Training camp is almost here and that means starting spots are up for grabs and jobs are on the line.
With a full preseason, including preseason games, making a return this year, Brian Gutekunst, Matt LaFleur and his coaches will get a proper look at their roster ahead of the 2021 campaign.
Here are five players for whom camp will be most crucial this summer:
Sternberger’s time in the NFL has been tumultuous to say the least.
The tight end has had to deal with multiple concussions, other injuries and a bout of COVID-19 during his first two years in the league, and is now facing a two-game suspension to start 2021.
With Robert Tonyan enjoying a breakout season and the rest of the tight end room well stocked with blocking specialist Marcedes Lewis, the versatile Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney, who forced his way into the lineup at the end of last year, the former third round pick Sternberger needs to prove he is worth one more chance.
Equanimious St. Brown
EQ has also had his share of injury issues since his arrival in Green Bay. A high ankle sprain cost him the entire 2019 season and he also missed time in 2020.
He has flashed at times during his limited action, but with Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Amari Rodgers dead certs to make the team, that leaves St. Brown fighting with Devin Funchess and a handful of younger receivers for one or maybe two roster spots.
Funchess has more experience and is arguably a more proven commodity, and the likes of Malik Taylor and Juwann Winfree are more likely to contribute on special teams. EQ faces an uphill battle to make the roster.
Jackson is another player drinking at the last chance saloon.
After the Packers brought back Kevin King as well as drafting Eric Stokes and Shemar Jean-Charles, the former top 50 draft selection appears to be falling further down the depth chart.
The same issues that Jackson had coming into the league have stuck with him, with his penchant for drawing yellow flags one of the factors keeping him out of the line-up.
Jackson was a healthy scratch at times last season due to his lack of special teams contribution and will now be hoping a scheme change can revive his green and gold career.
Packers fans will be hoping not to see Love in the regular season, but finally getting the chance to watch him in the preseason is an exciting prospect.
Love was up and down during OTA’s earlier in the offseason, so training camp will be vital for him to show continued development.
He could shut some people up with good performances in preseason games and give a glimpse of what’s to come, maybe even as early as 2022.
After a stellar first season in Green Bay, Smith stalled last year, failing to reach the standard he previously set.
His sack numbers dropped from 12 to four between 2019 and 2020, leaving some to question his physical condition.
Rashan Gary will be going all out to take more of Smith’s snaps away this year and establish himself as the Packers’ number two edge rusher, so Preston needs to hit the ground running in camp if he is to keep his starting spot on defence.
Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW.