After covering the defense in this two-part series, let’s dive into the other side of the ball. The 2020 Green Bay Packers offense was one of the best in football and featured the league’s latest MVP. During coach Matt LaFleur‘s second season, we saw great improvement overall and they will be looking to find the right fits to be even more efficient going forward. Without further adieu, here is 2021 Packers Preview – Offense.
Quarterback is set in stone for 2021 and beyond. It’s Aaron Rodgers‘ gig for the foreseeable future. With no need to bring anyone in other than camp bodies, the biggest news will be if Aaron Rodgers’ contract gets reworked to secure him longer. The real training camp battle will be between Jordan Love and Tim Boyle. Can last year’s first-round pick win the backup job? Overall, not much to see here.
The running back situation is another story. Both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are free agents going into 2021. Green Bay has made an offer to bring Jones back, but his asking price might be too steep. If Jones is gone it would be nice to have Williams back, but he may get starting money offers elsewhere. That opens the door for second-year hoss A.J. Dillon. Dillon showed his Derrick Henry-like style against those same Titans last season. Still, it has yet to be seen if he’s ready for a full season’s workload. Adding a complementary back to him will be needed. Green Bay isn’t going to splurge on a vet, but a back like James White would add a nice wrinkle for this offense. White is a proven pass-catcher out of the backfield that would spread defenses out.
Most certainly the Packers will have their eyes on backs in the NFL draft. Memphis product Kenneth Gainwell is a day 2 prospect with home run capabilities. On day 3 the draft should offer valuable prospects that can play complementary pieces to Dillon and the offense. Khalil Herbert had a strong 2020 for Virginia Tech and impressed at the Senior Bowl. With Jamaal Williams’ traits, Herbert is a one-cut runner with more explosive playmaking ability. If the Packers wanted more spark plug to pair with Dillon the dynamic Javian Hawkins would be another option.
Year after year Packer Nation shows its displeasure that a top-tier prospect isn’t getting added to this roster. The fact of the matter is the wide receiver talent isn’t weak. Davante Adams is as good as any receiver in the league. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, despite his frustrating drops at times, was one of the best deep threats of 2020. Add also that Allan Lazard is a starter on most teams with his big-play ability and devastating blocking skills.
The problem here is nobody is signed beyond the 2021 season. Extending Adams would be an ideal move now and could help avoid future problems. The one skill set this group could use is the slot type to separate in close quarters. Curtis Samuel would be the perfect option if the Packers wanted to dip in the free-agent market. Sadly after a breakout 2020 campaign, it might be too rich to make a play for versatile Samuels.
Look for Green Bay to draft one or even two wide receivers. If last year’s wideout class was well-received, this one is even more loaded overall. The electric Kadarius Toney at 29th overall would make this offense even more deadly with a true run-after-catch highlight reel. Round two is absolutely loaded with big-play talent. UNC Dyami Brown and USC’s Amon-Ra St. Brown (Equanemious’ brother) would be matchup problems next to Adams. Small school D’Wayne Eskridge will turn heads while later talents in Jaelon Darden and the overlooked Marquez Stevenson are diamonds in the rough. This class is truly loaded with future playmakers which bodes well for the Packers.
There is no reason to think pending RFA Robert Tonyan isn’t back after a monster year. Josiah Deguara was in the team’s plans before a season-ending injury. As we saw early in 2020, he is going to get snaps at the h-back position. Add in that Marcedes Lewis wants another run at it and the fact that Dominique Dafney played well in limited time, this tight end corps is looking decent. Because of this, Jace Sternberger needs to make a jump in order to keep up. The cupboard is full here. Unless for some insane reason Kyle Pitts falls out of the top 15, tight end is covered for 2021.
The Packers displayed that they have versatile players on the o-line to mix-and-match a starting five. This leaves a good type of question: where will Elgtin Jenkins play this season. He can conceivably start at any of the five spots across the line. Billy Turner also offers that same degree of positional versatility. More than likely David Bakhtiari won’t be ready to start the season. Add to that, Corey Linsley will probably get paid elsewhere. This all means Green Bay will either have to rely on young players, go into the season lacking backup depth.
Adding a free-agent offensive tackle isn’t likely, and if they went the rookie route, it would have to be early in the draft. Jalen Mayfield and Liam Eichenberg could plug and play right away if needed. Dillon Radunz screams Packer type but might need grooming coming from North Dakota.
Green Bay drafted three interior linemen in 2020. Jon Runyan looks to be a future starter but the jury is still out on Simon Stepaniak and Jake Hanson. Will Jenkins move to center or will Lucas Patrick see time there? Either way, there will likely be a new starter or two inside. Drafting UW Whitewater Quinn Meinerz would excite Packer Nation. Meinerz has gained tons of steam this offseason from destroying big school prospects at the Senior Bowl to his not-so-typical workout video. He will be playing NFL football sooner than later.
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This Packers offense looks to once again be solid entering 2021. Anytime you have an MVP level quarterback with a top weapon at wide receiver, points will be scored. Still, there are some moving pieces, and hitting a home run or two could make this group even better.
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