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Green Bay Packers July Scouting Report
Mike Hankes

This is pre-training camp report for the Packers. In the draft the Packers stuck to my forecast with the exception they did not take a tight end and they took an extra offensive lineman. I still disagree with some of what the media is saying about the Packer offense – but I can’t change that. This report goes over offensive positions first, and then provides an offensive summary. And defense gets the same treatment following that.


Quarterback – QB Aaron Rodgers, QB Jordan Love, and QB Danny Etling are the camp quarterbacks. Etling was in training camp last year. Rodgers has a year to year contract up to 4 years. I mentioned that the thing being overlooked is the return of Tom Clements as the QB coach. Where ever he has gone he has developed productive quarterbacks and was Rodgers first quarterback coach in Green Bay. Rodgers likes Clements and was excited that he returned and how he would affect the other guys. We now know that Rodgers will retire a Packer when he decides to hang it up. Also Love has had a couple interceptions in minicamp but also has had more moments in which he shined including throwing touchdowns in the 2 minute drill. Love will be the number two guy this year. Wide Receiver – Returning from last year are; WR Allen Lazard, WR Randall Cobb, WR Amari Rodgers, WR Malik Taylor, and WR Juwann Winfree. In free agency WR Sammy Watkins was added. The three draft picks are WR Christian Watson, WR Romeo Doubs, and WR Samori Toure. Finally, WR Danny Davis was added as an undrafted free agent. Here is what we have learned so far. Lazard will be given the chance to be the "new" number one receiver. Cobb has been teaching the rookies. Any chance he could be a player-coach? Amari Rodgers has trimmed body fat and is moving far better than last year and making plays. Winfree has lit up day one of minicamp, and then has disappeared. No word on if he is injured. No reports on Taylor so far. Watkins will provide some serious help if he can stay healthy. Watkins also has a chip on his shoulder because his career hasn’t been what he thought it might be. Put that with Rodgers comments and the Packers might not miss WR Davante Adams at all. The three draft picks have made others on the roster expendable – I will leave that there. Second round pick, WR Christian Watson, has dropped a few passes but has also made some very good catches. And he has had snaps with the first string. In the minicamp Rodgers has been seen coaching up these three draft picks and it has made a difference. Fourth round draft pick WR Romeo Doubs has also dropped a couple passes while making some very good catches. And he has been splitting time as a punt returner. WR Samori Toure, according to observers gets good separation, but not many passes come his way, and he is working on route running. Finally, UDFA WR Danny Davis is getting reps and making the most of them. A couple passes he caught were for touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers said that he hopes the new guys get the offense down by the time training camp starts. And in interviews has said he likes what Watson, Doubs, and Wilkins all can do. I think that Rodgers wants those guys to all contribute this year. But make no mistake about it, barring injury, Lazard, Cobb, and Watkins will start the season. Running Back – We all know about RB Aaron Jones, RB AJ Dillion, RB Kylin Hill and RB Patrick Taylor. There were no draft picks, but the Packers added RB Tyler Goodson, and RB BJ Baylor – both UDFAs – to compete. Goodson will be the one to watch. I am surprised he wasn’t drafted. If Hill is experiencing complications Goodson could find a home. ACL’s are not easy to come back from. We know it will be the Jones & Dillion show this year. Did you know that Jones and Dillion had basically the same stats last year? Dillion actually had a few more rushing yards than Jones. Expect to see Jones in the slot more than you might think. The passing game won’t all be on the wide receivers this year. Tight End – TE Robert Tonyan, TE Mercedes Lewis, TE Josiah Deguara, TE Dominique Dafney, TE Tyler Davis, TE Alize Mack, and TE Sal Cannella are on the roster. There was no draft pick. The Packer GM indicated they think they have found something with Tyler Davis. He got increasing playing time last year toward the end of the season. And they are talking about the increased workload for Deguara. I am sure that by the end of the season we will know how it all works out. But the fact they are talking about it and Davis delivered on passes coming his way late in the year last season would make you think they are not going to push Tonyan to be ready in week one. Between Deguara and Davis there will be passes going to tight ends. Offensive Line – If the Packers had to play today, their starting line would look like this (Left to right); OT Yosh Nijam, OG Jon Runyan, OC Josh Meyers, OG Royce Newman, and OT Cole Van Lanen. The Packers think OT David Bakhtari will be back, and at some point OG Elgton Jenkins will be ready as well – but those two are in the future and not ready now. Others on the roster include; OC Jake Hanson and OG Michael Menet. The Packers added three draft picks. Third round pick OT Sean Rhyan, fourth round pick OL Zach Tom, and seventh round pick OT Rasheed Walker. Rhyan can start now. Tom will need body work (strength primarily), but technique is there. Walker has the physical side down pat, but he will need some technique to go with it. Then they added three undrafted free agents. The best is probably OC Cole Schneider, the next best is OG George Moore, and the also ran OT Caleb Jones (6-9, 370). In limited duty last year Jones had trouble handling pass rushers. We will see ……….

Offensive Game Plan: Expect Rodgers to pass the ball maybe a little less than he did last year. I would expect Lazard (at least initially) to be the #1 receiver. What that looks like I don’t know, but probably not Adams level stats because of the following. First, Rodgers may distribute the ball more. Maybe Lazard only has slightly more catches and yards than Cobb or Watkins. Second, Rodgers might be looking for running backs and tight ends more often. Third, the growth of the draft picks. I expect them to get some playing time as they get comfortable with the scheme, and HC LaFleur uses their abilities in selected situations more. And finally, fourth, injuries could have a lot to say about who plays – that is out of our control. Rodgers will have a number of options to pass to – including those that aren’t wide receivers. Consider that the offense that opens the season may not look like the offense that ends the season.

Conclusion: If your fantasy draft were to happen soon, I would still take QB Aaron Rodgers – he will be fine. Given his pre-training camp status I would consider taking WR Allen Lazard. You may also wish to consider RB Aaron Jones and RB AJ Dillion. Running or pass catching those two will be busy.


Defensive Line – The line now consists of DL Kenny Clark, DL Dean Lowry, DL TJ Slaton, DL Jack Heflin. The Packers have signed free agent DL Jarran Reed as well, but he is 31 and on a 1 year deal. And they drafted one of the "Georgia Three", DL Devonte Wyatt – who will push for regular season snaps immediately. They also drafted DL Jonathan Ford – at best raw material to work with. The Packers also added 2 undrafted free agents; DL Akial Byers from Missouri and DL Hauati Pututac from Utah. Finally, the Packers added DL Chris Slayton off waivers. Clark, Lowey, Slaton, Reed, and Wyatt make the team for sure – barring injury. This is now also a stronger group than last year’s line. Inside Linebacker – the Packers have ILB Kyrs Barnes, ILB De’Vondre Campbell, ILB Ty Summers, ILB Ray Wilborn, and ILB Isaiah McDuffie. The Packers added ILB Quay Walker from Georgia in the draft. Then the Packers added undrafted free agents ILB Ellis Brooks from Penn State and ILB Caliph Brice from Florida Atlantic. Walker and Campbell will probably start. That will make the roster stronger with Barnes in reserve. McDuffie is expected to play better. And don’t underestimate Brooks – who played very well in college. Outside Linebacker – The Packers have; OLB Preston Smith, OLB Rashan Gary, OLB Jonathan Garvin, OLB Randy Ramsey, OLB Tipa Galeai, OLB La’Darius Hamilton, and OLB Peter Kalambayi. They also added OLB Kingsley Enagbare from South Carolina in the draft. We will see if Ramsey who had last year off with injury and Garvin can fill the bill as replacements. Enagbare may be a very good player, but I don’t know if that will be in year one.

Cornerback – On the roster is CB Jaira Alexander, CB Eric Stokes, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Shemar Jean-Charles, CB Keisean Nixon, CB Kablon Ento, and CB Kiondre Thomas. The Packers added undrafted free agent CB Raleigh Texada, and moved Rico Gafford from WR to CB. The Packers are good four deep. We will see who can provide depth. Safety – On the roster includes; S Adrian Amos, S Darnell Savage, S Vernon Scott, S Shawn Davis, and S Innis Gaines. All this is nice, but none are currently signed thru next year. They drafted one – S Tarq Carpenter. Then they signed undrafted free agent S Tre Sterling – who had a nice career at Oklahoma State. Amos and Savage will start. Davis made some noise in OTAs. Carpenter is a big safety at 6-4, 230 lbs. We will see who sticks. Special Teams – K Mason Crosby (the incumbent) is still with the team. K Gabe Brkic is the new competing kicker. P Pat O’Donnell continues to be the only punter on the roster. LS Steven Wirtel is still around, but the Packers added LS Jack Coco to compete with him – remember what I wrote about needing a bigger option at LS? Coco is it. Overall, more consistency is what the need in all phases of special teams. Did I mention that the Packers signed a new special teams coach – one who has actually had success doing that?

The Packer Defense has found a formula this past year and the Packers have re-signed all the components that make it work. They are projected by some to be a top 5 defense. Assuming the way they ended last season carries over to this season, I would recommend taking them. It is also too early to speculate on how special teams will play. Now, onto the shareholder meeting and the start of training camp.



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