The Green Bay Packers believe in the talent they have on their roster. And they should. No matter what happens from here on out in free agency or the 2016 NFL Draft, the Packers are undoubtedly Super Bowl contenders.
However, that doesn’t mean that their roster doesn’t have flaws — it does. But the truth is, every NFL team has flaws — the teams that win are the ones that manage them the best.
The teams that win are also the ones that have two things in common: star players and depth.
To me, that’s what needed to win in the NFL. If you have a few stars and by stars, I mean players that can dominate games.
The Packers have a few. Rodgers is obviously one, Jordy Nelson is another. I’d also put Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers in that category. Josh Sitton is as close an offensive guard can get.
Beyond top players, good teams need depth, everywhere. The NFL’s 16-game regular-season schedule is brutal and over the course of the season, winning games becomes a battle of attrition. And while you don’t necessarily have to have a quality starter at each position, you at least need a 2-3 guys that can play at each.
And when I say guys, who can play, I mean guys that can at least make a positive contribution, in whatever role that may be, on a semi-consistent basis. NFL teams rely heavily on those type of players and that’s an area where the Packers have plenty of time to improve.
It would be nice if Green Bay could add another star player. And it’s possible they will find one in the draft. In the past, Ted Thompson has a found a number of big contributors in the draft. Matthews and Casey Hayward both finished in the top-5 in defensive Rookie Of The Year voting. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Eddie Lacy, Damarious Randall and Corey Linsley are all recent examples of players making impacts right away.
People act like you can’t find immediate contributors in the draft, but nothing could be further from the truth. Yet, in most cases, that impact is going to be limited. Nelson took a few years before he became a great player, Randall Cobb took a year before he made a really big impact. And yes, part of that was due to opportunity, but usually it just takes rookies time to get ready.
The good thing for the Packers is thanks to their work this offseason, which has kept Mike Daniels, Mason Crosby, Letroy Guion, James Starks and Nick Perry, all in green and gold, has already put their roster is a very strong position.
There are still questions at inside linebacker, tight end and defensive line, more specifically nose tackle. The Packers could also use another pass-rusher and maybe another corner, but just about everyone in football can say that.
Personally, I don’t see inside linebacker as being as bad off as most. I still have faith in Sam Barrington and I liked what I saw from Jake Ryan. I think Green Bay can select someone in the draft or find a decent on in the draft. They don’t need a stud or even a starter, just a guy who can play 40-50 percent of the snaps if necessary.
The Packers also need a tight end, but if they don’t get one, they won’t be any worse off than they were last year. In fact, you could make the case that they will be better. Richard Rodgers will be going into his third season and it could be a make-or-break year for him. Kennard Backman could also take a step forward and I actually like Justin Perillo as a receiver.
Again, the Packers don’t need a superstar here, although, it would obviously help, they just need a guy who can stretch the middle of the field and maybe can block with some toughness.
The biggest thing I think Green Bay is lacking is athleticism. At both tight end and inside linebacker. The team needs a receiving threat there and they need an inside linebacker that can run. Beyond that, they need to find good players and good athletes come draft day and that’s something Thompson excels at.
The truth is, this Packers team was good enough last year. It just didn’t produce. Injuries were a contributing factor, but Aaron Rodgers needs to be better, Lacy needs to be better, Mike McCarthy needs to be better, Matthews needs to be better. Clinton-Dix needs to take the next step, so does Randall.
In my opinion, the Packers have had a successful offseason. But they still have work to do. They need to find more good players to fill our their roster, but they also need to help those currently on it, take the next step.
That’s an area, where Green Bay normally excels. Last year, it failed in that department and if that happens again, the Packers will go another year without bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home.