The Green Bay Packers appear to be “running it back” for the 2021 season. They ended the 2020 season just one possession short of a Super Bowl appearance, and it seems that they won’t be making many changes to the roster going into this next season.
Green Bay will be returning almost every starter to the roster. Aside from Corey Linsley, the few that are leaving had no significant impact last season. Christian Kirksey was a starter, but due to his injuries, he missed significant playing time. Instead of looking for high value free agents to add to the team the Packers are looking to their returning players to develop further, and make the jumps needed to reach the title game.
A.J. Dillon is being asked to take over the reigns at RB2 after a fantastic last quarter of the season. His surge into playing time could be a great boost for the offense. He will serve as a dynamic power back who is strongest between the tackles, and a nice counter to Aaron Jones one-cut style of play.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is being asked to step completely into the Number 2 slot alongside Davante Adams. He’s also being asked to fix his drop issues that put a damper on his otherwise great season. MVS had 7 drops last season compared to his 33 receptions per Pro Football Reference. That is almost a drop every 4 catches, which is not what a team wants from their number 2 receiver. If he can fix these issues, he is sure to see his production take an even bigger jump than it did last season when he nearly eclipsed 700 yards and hauled in 6 TDs.
It is unclear the moves that will be made on the offensive line, but once David Bakhtiari returns the Packers are deep enough to have 5 solid starters protecting their reigning MVP. Elgton Jenkins played fantastically in 2020, as did Billy Turner. They are both quite versatile players who can move around on the line when needed. Lucas Patrick and Jon Runyan will need to take steps up, but since they won’t be relied on as main focal points, they should stand their ground just fine. Overall it seems that the line should adapt well to the loss of Linsley.
The big question mark still remains the secondary. The Packers gave Kevin King a prove it deal, a surprise to many. This deal could however result in a great positive for the Packers long term. If King finally hits his stride, stays healthy and is a solid CB2, this could be the year for Green Bay. If not, his cap hit is small, and they can find his replacement either this year in the draft, or in the free agency market next offseason. Either way, there is time to figure out the lack of consistency behind Jaire Alexander.
While Free Agency is ongoing and the Packers could very well still make a move, many of the big targets are off the board, and the Packers have stayed relatively quiet. They could still make attempts at players to fill these holes, such as Richard Sherman, Mitchell Schwartz, or even seeing the return of Casey Hayward, but these moves don’t seem likely.
The Green Bay Packers don’t have much cap space to work with, but it seems that their faith in the roster at hand is strong, and they are confident that these players will once again make another deep playoff run, possibly this time winning the NFC Championship.
Kaleb is currently attending UW Green Bay pursuing an English degree. His lifelong goal is to one day work for ESPN. You can follow him on twitter at @kaleb_baumgart.
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