. When asked who he thought had progressed the most at wide receiver he said “MVS is a guy who I have a ton of confidence in. I really feel like, if he can continue to grow, he can really add to our football team. I look for him to make big strides.” Rodgers is looking for MVS to have a great year, as are most Packer fans.
As for Allen Lazard, Rodgers also heaped plenty of praise onto him as well. “Everybody has talked about Allen [Lazard], and it’s pretty easy, because the guy is a professional. He’s really worked on his game.” After a great 2019 season, Lazard looks to build upon that in 2020. Despite the Packers not drafting a wide receiver, this position group still looks very promising.
TEs (4): Jace Sternberger, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Josiah Deguara (R)
The starting tight end is going to be Robert Tonyan over Jace Sternberger. This was actually the right move. Initially, people were clamoring over Sternberger getting the starting job but as just a 2nd year player, that would put a ton of stress on him. Tonyan, while still young, can better handle the reigns as the number one tight end. There’s no doubt that Sternberger’s skillset will still see him contribute in 2020, it just won’t be an overwhelming contribution.
The offseason also saw another tight end get re-signed in Marcedes Lewis. Lewis, now in his third year with Green Bay, looks to be the veteran presence and leadership within the tight end room. He should also see some form of on-field reps in games. Whether it’s blocking or catching downfield, Lewis has proven he can do both at an exceptionally high level. Rookie Josiah Deguara rounds out the group. At 6’5″ and 248 lbs, Deguara brings in another dimension at tight end that can very well be the key that unlocks the full potential of the offense under LaFleur’s leadership. He has the ability to make contested catches while also contributing as a blocker and downfield threat with great open field speed. Look for him to have a very promising rookie season.
OL (9): David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Corey Linsley, Lane Taylor, Billy Turner, Rick Wagner, Lucas Patrick, Yosh Nijman (R), Jon Runyan (R)
Offensive line is a position that the Packers have lacked depth in for around 5 seasons or so. With the exception of David Bakhtiari, Green Bay really hasn’t had a consistent rotation of players across the board. This year though, Green Bay stocked up on them; let’s hope it pays off in the regular season and beyond. The combination of Bakhtiari and Jenkins at #1 and #2 respectively should bode well for them in 2020. The additions of Wagner (free agency), and Runyan/Yinman (drafted), should add some much needed depth to a position group that had long since lacked it.
DL (5): Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster, Montravius Adams
Defensively, the Packers had one glaring problem that reared its ugly head in the NFC championship game….. Stopping the run. The front office did little to nothing to change that, other than re-signing Kenny Clark to a 4-year, $70M extension back in mid August. It looks like the coaching staff is banking on either Lowry or Keke taking a step up in 2020 in helping Kenny Clark defend on the front of the line. Whether or not that strategy will work itself out remains to be seen.
OLBs (5): Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Jonathan Garvin (R), Randy Ramsey
The additions of the Smith brothers in 2019 paid huge dividends for the team as a whole last year. The dominant defensive duo combined for 26 ½ sacks in 2019 and are the first duo in NFL history with 12-plus sacks each in their first season as teammates. They both are looking to build on an already impressive resume heading into 2020. Another promising Packer looking to take a step forward in year two on the team is Rashan Gary. Gary was limited with a shoulder injury last season but did not require offseason surgery. Gary looks to rebound with a promising start in year two under Mike Pettine. Rookie Jonathan Garvin (Miami) and Randy Ramsey (Arkansas, UDFA), are also looking to make an impact in 2020. Both players have great skill sets as pass rushers on the outside. Time will tell whether or not they succeed in Mike Pettine’s scheme.
ILBs (4): Christian Kirksey, Kamal Martin (R), Oren Burks, Ty Summers
With rookie LB Kamal Martin (Minnesota) out 6-8 weeks due to offseason surgery, it looks as though third year player Oren Burks has to step up as the Packers’ number two linebacker. He was limited in both 2018 and ’19 with injuries but now, at 100% health, look for Burks to reemerge as one of the Packers’ top defensive players alongside their free agent pickup and fellow linebacker Christian Kirksey. Ty Summers should also play a role; although most likely as a specialist.
CBs (6): Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Chandon Sullivan, Josh Jackson, Ka’Dar Holman, Kabion Ento
This position group is loaded with talent for Green Bay. Let’s start with Jaire Alexander. Coming off of a very impressive season in 2019, he looks to improve on it ten fold in 2020. He has excellent pass coverage ability along with elite speed on the outside to keep up with talented wide receivers. Kevin King is a guy that when healthy, can be an elite cornerback both in coverage and outside. We’ve seen flashes of greatness with him at that position.
Chandon Sullivan, who recently had been named as the starting nickel cornerback, looks to improve on a great 2019 campaign. Look for him to use his hybrid player type as both a linebacker and cornerback to his advantage in 2020. Next up is third-year Josh Jackson out of Iowa. He had 22 total tackles in 2019 (11 solo and assisted), with zero interceptions. You can bet he’ll be looking to improve on that in 2020. A foot injury in 2018 left him unable to compete for the starting job and led to both Chandon Sullivan and Will Redmond vaulting over him on the depth chart. He ended up just playing 69 total snaps. In 30 total career games, he’s only started in 10 of them. We will see if he can bounce back with an impact in 2020.
Ka’Dar Hollman, a second-year Packer, looks to improve on a great second year campaign in 2019. Drafted out of Toledo, Hollman has many great traits as a starting cornerback like elite open field speed, great hands, and great pass coverage ability. You can bet that Mike Pettine will be looking to improve those skills even more for him in 2020. Hollman definitely has a promising future in Green Bay — it’s just a matter of putting it all together on the field. Lastly is UDFA Kabion Ento out of Colorado. Originally positioned at wide receiver, he was converted to cornerback once picked up by Green Bay as a practice squad player in September of last year. Expect Ento to play mostly as a backup or special teams guy.
S (5): Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Raven Greene, Will Redmond, Vernon Scott (R)
The top four players in this group will see significant playing time in 2020. Amos, Savage, Redmond, and Greene all have very good tools and potential to take this safety group to the next level in 2020. It’s just a matter of making it work on the field. Rookie Vernon Scott looks to make an impact right away in his first year in Green Bay. Time will tell if either of those things come to fruition.
STs (3): Mason Crosby, J.K. Scott, Hunter Bradley
Veteran kicker Mason Crosby looks to maintain his great level of play as the Packers’ leading point scorer in franchise history. He had a very impressive season in 2019, making 22 of 24 field-goal attempts; good for 91.2% accuracy, the highest of his career. Punter J.K. Scott, in his third year out of Alabama, will also be looking to improve on a great 2019 campaign. Of Scott’s 148 career punts with Green Bay, 48 landed inside the 20 yard line. He also averaged 44.3 yards per punt in his career.
What do you think about this year’s Packers? Will this team do enough to reach the postseason again or even the super bowl? Let me know in the comments below and as always, follow me on Twitter at @ParkerMoes and follow us @WiscoHeroics1 for more great content! To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in Wisconsin sports, click here!