Green Bay Packers

How Championship-Ready Are the Green Bay Packers?

Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, on the Move the Sticks podcast, NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks kicked off a series based on research looking at commonalities between championship teams. They identified that most championship teams had:

  • Above-average players at quarterback
  • Three offensive playmakers
  • Three solid offensive lineman
  • Two defensive pass rushers
  • And three defensive playmakers.

They give an overview of the research around the 38-minute mark.

Then, they jump in and grade current rosters across the NFL (starting with the AFC East in the episode above) to determine their championship foundation readiness. Below is their color-coded grading scale.

  • Blue: Blue-chip player
  • Green: Solid player
  • Yellow: Age, injury, or contract questions
  • Pink: Unproven young

Looking at it from Green Bay’s perspective, it’s an interesting exercise trying to balance their contract situation, recent performance and play, and expected future play. Here’s how I graded the Packers’ current roster:

Let’s break it down by grouping:

Quarterback

Jordan Love proved he’s The Guy. He’s the next franchise quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. Love played like an MVP candidate through the back half of the season. However, he had 11 interceptions and nine fumbles throughout the season. Therefore, Love is just below a blue-chip player for now, but he could easily solidify himself as a blue-chip quarterback next year.

Offensive playmakers

The Packers are in a unique position at offensive playmaker. Aaron Jones played fantastically and undeniably drives the offense, but he has long-term contract questions. Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks played like solid players with sky-high potential. Still, we saw a cautionary tale with Christian Watson this year: injuries can get in the way of development, which isn’t always linear.

Therefore, it feels like the Packers will have at least two solid contributors for a while. The question is, are any of these guys clear blue-chip players in the top-10 at their position? At least one will prove out, but I’m unsure who it will be.

Offensive linemen

Zach Tom and Elgton Jenkins were rock-solid last year and throughout their careers. I expect that to continue. Rasheed Walker’s first half of 2023 was well below average, but his second half was well above average. I’d still say he’s unproven, but he flashed the potential to be a long-term answer at tackle.

Pass rushers

The Packers have Rashan Gary locked up, and he’s a solid “almost” blue-chip player. However, he tailed off toward the end of the year and didn’t register a sack from Week 14 through the postseason. Then the Pakcers have solid contributors in Preston Smith and Kenny Clark on expensive contracts that may need extensions or restructures.

Defensive playmaker

Jaire Alexander is on an expensive contract and only played 560 snaps last year, but he’s still a lockdown corner when healthy. Quay Walker is an ascending player on defense. He improved from his rookie season but still has room to grow. Beyond that, the Packers have a lot of lingering questions. Carrington Valentine played admirably for a seventh-rounder, but I’m unsure of his ceiling. De’Vondre Campbell is likely a cap casualty, Eric Stokes has had two challenging years with injury, and there’s no one at safety worth mentioning.

Can the Packers contend?

The Packers have a solid core that could contend for a championship heading into 2024 with improved play. There are a lot of upward trajectories for players like Walker, Reed, Walker, and Tom. Then there are high-end performers like Alexander, Love, and Gary, who could realistically be blue-chip players next season. The Packers also have players on expensive contracts that are ending soon. But Clark, Smith, and Jones still provide solid overall value and can be part of a winning team. However, their status as franchise cornerstones is more in question.

From a roster-building perspective, the Packers should add:

  • Defensive playmakers, particularly at linebacker and safety
  • Another pass rusher
  • A running back
  • And offensive lineman depth

They can bolster those positions in free agency and the draft, likely in that order of priority. Beyond the players, Green Bay’s big wild cards are the development of young players and new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley’s ability to get the most out of his defense. However, it’s easy to see that this roster has a ton of talent in their first and second years, and the sky’s the limit for this team.

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