Green Bay Packers (Last Year: 13-3)
2020 NFL Season Preview:
WR Devin Funchess, OT Ricky Wagner, LB Christian Kirksey.
Early Draft Picks:
QB Jordan Love, RB A.J. Dillon, FB Josiah Deguara. Packers Rookie Forecast
FB Dan Vitale, WR Geronimo Allison, TE Jimmy Graham, OT Bryan Bulaga, DE/OLB Kyler Fackrell, LB Blake Martinez, LB B.J. Goodson, CB Tramon Williams.
2020 Green Bay Packers Offense:
It's almost as if the Packers forgot how close they were to the Super Bowl last year. For those like the individuals in the Green Bay front office that have amnesia, the Packers battled the 49ers in the NFC Championship. San Francisco won that game easily, but if the Packers had another receiving threat and a couple of players who could help clamp down on the run, they may have gone on to battle the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
Rather than find upgrades in those departments, the Packers opted to quit on the current group of players and instead look toward the future, as they spent their first-round pick on quarterback Jordan Love. A worse version of Jameis Winston, Love is very raw and needs a year or two to potentially transform into a viable starter. It makes sense to develop a quarterback to eventually replace Rodgers, but the Packers wasted an opportunity to advance to the Super Bowl this year.
Rodgers, instead, will have to throw to the same receiving group, which is packed by nothing but pedestrian talents, excluding Davante Adams. Perhaps Allen Lazard, hero of the Monday night victory against the Lions, will make a leap after flashing at times in 2019, but there's no hope otherwise. Both Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were huge disappointments last year. The Packers also didn't get anything out of 2019 third-rounder Jace Sternberger, but he'll replace Jimmy Graham as the starting tight end this year.
Love wasn't the only foolish pick the Packers made in the 2020 NFL Draft. They also spent a second-round choice on A.J. Dillon, a middling plodder who should've been chosen in the fourth frame. Dillon will be Green Bay's third running back, playing behind the impressive Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Both will enter free agency after this season, so Dillon will have more of a role in 2021, but it's puzzling as to why the Packers didn't address an immediate need instead.
Making matters worse, Green Bay's offensive line will be worse this season. The Packers said goodbye to long-time right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who signed with the Chargers. They replaced him with the oft-injured Ricky Wagner, who has declined in recent years because all of his maladies have sapped his talent. The Packers at least still have David Bakhtiari, one of the premier left tackles in the NFL.
Green Bay also has a hole in its interior offensive line, as Billy Turner was overpaid in last year's free-agent spending spree. Luckily for the team, it hit with Elgton Jenkins, a second-round pick from 2019. He should only improve next to solid center Corey Linsley.
2020 Green Bay Packers Defense:
It was obvious the Packers needed to upgrade their receiving corps, and yet they didn't do it. The same could be said of their atrocious run defense. It was inexplicably untouched this offseason, so it'll once again be difficult for Green Bay to contain opposing rushing attacks.
The Packers never recovered from losing Mike Daniels, and that can be evidenced by their defensive line play last year. Nose tackle Kenny Clark was excellent, but the opposite can be said of ends Tyler Lancster and Dean Lowry. The Packers recently spent a first-round selection on Rashan Gary, who was expected to slip because of his lack of passion for football and poor work ethic. Instead, Green Bay selected him earlier than anyone anticipated, and Gary was predictably woeful in his rookie campaign.
Green Bay's defensive line being steamrolled by opposing rushing attacks won't make things any easier for a linebacking corps that had to be upgraded this offseason. Instead, the Packers' linebackers are even worse now. Blake Martinez is gone, and he wasn't replaced properly. The Packers signed Christian Kirksey away from the Browns to play next to the struggling Oren Burks, but the injury-prone Kirksey hasn't performed well in years.
It's not all bad for the Packers' stop unit, as they're capable of placing consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This is because of Za'Darius Smith, who had a terrific first season in Green Bay. Factor in the decent Preston Smith, and Green Bay should be able to harass quarterbacks easily as long as the two Smiths are healthy. There is no depth at the position, however.
As long as Green Bay is getting after the quarterback, the secondary should continue to perform well. Young cornerback Jaire Alexander has developed into a great player. The Packers also have a pair of recent second-round choices, Kevin King and Josh Jackson, who have plenty of promise. King improved last year after a rough start to his career, while Jackson was never healthy because of a lingering foot injury.
Speaking of young defensive backs with promise, 2019 first-rounder Darnell Savage had an inconsistent rookie campaign. He has tons of athleticism, so if he can play smarter, he can become a great safety. If so, Green Bay will have an amazing tandem at the position, as Savage will continue to start along with the excellent Adrian Amos.
2020 Green Bay Packers Schedule and Intangibles:
Green Bay is 142-51-2 at home since 1992 - the year Brett Favre first became a Packer. Aaron Rodgers is continuing the tradition; he's 68-14-1 as a host the past 11 years.
Mason Crosby had a great year once again, hitting 22-of-24 attempts with only one missed extra point.
Green Bay wasted a fifth-round pick on a punter in 2018. JK Scott finished 27th in net average as a rookie and "improved" to 24th last year.
The Packers had poor special teams in 2019, as they were outgained on both punt and kickoff returns by a wide margin.
Green Bay has a middling schedule. There are some tough games, like at Saints, at Buccaneers, at Colts, at 49ers and vs. Eagles, but they also get to beat up on the Jaguars, Falcons, Panthers and Bears (twice).
2020 Green Bay Packers Rookies:
Go here for the Packers Rookie Forecast
, a page with predictions like which rookie will bust and which rookie will become a solid starter.
2020 Green Bay Packers Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
2020 Green Bay Packers Analysis:
The Packers are coming off an extremely disappointing offseason. They were so close to the Super Bowl last year, yet they failed to upgrade their roster. In fact, given the departures of Bryan Bulaga and Blake Martinez, as well as the growing possibility that Aaron Rodgers either regresses or gets injured, it's reasonable to expect the Packers to miss the playoffs in 2020.
7-9 (2nd in NFC North)
2019 Projection: 12-4. 2019 Actual Result: 13-3.
2018 Projection: 11-5. 2018 Actual Result: 6-9-1.
2017 Projection: 11-5. 2017 Actual Result: 7-9.
2016 Projection: 12-4. 2016 Actual Result: 10-6.
NFL Draft Team Grade: F Grade
Goals Entering the 2020 NFL Draft: Aaron Rodgers is entering the twilight of his career, so it's rather disappointing that the Packers don't have any viable receiving threats for him outside of Davante Adams and maybe Allen Lazard. The Packers' top priority is to give Rodgers a couple more weapons. They also must make sure they upgrade their porous run defense.
2020 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Packers were in the NFC Championship last year. It could be argued that they didn't deserve to be there, but they were, and if they had more help at receiver and a player or two to help stuff the run, they may have beaten the 49ers. With the Packers being so close to another Super Bowl, logic dictated that they would add weapons around Aaron Rodgers to help put them over the top.
Instead, the opposite happened, as they reached for Jordan Love, doing so via a trade where they hopped over teams that didn't need quarterbacks. This was an irresponsible decision that in no way mirrored Green Bay's pick of Rodgers in 2005. Back then, Brett Favre was flip-flopping back and forth about his retirement decision, and Rodgers was a prospect who was considered to be in play for the No. 1 overall pick. Rodgers has said nothing of retirement, so using a first-round pick on a raw quarterback was irresponsible. If the Packers wanted a worse version of Jameis Winston, they should have just signed Jameis Winston.
Things somehow didn't get any better on Day 2. The Packers wasted a pick on fourth-round plodding running back A.J. Dillon when they had no need at the position. They then used their third-round choice on a seventh-round fullback prospect. It's almost as if the Packers outsourced their drafting decisions to Bill Belichick's dog.
The Packers made some fine selections on Saturday, but nothing they could've done in Rounds 4-7 could make up for their disastrous first half of the 2020 NFL Draft. They deserve an "F" for their absolutely atrocious drafting.
NFL Draft Individual Grades:
26. Jordan Love, QB, Utah State - O'BRIEN Grade
Wow. This is terrible. The people on TV are comparing this to the Aaron Rodgers pick from 2005, but the difference is that Rodgers was considered a No. 1 overall pick prospect who just happened to fall. Jordan Love was never that good. Love is an extremely raw quarterback who has some major decision-making issues. He has high upside, but chances are that he flops. This, of course, means that the Packers aren't helping Rodgers win now, so they might as well trade him. If I were a Packer fan, I'd be very disappointed right now, and I imagine Rodgers is quite upset as well.
Also, why the trade up? Whom were the Packers attempting to jump for Love? This is just a dumb pick.
62. A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College - O'BRIEN Grade
The Packers must have wanted Jalen Hurts because they reached for a running back with the Oklahoma quarterback off the board. The Packers don't need a running back at all with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams on the roster, so there was absolutely no need to select a fourth-round running back prospect in the second round. If I were Aaron Rodgers, I'd demand a trade at this very moment.
94. Josiah Deguara, TE, Cincinnati - BELICHICK'S DOG Grade
Is Bill Belichick's dog doing the entire Green Bay draft? I don't understand anything the Packers have done thus far. This pick is just awful. There were better tight ends available. I get that the Packers are filling a need, but they're doing so with a prospect some teams thought would be available in the seventh round.
175. Kamal Martin, LB, Minnesota - C- Grade
The Packers needed linebacker help, but they could've done better than this. I've had Kamal Martin in the seventh round as a special-teamer. His instincts as a linebacker are terrible, so he'll have to play on fourth down only unless he really takes to coaching.
192. Jon Runyan Jr., G/OT, Michigan - B Grade
Jon Runyan Jr. performed well at the combine, and I eventually moved him into the seventh round. He has some potential to becoming a starter, and he has versatility, so I like this pick for the Packers. Finally.
208. Jake Hanson, C, Oregon - A Grade
I like this pick for the Packers, so they've finally rebounded. It's too late, unfortunately. Nevertheless, Jake Hanson is a solid center who can eventually emerge as a starter if he improves his strength.
209. Simon Stepaniak, OT/G, Indiana - B Grade
The Packers continue to bolster their offensive line depth well with a player who is versatile. Simon Stepaniak can play guard or right tackle, and he projects as a good run blocker. Pass protection must improve, so he's a project.
236. Vernon Scott, CB/S, TCU - C- Grade
I didn't view Vernon Scott as a draftable prospect. He'll be able to play on special teams, but I wouldn't count on him making the 53-man roster.
242. Jonathan Garvin, DE/OLB, Miami - B+ Grade
Jonathan Garvin was a very inconsistent player at Miami. He has nice ability, so if he's coached up, he could be a valuable rotational piece in the edge-rushing group.
The Packers did better than most expected in 2019, ultimately advancing to the NFC Championship. They were thoroughly outclassed, however, and it's apparent that they have lots of work to do in order to win another Super Bowl.
Packers sign WR Devin Funchess
Packers sign OT Ricky Wagner
Packers sign LB Christian Kirksey
- Two Wide Receivers: The Packers had a pathetic receiving corps, save for Davante Adams. They need multiple upgrades at the position, as Aaron Rodgers has to constantly rely on throwing to scrubs. Signed Devin Funchess
- Defensive Tackle: Green Bay has really missed Mike Daniels. The team was helpless to tackle Raheem Mostert in the NFC Championship.
- Two Linebackers: Sticking with the theme of the front seven, the Packers need to overhaul their linebacking corps. Two new players are needed at the position, or just one if Blake Martinez is re-signed. Signed Christian Kirksey
- Guard: Billy Turner was overpaid. He was a liability for the Packers up front, so they could consider finding someone better to shield Rodgers.
- Right Tackle: Bryan Bulaga is an impending free agent who must be re-signed. Signed Ricky Wagner
- Cornerback Depth: The Packers aren't very deep at the position, so I expect them to find some better depth at the position.
- Kicker: Mason Crosby's contract is set to expire. Re-signed Mason Crosby
Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
2020 NFL Free Agent Signings:
Ricky Wagner, OT, Lions. Age: 30.
Signed with Packers
Ricky Wagner signed a 5-year, $47 million contract three years ago. His tenure in Detroit began well, but injuries have sapped him of his effectiveness. As a result, he struggled in 2019. There's a chance Wagner can rebound in 2020 - he's only 30 - but he could also continue to regress.
Christian Kirksey, LB, Browns. Age: 28.
Signed with Packers (2 years, $16 million)
Christian Kirksey was a bright, rising star several years ago. The Browns certainly thought so when they gave him a 5-year, $38.7 million contract. However, Kirksey has been a major disappointment since. Injuries have played a part - he played in just nine games over the past two seasons - but he hasn't played well when on the field either. Perhaps Kirksey can rebound, but he'll likely need to settle for a 1-year "prove it" deal in the meantime.
Devin Funchess, WR, Colts. Age: 26.
Signed with Packers (1 year, $2.5 million)
Devin Funchess signed a 1-year "prove it" deal, but barely played for the Colts because of injuries. He's still young and talented enough to thrive if he gets healthy.
Green Bay Packers Free Agents:
Salary Cap: TBA.
Mason Crosby, K, Packers. Age: 35.
Re-signed with Packers (3 years, $12.9 million)
Mason Crosby has been one of the top kickers in the NFL for a very long time. He was 22-of-24 in 2019, missing just one extra point.
Bryan Bulaga, OT, Packers. Age: 31.
Signed with Chargers (3 years, $30 million)
Bryan Bulaga is still one of the top right tackles in the NFL. If it weren't for his checkered injury history, he'd be graded even higher than four stars.
Blake Martinez, LB, Packers. Age: 26.
Signed with Giants (3 years, $30 million)
Blake Martinez is an excellent coverage linebacker. He struggled in run support last year, but he's still very young and can improve in that regard.
Kyler Fackrell, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 28.
Signed with Giants (1 year, $4.6 million)
Kyler Fackrell produced 10.5 sacks in 2018, but he didn't get to play as much this past season because the front office added Za'Darius and Preston Smith.
Tramon Williams, CB, Packers. Age: 37.
Tramon Williams struggled early in the year - he was torched by Chad Beebe in Week 2 - but he was stellar down the stretch as Green Bay's slot corner.
Dan Vitale, FB, Packers. Age: 26.
Signed with Patriots
Dan Vitale was a solid blocker for the Packers this past season.
- Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers. Age: 26. -- Signed with Lions (1 year)
- B.J. Goodson, LB, Packers. Age: 27. -- Signed with Browns (1 year)
- Jimmy Graham, TE, Packers. Age: 33. -- Signed with Bears (2 years, $16 million)
- Marcedes Lewis, TE, Packers. Age: 36. -- Re-signed with Packers (1 year)
- Jared Veldheer, OT, Packers. Age: 33.
- Ibraheim Campbell, S, Packers. Age: 28.
- Jake Kumerow (RFA), WR, Packers. Age: 28. -- Re-signed with Packers (1 year)
- Ryan Grant, WR, Packers. Age: 29.
- Jason Spriggs, OT, Packers. Age: 26.
NFL Free Agent Tracker:
QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors
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