Green Bay Packers February Scouting Report
Anything I might write in this report doesn’t change where the Packers left off at the end of last year. The preferred fantasy selections are QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, WR Davante Adams – and depending on how you view it, PK Mason Crosby, and the Packer Defense. With HC Matt LaFleur and a coaching staff firmly in place there won’t be the drama in Green Bay that existed last year. There are more changes coming player wise – but this year the question is where? The Packers have 14 unrestricted free agents (UFA), 1 restricted free agent (RFA), and 5 exclusive rights free agents (ERFA). The more notable ones will be mentioned. To date there is no mention of using either the transition or franchise tags.
On Offense, the Packers are set at quarterback. Next year both RB Aaron Jones and RB Jamaal Williams are up for contract extensions. The leading contenders to show what they can do are last year’s sixth round pick RB Dexter Williams and free agent RB Tyler Ervin. There could be some consideration in the draft for this position as well. At tight end, TE Jimmy Graham is still around. TE Mercedes Lewis is a unrestricted free agent - again. TE Robert Tonyan is an exclusive rights free agent – which means he will be back if the Packers want him. TE Jace Sternberger will be going into his second year. Sternberger finished the year on a strong note. It would not surprise me if the Packers think Jace can be the primary guy and let Graham go. Lewis has indicated he wants to come back – but no word if the Packers are interested. Lewis does a great job blocking – but that is not a fantasy stat. Also on the roster is TE Evan Baylis and TE James Looney who switched from defense to tight end last year. At wide receiver the Packers have two UFAs – WR Geronimo Allison and WR Ryan Grant. There are also two exclusive rights free agents - WR Jake Kumerow and WR Allen Lazard. WR Davante Adams is the main guy at this position. They also have WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, WR Malik Taylor, WR Darius Shepherd, and WR Reggie Begelton. Lazard came on and played well. Scantling started out hot but cooled off. Allison figured to replace Cobb, but was used to infrequently. St. Brown was injured and spent the year on injured reserve. Kumerow had his moments – but not enough of them. Shepherd was doing well until he couldn’t hang onto the ball. Grant was never activated for a game. Taylor and Begelton are new. Look for free agent or draft help here. The offensive line has three unrestricted free agents – OT Bryan Bulaga, OT Jared Valdheer, and OT Jason Spriggs. Spriggs will probably not be re-signed. Valdheer was a trusted back up last year but may not want to come back this year. He was retired last year when the Packers asked him to sign. Bulaga had one of his best seasons and the Packers may want to re-sign him. OT David Bakhtari and OC Corey Linsley had their usual good seasons. OG Lucas Patrick is a trusted backup and was extended during last season. OG Elgton Jenkins and OG Billy Turner had a really good season. Jenkins can also play center. And Turner can play tackle as well. OT Alex Light was a major disappointment this year. He had opportunities to secure a backup tackle role and all but paved the way for a dismissal this year. OG Cole Madison, OG Lane Taylor, and OT Yosh Nijam spent most of the year on injured reserve. But if I am reading the tea leaves right, I think the Packers like Nijam. What happens with Bulaga and Valdheer could impact what happens in free agency and in the draft. On Defense, there are six unrestricted free agents. ILB Blake Martinez heads the list. ILB BJ Goodson, OLB Kyler Fackrell, CB Tramon Williams, S Will Redmond, and S Ibraham Campbell are also unrestricted free agents. Martinez had a really good season and will get paid by another team if Green Bay decides he is too expensive. Goodson was a good role player on defense. Fackrell is a good substitute when one of the Smith brothers needed a break. Williams provided a steady hand and probably played more than the Packers or he thought he would. Campbell may be the one to re-sign in the defensive backfield. The Packers also have two exclusive rights free agents – CB Chandon Sullivan and DL Tyler Lancaster. Sullivan grew in this defense and showed how versatile he can be in the process. The two concerns this year are inside line backer and defensive line. I don’t know about the Packers but plenty of fans want a better play maker at inside line backer. Do any of us really know what the Packer coaches asked of Martinez? He was either first or second in regular season tackles. ILB Oren Burks was too indecisive when he had his chances. ILB Ty Summers is a really good tackler, but has little else. ILB Curtis Bolton was having a really nice training camp last year until he was injured and ended up on injured reserve. OLB Rashan Gary would have more snaps if Fackrell was not signed. The Packers also have OLB Tim Williams and OLB Greg Roberts on the roster. Roberts spent last year on the physically unable to perform list. If he can play GB won’t miss Fackrell. CB Kevin King and CB Jaire Alexander are shut down corners. I have mentioned Sullivan. Others on the roster at corner include; CB Josh Jackson, CB Kadar Hollman, CB Kablon Ento, and CB DeShaun Amos. At safety the Packers have; S Adrian Amos, S Darnell Savage, and S Raven Greene. Some depth could be coming here. On special teams K Mason Crosby is an unrestricted free agent – and a must sign – if you want my opinion. He missed only one field goal last year. LS Hunter Bradley did a nice job again. And P PJ Scott did a better job. I don’t think any of these guys will have any training camp competition. Technically the Packers have 37 roster spots open as of now. The next NFL event is the combine – which starts tomorrow, then comes free agency season in March. We will see how things look then. Until then ………
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