Green Bay Packers Mid-August Scouting Report
There is movement on the player front. See the following discussion on that. And we are going to have to keep an eye on the COVID Reserve List as fantasy owners this year. If any players test positive or were exposed to the virus they won’t be playing in games until they come off the list. The news on the COVID front is very good in the NFL as a whole right now. Less than one half of one percent overall (0.046) are on any COVID list. It will be interesting to see if that continues once practices start and/or games are played. All the players released to date only affect the back end of the roster – no fantasy impact whatsoever. The Packers have 80 on the roster now.
Maybe the Packers are looking for the WR Devin Funchess replacement – or maybe they are seriously looking for alternatives to what they have just in case COVID becomes more a part of their season. The Packers have signed WR Malik Turner as a free agent. Yes he has NFL experience – but I don’t think that changes much. The apprenticeship with QB Aaron Rodgers is 3 to 4 years for drafted players and maybe a year for good experienced players – he is somewhere in between all that. There are three drafted players who are the exceptions. Two of them (WR Greg Jennings and WR James Jones in consecutive years) got almost every training camp pass thrown their way. That was both out of necessity roster wise and to shorten the learning curve productivity wise. The other (WR Randall Cobb) was talented enough to come in show something with Rodgers right away. Turner won’t get any of those favors and I don’t think he is as talented as other players the Packers have drafted. So, again, this brings us back to essentially what GB had last year at the wide receiver position. No current wide receiver has been on the Packer roster for more than two years except for WR Davante Adams – who is the number one guy to hang your hat on. Competing for the number two guy are; WR Allen Lazard, and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling – both entering their third year. Lazard was Green Bay’s number two wide receiver last year. Scantling has recently indicated he is beyond his injury and is a "full go". Both caught touchdown passes in their first practice. Lazard’s touchdown was from QB Aaron Rodgers over CB Kabion Ento and Scantling’s touchdown pass was from QB Tim Boyle over CB Josh Jackson. Jackson also allowed a TD pass that QB Jordan Love threw to WR Jake Kumerow. WR Equanimeous St. Brown (EQ), who was on injured reserve all last year, will have to show the year off hasn’t hurt him – and continue from there. EQ is also entering his third year, but functionally it would be his second year because of the injury. In addition to these, the Packers have WR Jake Kumerow who has been productive if not a little fragile when given chances. But he is also 28 years old, so if the Packers find another younger prospect they like he might not make the team. They also have WR Reggie Begelton and WR Malik Taylor – both standouts in their previous stops. Begelton had a good day in his first practice catching 3 passes – 2 that were reportedly difficult to catch and ran good routes. He continues to show well in practices. Finally, they have WR Darius Shepherd from last year – who developed an acute case of fumbleitus in the regular season last year and will have to show he is over that for a chance to survive any roster cuts. But like last year, he is reportedly catching "everything in sight" in training camp. The question is can he do it in a game when it counts. The Packers have signed WR Travis Fulgham off waivers from the Lions and released him a few days later - in case you are wondering where he went.
In other offensive news, RB AJ Dillion more than looks the part. Everyone who was asked about him commented on his big, strong legs, and how well he makes 250 pounds move. Dillion and TE Josiah Deguara were involved right from the start of practice - indications they will be involved sooner than later in the offense - to what degree remains to be seen. Perhaps the surprise of camp so far is that RB Tyler Ervin is practicing with the wide receivers. I will keep an eye on that. Ervin sure gave the return game a boost last year. RB Dexter Williams was apparently very active in the drills as well. It came out in the off season that he needed to improve his blitz pick up to have a role in the offense. So if he achieves that, maybe he plays in games. All I can say is that if they mix RB Aaron Jones with RB Jamaal Williams, Dillion, Williams, and Ervin, it is going to be tough on fantasy owners to know which Packer player to play from week to week. But I think from the Packer point of view that is the idea. For fantasy purposes, I would stick with the big three on offense as listed below – they will get their opportunities. Finally, the right side of the offensive line had 3 veteran players taking turns in different combinations at guard and tackle.
Defensively, LB Owen Burks is getting the first chance to play next to LB Christian Kirksey on the inside. CB Chandon Sullivan who came on last year is replacing CB Tramon Williams in the nickel role. The Packers have apparently moved on from Williams and he is still out there to be signed if the need should occur. One of the defensive stars is undrafted free agent CB Will Sunderland who continues to show well in practice. Jackson has picked it up in the last couple of practices and has played well – as has the entire defensive backfield. They are even intercepting Rodgers.
The Packers now have one player on the COVID Reserve List. PK Mason Crosby, TE Jace Sternberger, LS Hunter Bradley, and DL Treyon Hester, all have come off the list. Only OLB Greg Roberts remains on the list. He was on IR last year and needs to actually do something to avoid getting cut. He has good measurable, just not health.
Per Packer Reporter Aaron Nagler - Reporters in Green Bay were advised that they cannot report which platoon the players are playing with, cannot predict depth charts, who is being used in certain packages, or if players are rotating among positions. So some information I normally provide won’t be available any longer. This was reported today (Wednesday).
Again, the preferred Packer fantasy players are; QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, WR Davante Adams, TE Jace Sternberger if you need a tight end, – and depending on how you view it, PK Mason Crosby, and the Packer Defense. The big 3 are the first three listed. The next report probably is for the first game. By then rosters will have been cut to 53, practice squads determined, lightly injured players will have been tucked away on injured reserve, and you owners will have had your fantasy draft – good luck. If some things take an unexpected, strange turn that could affect your fantasy draft, I will put out a small update. Otherwise let the games begin! Stay safe until next month.
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