Green Bay Packers June Scouting Report
Everything in the national news is still about the QB Aaron Rodgers situation. To find out any team news you need to tune into Packer only sources – and even from those sources, details about other aspects of the team are hard to come by. So this report will be mostly about what I think and about some small pieces of information that I could find. The rookie camp has happened and not much new was revealed. The Packers are projected to be 29.1 million dollars over the 2022 cap next year. That happens when you push lots of money into the next and following years. And that may color some of what happens with the final roster this year. All but one of the packer 25 starters is back. This is the year to win a super bowl because next year some of those guys are gone.
On offense, the quarterback situation is taking center stage with no factual information coming from Rodgers himself, HC Matt LaFleur, or GM Brian Gutekunst. One message from the Packer organization is clear, Rodgers is the quarterback. If he isn’t QB Jordan Love is the next man up. And he appears to be doing well in OTA practices. Meanwhile, the Packers have been signing a couple other quarterbacks to the roster. The first one is QB Blake Bortles who once lead Jacksonville to the NFC Championship Game and has ties to Packer OC Nathaniel Hackett. The second is QB Kurt Benkert who last played in a real game at Virginia. But he impressed enough as a tryout in the rookie camp to get a roster spot. The pecking order is Rodgers, QB Jordan Love, Bortles, and Benkert. Circle January 8th on your calendar. That is the date for a mandatory minicamp. We will see if Rodgers shows up. For completeness the Packers have worked out QB Chad Kelley and QB Donald Hammond of Air Force. Now on to the more cut and dry running back situation. RB Aaron Jones and RB AJ Dillion are the 1-2 punch. RB Kylin Hill will get a solid shot at nailing down the 3rd spot. The reason is; RB Patrick Taylor has to prove he can stay healthy for a change, RB Mike Weber has had problems making his first team, and RB Dexter Williams keeps getting overlooked for others so far. Maybe Williams is having problems picking up the offense and he did get one carry in a real game on which he was injured. I did read that Williams and Taylor came to OTAs in great shape. In other words the competition isn’t that good. All were at OTAs. At wide receiver, WR Davante Adams, WR Marques Valdes-Scantling, WR Allen Lazard, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, and WR Devin Funchess were all coincidently absent from OTAs. That left all the OTA snaps to; new draft pick WR Amari Rodgers, WR Malik Taylor, WR Reggie Begelton, WR Juwann Winfree, WR Chris Blair, and WR Bailey Gaither. As of now, only WR Amari Rodgers is signed to next year’s roster via his rookie deal. Rodgers will also get the punt and kickoff return jobs as well. We will see if he gets a role in the offense. You would think those sitting out would take this opportunity to catch some passes from Love. At tight end, the Packers have TE Robert Tonyan, TE Mercedes Lewis, TE Josh Deguara, and TE Dominique Dafney. I predict these 4 will make the roster, but the productive fantasy player is Tonyan. The following will have a tougher time making the roster; TE Jace Sternberger, TE Isaac Nauta, and TE Bronson Kaufusi. Sternberger needed to make a move last year, but battled injuries instead. Nauta is good blocker but offers nothing more than first four. And Kaufusi is a project. All were at OTAs, but Deguara did not practice – understandably. The offensive line is well stocked. If OT David Bakhtari is healthy, he will play left tackle. If not OTAs have revealed that OT Elton Jenkins will play left tackle, OG John Runyan will play left guard, OC Josh Meyers starts at center, OG Lucas Patrick will play right guard, and right tackle will be OT Billy Turner. Turner, Patrick, and Jenkins are versatile players. Beyond that are rookies OT Royce Newman and OT Cole Van Lanen, both of whom have played multiple offensive line positions in college. And there are still seven guys I haven’t mentioned, but their chances of sticking are slim. Bakhtari made an appearance at the second week of OTAs and looked like he was moving well. While that is encouraging he is only 5 months out from sustaining the injury and he ready to start in week 1 is still not probable.
On defense, they have a new coordinator, a little different in terms of terminology, but not much different in terms of scheme. On the line, DL Kenny Clark, DL Dean Lowry, DL Kingsley Keke, DL Tyler Lancaster, DL Delontae Scott, and DL Willington Previlon all return from last year. DL Anthony Rush was added during the season last year but couldn’t get onto the field. The hopes for improvement against the run come from DL TJ Slaton and DL Jack Heflin. All were at OTAs. At outside linebacker, undrafted free agent OLB Carlo Kemp of Michigan came to the Packers as a defensive lineman but is being tried at linebacker. Otherwise the rest are the same as last year and were all in attendance at OTAs. At inside linebacker, ILB Kyrs Barnes and ILB Kamal Martin would appear to be the starters. ILB Isaiah McDuffie will add good depth while he learns the pro game and develops physically. ILB Ty Summers is showing he can take command on the field in OTAs. I think those 4 make the team. ILB Ray Wilborn, ILB De’Jon Harris, and ILB Owen Burks are on the outside looking in. Burks could make the team as a special team player which he did well last year. At cornerback, all are at OTAs except for CB Jaira Alexander, CB KaDar Hollman and CB Stanford Samuels. The last two need every opportunity to impress their new coordinator – so their absence mystifies me. New first round draft pick, CB Eric Stokes, has been showing well in OTAs. The other draft pick, CB Shemar Jean-Charles, has a longer way to go. Perhaps the surprise so far is that CB Josh Jackson has received snaps with the first team. His new coordinator says that he just has a confidence problem. I hope he is right. Nothing heard about CB Kevin King, CB Chandon Sullivan, or CB Kabion Ento. At safety, all at OTAs and things are quiet. S Adrian Amos, S Darnell Savage, S Vernon Scott, S Henry Black, S Will Redmond, and S Innis Gaines are not getting much (if any) ink. S Christian Uphoff made a play that the beat writers in Green Bay mentioned with some surprise. But that is about it. Your best Packer fantasy options are; QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones, TE Robert Tonyan (if you need a tight end) and WR Davante Adams. I just hope that the news about Green Bay shifts to other story lines about the team. Rodgers would be an ideal contestant on "What’s My Line" (young people may need to look it up on youtube.com). The panel could be right with any of the following; game show host, matchmaker, deal broker, franchise owner, a very offensive person, provider of article material, and oh – and let’s not forget – NFL QB. He does so much stuff he would be hard to categorize – and hence, hard to guess.
Until next month…
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