In the 2020 season, the Packers went 13-3 in their second season under head coach Matt LeFleur. Luckily for the Green Bay Packers, they are in a reasonably strong position to do so again in 2021 and don’t require much work in the offseason to remain competitive. The Packers team needs are about as small as any team in the NFC, considering Green Bay found themselves up against a strong Tampa Bay team in the NFC Championship Game. They couldn’t make it to another Super Bowl, as Green Bay allowed Tom Brady to advance to his tenth.
The fact that Aaron Rodgers, one of the greatest to ever do it, has only been to one Super Bowl is a travesty. The Packers may be able to sort that issue rather quickly and make another run at the Super Bowl, lets take a look at how they can do that the easiest in the 2021 Green Bay Packers team needs.
Green Bay’s 2020 Season
After the gut-wrenching loss to the San Francisco 49ers the Green Bay Packers went into the offseason with plenty of needs to address. Mainly, the Packers had to fix the issues with the defensive line. In giving up 285 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns, the Packers’ defensive line was just abysmal.
In 2019 the Packers were giving up 128.7 rushing yards per game, they managed to drop that figure to 109.8 in 2020. A big improvement in 2020 that had them as the tenth best in the league, was due in part to Christian Kirksey. The star LB helped improve the defense with his 46 solo tackles and two sacks. After missing weeks four to ten with a pectoral injury, he returned to help close out the season in dominating form.
On the other side of the ball, Green Bay would go on to have one of the best offensive seasons in football as they finished with 389 yards per game. On top of that, they had a league’s best 31.81 points per game. Rodgers put together an MVP season as he threw for 4,229 yards, 48 touchdowns, and only five interceptions.
Packers Team Needs and Predictions
Aaron Rodgers Is Going Nowhere
First and foremost, Green Bay has to keep Aaron Rodgers. Since coming into the league, Rodgers has been one of, if not the most, talented players to ever sling the ball. After replacing Brett Favre, he didn’t take long before he made the team his own. He has thrown for 51,245 yards and 412 touchdowns in his career. Averaging at just under 26 touchdowns per season he has played. On top of that, he has only averaged 5.5 interceptions for every season in the league with a total of just 89.
Since the 2008 season, he has never posted a season with a quarterback rating of under 60 percent. In 2020 he had his most accurate season ever, with a completion rate of over 70 percent, and since joining the league that number has never been below 60.
Aaron Rodgers is a generational talent and despite having Jordan Love waiting in the wings, the Packers would be crazy to move on right now. Rodgers is the man to lead this team back to the Super Bowl as long as the Packers make the best decisions around him.
A New Running Back In Town
With some cap difficulties, the Packers are more than likely ready to move on from Aaron Jones. He has been one of the best backs in the league since going to the Packers in 2017 but he may be on the move. Throughout his career in Wisconsin, he has totaled 3367 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns.
When the Packers selected AJ Dillon in the second round of the 2020 draft, Jones must have known his time may be coming to an end. In his first season, he had limited snaps, but when he did play, he played well. A strong downhill runner with powerful legs could be the replacement that Green Bay needs due to salary restraints.
In Week 16, Dillon played 58% of the offensive snaps against the Tennessee Titans and had a career game. He finished with 21 carries for 124 yards and two scores. Green Bay didn’t miss a beat when Dillon was the featured back and look for him to be their main man in the 2021 season. On top of that, they still have Jamaal Williams who they will be able to bring back relatively cheaply. With Dillon and Williams in the backfield with Rodgers, the Packers would still have a strong passing and rushing game.
Since Green Bay finds itself about 26 million over the projected cap, there is unlikely to be much going on in Green Bay when free agency starts. Therefore, attention turns to the draft. Green Bay finds themselves with seven picks in the draft before any compensatory picks are decided.
Green Bay has a few needs that they must address in the draft, none more so than an offensive tackle, cornerback, and a wide receiver (a move they should have made in the 2020 draft). After they lost David Bakhtiari to a season-ending injury, they were forced to stick Billy Turner in at the left tackle position. In the Conference Championship loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Turner was bullied all day by Jason Pierre-Paul as he couldn’t keep the pressure away from his quarterback.
On the other side of the offensive line, the Packers had Ricky Wagner, who also could do very little to stop the Buccaneers pass rush. So, how do they take this off of the list of Packers team needs? The 29th pick in the draft could be used on Jalen Mayfield, the offensive tackle out of Michigan. Mayfield boasts great athleticism for a man of his size and would slot in perfectly on the right side of the offensive line.
With Mayfield and Bakhtiari on either side of his offensive line, Rodgers would have two giants on either side to help keep him clean and protected. Both players would also help strengthen a run game that will likely be missing Aaron Jones.
Now that an offensive tackle is off the board, next up for the Green Bay Packers team needs is the cornerback position. After the loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the biggest takeaway was the inaptitude of cornerback Kevin King.
At fault for just about every touchdown scored by the Buccaneers, none more than the Scott Miller score, King could be solely to blame for the Packer’s exit from the playoffs. That being said, his contract is up and he will not be a Packers player in 2021. So, it may require a trade-up; but if possible, their second-round pick could be used on Asante Samuel Jr from Florida State.
With Jaire Alexander shutting down the number one wide receiver on the opposition, that will leave Samuel free to take advantage of the team’s number two. Samuel has improved every year at college and finished his last campaign with three interceptions.
In the eight games he played in the 2020 season, he allowed a passer rating of just 46.2%. With a father who won two Super Bowls, Asante Samuel Jr has football in his blood and can be an instant success if Green Bay can find a way to land him.
Next up is the need to improve the linebacker position and add a deep threat. Davante Adams had another fantastic season and he may win offensive player of the year, but he can’t do it all himself. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are too inconsistent to be considered credible as a number two receiver.
With their third-round pick, they should select Marquez Stevenson from Houston. The six-foot, 190-pound wide receiver has the ability to take the top of a defense. His lightning speed will make him dangerous in not only the big play down the field but he will also likely feature in the return game. An area that Green Bay struggled in throughout the 2020 season. With Adams, Scantling, Lazard, and Stevenson all at Rodgers’s disposal, the 2021 Packers offense could be even better than its predecessor.
With the remaining Packers team needs, that the Packers will look to bolster the defensive line and bring in another linebacker. In 2020, anyone would struggle to blame the Packer’s offense for their failings; the defense, however, did have some flaws. If the Packers can help the defense during the draft, then there is no reason why they can’t make it straight back to the NFC Championship.
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