2023 NFL Offseason: Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers (Last Year: 8-9)

2023 NFL Season Preview:

Veteran Additions:
CB Tarvarius Moore.
Early Draft Picks:
DE Lukas Van Ness, TE Luke Musgrave, WR Jayden Reed, TE Tucker Kraft, DE/DT Colby Wooden, QB Sean Clifford, WR Dontayvion Wicks, DT Karl Brooks. Packers Rookie Forecast
Offseason Losses:
QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Allen Lazard, TE Robert Tonyan, TE Marcedes Lewis, DE/DT Dean Lowry, DT Jarran Reed, S Adrian Amos, K Mason Crosby.

2023 Green Bay Packers Offense:
For the first time since 1992, the Packers will enter the season without Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback. There was plenty of drama regarding a potential Rodgers trade to the Jets, but it finally occurred prior to the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Packers will be starting “No Cookie” Jordan Love as their new quarterback. Love has plenty of upside with a big arm and mobility, but he was seen as a raw quarterback entering the NFL. Love was terrible in his lone start, but thrived in relief of an injured Rodgers during a Sunday night battle against the Eagles this past season. Either way, there’s not much of a sample size with Love, so it’s impossible to know what to expect with him.

What can be expected is for Green Bay’s receiving corps to be inconsistent. Christian Watson has electric play-making ability and huge potential, but he’s still a raw player who will make mistakes. He’s still a dynamic threat, but he happens to be the only one in Green Bay’s receiving corps. Romeo Doubs had a nice start to his 2022 season, but his production fell off a cliff as the season progressed. The Packers lost Allen Lazard this offseason, but spent a second-round pick on Jayden Reed, who has a chance to be a starter in the slot. Another second-round selection was used on tight end Luke Musgrave, who figures to be an upgrade over the departed Robert Tonyan.

Green Bay will have more certainty in the backfield with Love. The two primary running backs, Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, will return for another season. The two will continue to split the workload, which will frustrate fantasy players.

Love and the two backs will have solid protection from their offensive line, though the unit has some liabilities. Of course, David Bakhtiari is one of the best left tackles in the NFL. He’ll play next to left guard Elgton Jenkins, who has been a solid performer at both tackle and guard in recent seasons. Zach Tom, chosen in the fourth round last year, had a quality rookie campaign at right tackle.

The two weaker spots on the line are at center and right guard. Jon Runyan Jr., stationed in the latter spot, is an average player at best. Center Josh Myers, however, should have been upgraded this offseason.

2023 Green Bay Packers Defense:
While the Packers spent a couple of second-round picks on offensive play-makers, they used their opening-round selection on this side of the ball. Many thought that Jaxon Smith-Njigba or a tight end would be their target at No. 13 overall, but the Packers drafted Lukas Van Ness instead to bolster their pass rush.

Green Bay ranked in the top 10 of pressure rate last year, but a major reason for that was the team blitzed at the fifth-highest frequency in the NFL. This exposed their cornerbacks, so the Packers correctly deemed it necessary to find help so they could get to the quarterback without blitzing so much. Van Ness tested extremely well athletically at the combine, so the upside is certainly there to be a perennial Pro Bowler. He’ll form a talented rotation with Preston Smith and Rashan Gary. Smith has logged 17.5 total sacks in the past couple of years, while Gary has notched 15.5 in that span.

The Packers will be hoping that Van Ness performs much better than both of their first-round picks from a year ago. One of them, Devonte Wyatt, had trouble getting onto the field, playing very limited snaps for most of the year. The Packers will need for him to be used more because, outside of Kenny Clark, they have a weak defensive front. Nose tackle Tedarrell Slaton should not be playing as much as he did this past season.

Green Bay’s other first-round rookie from 2022, Quay Walker, was better than Wyatt, but only by default. He covered well for a linebacker, but was one of the worst tacklers in the NFL. The Packers at least have De’Vondre Campbell in the linebacking corps to make sure the position isn’t a complete disaster. It’s amazing how great of a leap Campbell has made since his early days in the NFL when he looked like nothing more than just a backup at best.

Another player who went from being a mediocre reserve to a quality starter is Rasul Douglas. A former journeyman, Douglas has developed into a solid nickel corner. He and Pro Bowler Jaire Alexander allow cornerback to be a strength for the Packers, though former first-rounder Eric Stokes, who starts across from Alexander, is coming off a poor season.

Perhaps the greatest weakness the Packers have on this side of the ball is at safety. Former first-rounder Darnell Savage has been a huge bust thus far, but he’ll continue to start because Green Bay didn’t find a viable substitute. The other safety, Jonathan Owens, might even be worse than Savage.

2023 Green Bay Packers Schedule and Intangibles:
Green Bay is 158-54-2 at home since 1992 – the year Brett Favre first became a Packer. Aaron Rodgers continued the tradition; he was 89-20-1 as a host. It remains to be seen if Jordan Love can perform similarly.

Mason Crosby is no longer going to be kicking for the Packers. Sixth-round rookie Anders Carlson will be doing so instead.

Pat O’Donnell had one of the league’s worst net punting averages in 2022.

Green Bay has to battle the Chiefs and Chargers, but there are many other easier non-divisional games, including the Rams, Raiders, Buccaneers, Saints, and Panthers.

2023 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.

2023 Green Bay Packers Positional Rankings (1-5 stars):
Offensive Line
Running Backs
Defensive Line
Special Teams

2023 Green Bay Packers Analysis: The Aaron Rodgers era has finally come to an end, though it could be argued that it was over last year because Rodgers wasn’t nearly himself as a result of his broken thumb. Still, it’s difficult to project how Jordan Love will perform on a full-time basis. Love could have the Packers competing for a playoff spot in a weak conference, or he could have them drafting in the top 10 next April.

Projection: 8-9 (3rd in NFC North)

2022 Projection: 12-5. 2022 Actual Result: 8-9.
2021 Projection: 11-6. 2021 Actual Result: 13-4.
2020 Projection: 7-9. 2020 Actual Result: 13-3.
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: C Grade

Goals Entering the 2023 NFL Draft: The Packers will be moving on without Aaron Rodgers. With Rodgers no longer on the team, Green Bay can no longer count on its quarterbacking turning water into wine in regard to its receivers and tight ends. I’d expect the Packers to load up on those positions. They also need to address the offensive line and pass rush.

2023 NFL Draft Accomplishments: The Packers made 13 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, and yet only one was graded higher than a B+. That was the second-round selection used on Luke Musgrave, who should give No Cookie Jordan Love a reliable intermediate threat.

There were some other solid picks. Lukas Van Ness at No. 13 didn’t blow me away, but he should help a pass rush that had to rely on the blitz far too often last year. Tucker Kraft is another quality tight end, while Colby Wooden will also get to the quarterback from the interior.

However, the Packers also made some very dubious choices. For instance, they reached on Jayden Reed in the middle of the second frame when far better receivers were available. They wasted a pick on Sean Clifford. Even worse, they gave the Lions a talented safety in Brian Branch, who might snatch some interceptions from Love.

I don’t know how closely Love was following the draft as it unfolded, but he might now have an idea of how it felt to be Aaron Rodgers. The Packers didn’t have a terrible draft by any means, but it was very underwhelming.

NFL Draft Individual Grades:

13. Lukas Van Ness, DE, Iowa – B+ Grade
Lukas Van Ness was all over the place. Some considered him a possibility at No. 10, while the Bengals thought he would fall to them at No. 28. This is probably the right range. Van Ness is very athletic, so he fits what Green Bay looks for in its prospects. The Packers had to blitz very frequently last year in order to get to the quarterback, so taking Van Ness makes sense.

42. Luke Musgrave, TE, Oregon State – A- Grade
The run on tight ends continue! Luke Musgrave is a prospect who drew lots of acclaim from scouts even though he wasn’t as productive as expected at Oregon State. He makes sense as a high-upside player for the Packers, and No Cookie Jordan Love should make good use of him. The Packers really needed a play-maker, and Musgrave as one of the best of those still on the board.

50. Jayden Reed, WR, Michigan State – D Grade
Well, at least the Packers are drafting a receiver. Jayden Reed is an explosive receiver, but he’s small. I had him slotted in the fourth or fifth round. I think this is a reach, but it’s not an overly egregious one. Still, you have to wonder about drafting Reed with Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman available.

78. Tucker Kraft, TE, South Dakota State – B Grade
Another tight end is odd, especially with all the issues at receiver, but the Packers can run multi-tight end formations. Tucker Kraft is pretty raw, but he has major upside, so I’m fine with this pick. It could have been better though.

116. Colby Wooden, DE/DT, Auburn – B+ Grade
The Packers needed to continue to address their pass rush, which was very weak last year when they didn’t blitz. Colby Wooden will help generate pressure on the quarterback as a 3-4 defensive lineman. I had him in this range in my mock, so I like the pick.

149. Sean Clifford, QB, Penn State – D Grade
It’s the quarterback who beat out Will Levis in college. That said, Sean Clifford seemed like a seventh-round prospect at best, so I don’t know why the Packers drafted him this early.

159. Dontayvion Wicks, WR, Virignia – B Grade
The Packers obviously needed a receiver, and they’re getting a decent prospect in Dontayvion Wicks. The Virginia product has some speed concerns, but he’s a tall, lengthy receiver who could be a good weapon in the red zone.

179. Karl Brooks, DT, Bowling Green – C+ Grade
Karl Brooks was very productive at Bowling Green as an interior pass rusher, but he’s not a very good athlete so the upside is limited. He can also get run over in the ground game. There’s some potential, but I thought Brooks would be a UDFA.

207. Anders Carlson, K, Auburn – B Grade
Again, I have no problem with a kicker or a punter in the sixth round. The Packers needed to replace Mason Crosby, so they have my full support.

232. Carrington Valentine, CB, Kentucky – B Grade
Carrington Valentine is a cornerback with some upside, but he was very inconsistent during his time at Kentucky. I’m fine with this pick, given the potential.

235. Lew Nichols, RB, Central Michigan – C+ Grade
Lew Nichols runs with good power and vision, but he lacks upside as someone with very limited speed. He also doesn’t have much receiving ability. I would have liked to have seen a player with more upside with this pick.

242. Anthony Johnson, CB, Virginia – B+ Grade
Anthony Johnson is a big cornerback who may not be agile enough to run with speed receivers. I thought he could go earlier than this, however, so I like this value for Green Bay.

256. Grant DuBose, WR, Charlotte – B- Grade
Grant DuBose has nice size at 6-2, 200, but he lacks speed and separation ability. This pick doesn’t have much upside.

Season Summary:
The Packers endured a rough time in the middle of the season because of Aaron Rodgers’ broken thumb. Green Bay then caught fire toward the end of the season, but lost in major disappointing fashion in the finale.

Offseason Moves:
  • Packers sign CB Tarvarius Moore

    Team Needs:
    1. Wide Receiver: We saw some flashes of brilliance from Christian Watson in his rookie year, but the Packers are still desperate for help at the position.

    2. Two Safeties: Green Bay’s secondary was a disaster last year. Two new safeties are needed if Adrian Amos isn’t re-signed. Darnell Savage was a huge bust.

    3. Defensive Tackle: How many years have the Packers struggled against the run? That has to change at some point. Perhaps that’ll be this offseason.

    4. Right Tackle: A better bookend for David Bakhtiari is needed so Elgton Jenkins can move back inside to guard.

    5. Edge Rusher: The Packers needed to blitz often to get to the quarterback. It would help if they add a talented edge rusher.

    6. Tight End: Another receiving threat is needed at tight end. Robert Tonyan is an impending free agent, but he needed to be upgraded anyway.

    7. Kicker: Mason Crosby is set to hit free agency, so he’ll need to be re-signed or replaced.

    8. Punter: The Packers have maintained a lackluster punting unit for quite some time. Pat O’Donnell should be upgraded.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2023 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Tarvarius Moore, CB, 49ers. Age: 27. — Signed with Packers

    Green Bay Packers Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Adrian Amos, S, Packers. Age: 30.
      Adrian Amos inexplicably had the worst season of his career by far in 2022, as he was torched in coverage quite often. Amos is usually a great player in Green Bay’s secondary, so perhaps he’ll bounce back in 2023.

    2. Mason Crosby, K, Packers. Age: 38.
      Mason Crosby had another strong season, going 25-of-29. However, he was just 1-of-4 from 50-plus.

    3. Allen Lazard, WR, Packers. Age: 27.
      Signed with Jets (4 years, $44 million)

      Allen Lazard is a solid possession receiver, but doesn’t offer much upside.

    4. Jarran Reed, DT, Packers. Age: 30. — Signed with Seahawks
    5. Dean Lowry, DE/DT, Packers. Age: 29. — Signed with Vikings (2 years, $8.5 million)
    6. Robert Tonyan, TE, Packers. Age: 29. — Signed with Bears
    7. Yosh Nijman, OT, Packers. Age: 27.
    8. Marcedes Lewis, TE, Packers. Age: 39.
    9. Justin Hollins, DE/OLB, Packers. Age: 27. — Re-signed with Packers
    10. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers. Age: 33. — Signed with Jets
    11. Corey Ballentine, CB, Packers. Age: 27.
    12. Dallin Leavitt, S, Packers. Age: 29.
    13. Jonathan Ford, DT, Packers. Age: 24.

    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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