Following back-to-back losses in the NFC Championship Game, the clock is ticking on the Green Bay Packers to capitalize on Aaron Rodgers’ immense talent. While re-signing Aaron Jones does boost the Green Bay Packers’ depth chart, have they done enough to take the next step? With the NFL Draft quickly approaching, the Green Bay Packers still have work to do to their depth chart and little time to accomplish it.
Green Bay Packers Depth Chart
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love
Running Back: Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor Jr., Mike Weber
Wide Receiver: Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Devin Funchess, Equanimeous St. Brown, Malik Taylor, Juwann Winfree, Reggie Begelton, Chris Blair
Tight End: Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger, Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara
Offensive Tackle: David Bakhtiari, Billy Turner, Yosh Nijman, Zack Johnson
Offensive Guard: Elgton Jenkins, Simon Stepaniak, Lucas Patrick, Jon Runyan
Center: Lucas Patrick, Jake Hanson
Interior Defensive Line: Kenny Clark, Willington Previlon, Anthony Rush
EDGE: Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, Delontae Scott
Linebacker: Za’Darius Smith, Krys Barnes, Kamal Martin, Ty Summers, De’Jon Harris, Randy Ramsey, Oren Burks, Jonathan Garvin
Cornerback: Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Kevin King, Chandon Sullivan, Stanford Samuels III, Ka’dar Hollman, KeiVarae Russell, Kabion Ento
Safety: Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos, Vernon Scott, Henry Black, Innis Gaines, Ray Wilborn
Kicker: Mason Crosby
Punter: J.K. Scott
Long Snapper: Hunter Bradley
Green Bay Packers Depth Chart Analysis | Offense
The reigning NFL MVP looks to make 2021 the year he makes it back to the Super Bowl after falling just one game short the previous two seasons. After throwing for a career-high 48 touchdowns last season, the big question surrounds his future with the team. Rodgers has talked about it a few times when asked, but the team’s lack of an open commitment to their future Hall of Famer raises a serious eyebrow to the future.
Is Jordan Love’s time coming? While the answer might be yes, it won’t happen so long as Rodgers is on the team. The most controversial pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Jordan Love is being groomed as the heir apparent. Yet to see any action on the field, his upcoming preseason performance will surely be overly scrutinized.
In a surprising move, the Green Bay Packers re-signed Aaron Jones to a four-year, $48 million deal. The Packers were in a cap crunch, but they made it work, bringing back one of the most efficient rushers in the NFL. Jones’ 37 rushing touchdowns are the fourth-most among NFL running backs since 2017, and he’s coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
The return of Jones cooled off all the hype surrounding A.J. Dillon, but with no Jamaal Williams, he ascends the Green Bay Packers’ depth chart as the RB2.
Dillon played 97 offensive snaps last season over 11 games. He rushed 46 times for 252 yards (5.3 per carry) and 2 touchdowns. On 11 of his rushes, he converted for a first down or scored a touchdown. He also caught both of his targets for 21 yards. Dillon is a tackle-breaking machine with tree trunks for legs.
Dexter Williams suffered a sprained MCL and saw two carries over three games.
It is Davante Adams’ world, and we’re all just living in it. Adams caught 115 passes (second in the NFL) for 1,374 yards (fourth) and scored 18 touchdowns (first) last year. As the unquestioned WR1 on the Packers’ depth chart, expect to see a similar workload in 2021.
The fact the Green Bay Packers have yet to add more receivers to their depth chart is nearing comical levels. Allen Lazard is, for now, the WR2 for the Packers heading into 2021. He missed six games due to a core muscle injury last season.
Inconsistencies are the issue with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and his status on the Packers. Valdes-Scantling had seven drops, according to Pro Football Reference, including several on deep passes. His 11.1% drop rate was third in the NFL amongst wide receivers.
The forgotten man on the Packers’ WR depth chart is Devin Funchess. After sitting out the 2020 season due to health concerns surrounding the pandemic, Funchess is ready to make his Packers debut in 2021. Funchess is only 26 years old, but he has not appeared in a game since Week 1 of 2019.
TE Robert Tonyan was a revelation for the Packers last season, especially in the red zone. In his third season in the NFL, Tonyan tied Chiefs TE Travis Kelce for a league-leading 11 touchdowns at the position. In fact, Tonyan’s total touchdowns were more than the incomplete targets (7) thrown his way.
In his first two seasons with the Packers, Jace Sternberger has just 12 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in 18 games. Operating as an inline tight end, the Packers re-signed TE Marcedes Lewis at age 37 to a two-year deal during free agency. Josiah Deguara, a third-round draft pick in 2020, will look to bounce back after suffering a torn ACL while blocking on the punt team in Week 4.
While the Green Bay Packers’ depth chart might look familiar in some places, the offensive line lost some critical pieces during free agency. One name who is returning is David Bakhtiari, although not for the start of the season.
During their Week 16 game against the Titans, David Bakhtiari suffered a season-ending torn ACL. Given the 8-12 month timeline, it would be hard to expect Bakhtiari to be available before midseason.
While he struggled at right guard, Billy Turner performed much better at right tackle and should be the Week 1 starter for the Packers.
Yosh Nijman was active for all 16 games for the Packers a year ago but made it onto the field for just 14 offensive snaps. Nijman could see an increased snap count out the gate due to the offensive line’s lack of depth.
While primarily a guard, Elgton Jenkins is expected to fill in for Bakhtiari while he continues his recovery. Jenkins is one of the most versatile players on the team. In his second-year out of Mississippi State, he played at all five spots along the offensive line in 2020 and earned Pro Bowl recognition for his outstanding play.
Simon Stepaniak, the 209th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, didn’t play in a regular season game — he was recovering from a knee injury suffered during his final season at Indiana University while preparing for their bowl game.
Lucas Patrick played in all 16 games this season, missing only one start. The 939 snaps he played in 2020 were more than the last three seasons combined. In two playoff games, Patrick allowed five pressures and zero sacks. Patrick is a candidate to take over as the starting center now that Corey Linsley is with another team.
Playing in all 16 games but never a starter, Jon Runyan Jr. was a favorite of the team last year and someone Aaron Rodgers dubbed “Mr. Reliable.” With the Green Bay Packers’ OL depth chart a mess, Runyan Jr. could be called on for a more substantial role.
Jake Hanson, a 2020 rookie out of Oregon, spent most of the season on either the practice squad or IR. A 49-game starter in college, Hanson will compete for the team’s opening roster.
Packers Analysis | Defense
Interior Defensive Line
Missing three games due to injury, Kenny Clark had a down year in 2020 compared to 2019. He had 42 tackles on 595 snaps, 2 sacks, and 6 QB hits. Meanwhile, Willington Previlon signed with the Packers as a UDFA out of Rutgers and spent the season on the practice squad.
Rashan Gary is starting to look like the player Packers fans were hoping for but rarely saw. Playing in 15 games (four starts), Gary had 5.0 sacks, 35 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, and 11 QB hits. Gary should be the starter coming off the edge in Week 1.
Compared to 2019, Preston Smith had a disappointing season. While playing in 16 games each season, Smith saw his sacks fall from 12 to 4, tackles fall from 56 to 42, and his QB hits cut more than half (23 to 11). After restructuring his contract to free up cap space, the Packers need Preston Smith to bounce back in 2021.
Dean Lowry had a satisfactory 2020 season. It wasn’t great, but good enough for the Packers to keep him around. In fairness, his numbers were not too far off Kenny Clark’s season. Lowry totaled 36 tackles, 3 sacks, 7 QB hurries, and 10 pressures.
Playing in 15 games (nine starts), Kingsley Keke recorded 4 sacks, 8 QB hits, and 21 tackles. Entering his third season, he provides critical depth on the Green Bay Packers’ depth chart.
As a unit, the Green Bay Packers struggled to generate pressure. Their 21.1% pressure rate was sixth-lowest. For perspective, that is two spots worse than the Jets. However, no one can lay blame on Za’Darius Smith. In his second season with the team, Smith more than doubled the next closest Packer in sacks (12.5) while recording 52 tackles and 23 QB hits.
Krys Barnes, a UDFA out of UCLA, was one of the best undrafted players in 2020. In 13 games, including 10 starts, Barnes finished second on the team in combined tackles with 80. He also totaled 5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, and a forced fumble.
Another rookie for the Packers, Kamal Martin, made an impact early into the season. Making a total of 10 starts (six during the regular season), Martin recorded 24 tackles, 3 tackles for losses, 1 sack, and 1 quarterback hit while playing on just 19% of the defensive snaps.
Second-year player Ty Summers played in all 16 regular season games, recording 39 tackles.
Jaire Alexander was as good as they come in 2020; he is the best cornerback on the Green Bay Packers’ depth chart. Targeted just 69 times, Alexander allowed only 35 receptions all season long for 337 yards, 2 touchdowns, and he recorded 1 interception.
For context, he matched up against Mike Evans, Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Calvin Ridley, Allen Robinson, A.J. Brown, and Marvin Jones. Alexander was a first-time Pro Bowl nominee and a second-team All-Pro.
Depth at corner is an issue for the Packers. In 2020, Josh Johnson played 331 snaps in 11 games (five starts) and broke up only two passes.
A 2017 selection of the Packers, Kevin King has posted 169 tackles (129 solo), 6 interceptions, 34 passes defensed, 6 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. In 2020, he was a liability at times. He failed to record an interception and allowed 2 touchdowns during the Packers’ NFC Championship Game defeat.
After just one pass breakup in his first six games, Darnell Savage did a 180-degree turn in 2020. In his final nine games, he recorded 4 interceptions and 11 passes defensed. In 15 games, he finished fourth on the team with 75 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 12 passes defensed.
Leading the team in tackles was Adrian Amos in 2020. Playing a defense-high 1,008 snaps, Amos was first with 83 tackles, second with 2 interceptions, third with 9 passes defensed, and fourth with 5 tackles for losses.
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