The Green Bay Packers are learning about their young roster every week.
After a slow start to the season, the Packers are building momentum, having pulled off an incredible three-game winning run against the Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit Lions, and Kansas City Chiefs. Whether this team can secure a playoff berth remains to be seen, but their chances are increasing by the week.
The offseason always brings change. It will be no different for Green Bay, a team still rebuilding after the end of the Aaron Rodgers era.
Several key contributors could depart in the offseason, but we can already include these 21 players on the 53-man roster a year from now.
Jordan Love has arrived.
This season was about evaluating Love and determining whether he is the Packers' future. That was more important than just wins and losses. Now, they are getting the best of both. Green Bay is winning games, and it's directly linked to Love's performances.
Love has thrown for 2,866 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in the Packers' 6-6 start. He is on pace for 4,000+ yards and 30+ touchdowns, which Green Bay would've signed up for in August.
Even more exciting is how Love has played over the past five games. Green Bay is 4-1 in that stretch, with Love completing 66 percent of his passes for 1,374 yards, 11 touchdowns, and two interceptions for a passer rating of 106.3.
Can Love become a franchise quarterback and lead the Packers for over a decade? Only time will tell. But he has done more than enough to guarantee himself the QB1 job in 2024.
All-Pro cornerback Jaire Alexander still has three years remaining on his contract. He isn't going anywhere. Injury has limited Alexander to only five games this season, but he is still one of the best in the league when healthy.
After trading Rasul Douglas, cornerback is likely an offseason need for Green Bay, making it all the more important for Alexander to lead the way.
Hopefully, Alexander can get healthy to help the Packers make a potential playoff push down in the final weeks of the regular season.
Green Bay traded Douglas and has missed Alexander and Eric Stokes due to injury for most of the season. That's a recipe for disaster, but the play of seventh-round rookie Carrington Valentine has helped fill the void.
Valentine was one of the Packers' standout performers during training camp, and he has taken that production into the regular season. According to Pro Football Reference, Valentine has allowed a completion percentage of only 45.9 and a passer rating of 66.0 in his coverage. The rookie has not given up a touchdown and has broken up eight passes.
The Packers appear to have hit a home run by drafting Valentine in the seventh round back in April.
Another Day 3 draft steal is sixth-round choice Karl Brooks. It was a surprise he fell that far on draft day, and he is proving why.
Brooks has made an impact as a pass rusher with three sacks and four QB hits this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Brooks ranks fifth for the Packers in pressures with 19. Brooks still needs to find more consistency in run defense, but he has exceeded expectations in his rookie year, making game-changing contributions for the Packers.
Not only is Brooks a roster lock in 2024, but his role will only increase over time.
The past offseason provided the infusion of talent the Packers needed along the defensive line, but Kenny Clark is still leading the way. Green Bay found Clark the help he required up front, and a move to defensive end has also allowed him to impact games more.
Per PFF, Clark has 41 pressures this season, which ties Rashan Gary for the Packers' most. He is on pace for career-best numbers, having already made 4.5 sacks, 12 QB hits, and two forced fumbles in the opening 12 games.
Clark is playing at a Pro Bowl level again this year and will still be one of the Packers' most important starters in 2024.
Kingsley Enagbare hasn't yet made the necessary step as a pass rusher. He only has one sack and five QB hits this season. However, it's impossible to ignore his ability as a run-stopper. Enagbare regularly makes positive plays against opposing rushing attacks, and he is arguably the Packers' best run-stopper.
According to ESPN, Enagbare has a run-stop win rate of 33 percent this season, which ranks sixth in the NFL among edge defenders.
He plays a vital role in Green Bay's defense. If Enagbare can take the next step as a pass rusher, look out.
Former first-round pick Devonte Wyatt still has areas to improve, but there's no denying the improvements he has made in year two. Wyatt needed an opportunity after impressing in a backup role as a rookie. He has already played almost double the number of snaps as last season, and there are still five games to go.
Wyatt has contributed as an interior pass rusher, making three sacks and six quarterback hits in 12 games, and he also recovered a fumble.
Wyatt must improve his consistency against the run moving forward, but he has made significant improvements as a pass rusher in his second season. Wyatt will continue to play an important role along the defensive line next year.
Green Bay's offensive line has faced plenty of questions this season, especially in the run game, but Elgton Jenkins continues to play at a high level.
It's unclear who will start at left tackle, center, or right guard in 2024, but Jenkins is one of two Packers offensive linemen guaranteed to start next season, along with right tackle Zach Tom. The two-time Pro Bowler consistently plays at a high level, especially as a pass-protector, giving Jordan Love time to throw.
Jenkins is one of Brian Gutekunst's best draft picks as Packers GM.
Rashan Gary recently signed a new multi-year deal, keeping him in Green Bay through 2027. Gary returned from a torn ACL at the start of the season, and even on a snap count to begin the year, he quickly reminded everyone why he's one of the league's best edge rushers.
Gary has nine sacks and 17 quarterback hits in 12 games and has forced two fumbles. He has two three-sack performances already this season.
Gary can do it all. He dominates as a pass rusher but is also excellent against the run. He just turned 26 and has a huge future ahead of him in Green Bay. Gary is just getting started.
Isaiah McDuffie could start for the Packers next season. De'Vondre Campbell faces an uncertain future, and McDuffie has shown this year that he is capable of making an impact as a starter. The third-year player has made six starts this season, making a career-high 68 tackles and three tackles for loss.
McDuffie was particularly impressive in Green Bay's victories over the Los Angeles Rams and Detroit Lions. He made seven tackles and two tackles for loss against Los Angeles and was fantastic against Detroit with a season-high 11 tackles.
McDuffie is also a core special teams player for the Packers. All signs point toward him remaining in Green Bay and likely seeing his role on defense increase in 2024.
Lukas Van Ness isn't going anywhere. The Packers selected him 13th overall in this year's draft with the hope he can follow a similar path to Rashan Gary. It was clear Van Ness needed some time to develop, but he has shown flashes of why he was an early first-round pick.
Unsurprisingly, Van Ness has lacked consistency in his rookie season, but his potential is evident and there are clear signs of improvement.
In the opening 10 games of the season, Van Ness made one sack, two QB hits, and four tackles for loss. In the past two games, he has one sack, four QB hits, and two tackles for loss. He is coming off arguably his best performance of the year versus the Chiefs, which included a crucial red-zone sack.
Van Ness is a future starter in Green Bay.
Second-year Quay Walker hasn't yet become the game-changing starting linebacker the Packers were expecting, but he has made improvements from his rookie season.
Walker's speed and athleticism help him make plays across the field. He has already matched last season's total of five tackles for loss, and Walker still has five games to build on that. He showed his game-changing potential with a pick-six against the Chicago Bears in Week 1, but we need to see more of that.
Still, the Packers' defense is far better when Walker is playing, and he will have an important role to play in 2024.
How do the Packers keep doing it? Many teams struggle to find quality starting offensive linemen in the first and second rounds of the draft. The Packers keep doing it on Day 3.
Zach Tom joins a long list, including David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, and JC Tretter.
Tom has been outstanding at right tackle this season. He had the Packers' highest PFF grade on offense entering Week 13. He is particularly effective in pass protection, with a pass-block win rate of 90 percent this year, per ESPN.
Green Bay's offensive line faces several offseason questions, but Tom's future isn't one of them. The only question is where the Packers want him to start, as Tom can play across the line.
It's early, but Tucker Kraft could be the player to finally end the Packers' third-round curse. Kraft made a slow start but has stepped up in Luke Musgrave's absence, both as a receiver and blocker.
Kraft almost had his first career touchdown in Week 11 against the Chargers but just stepped out of bounds. He found the end zone four days later against the Lions. With Musgrave out of the lineup, Kraft has barely missed a snap in the past two games, making five catches for 52 yards and a score. He has also made a difference as a blocker.
The Packers are playing to Kraft's strengths by getting the ball to him in space. It's no surprise to see 70 of his 95 receiving yards coming after the catch.
When the Packers need a play, Jordan Love often looks Romeo Doubs' way. A crucial fourth-and-1 conversion against the Chiefs was the perfect example. Despite only needing a yard, Love fired a deep ball to Doubs, who made a spectacular catch in between defenders to pick up 33 yards.
Doubs is the master of winning contested catches, making him a trusted target for Love. This season, Doubs has made 45 receptions for 505 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns. He may never become a dominant WR1, but he will remain a vital part of this offense moving forward.
Jayden Reed is a future star and has been Green Bay's best receiver this season. The rookie is so explosive with the ball in his hands. He is excellent after the catch, wins contested catches, and consistently makes big plays.
Reed leads the Packers in receiving, with 40 catches for 513 yards and five touchdowns this season. He also has 81 rushing yards and a touchdown. Matt LaFleur is finding creative ways to get the ball in Reed's hands, and he is making defenses pay.
Christian Watson has battled injuries and some early-season struggles, but it's clear how talented he is. Watson is a game-changer. With his rare speed, size, and athleticism, Watson is always just a moment away from burning a defense deep downfield, as he proved on a 53-yard catch on the opening play against the Lions on Thanksgiving.
That forces defenses to respect him when he runs deep. Even if the ball isn't going his way, Watson can clear out defenders and open space in the middle of the field.
But when Watson is at his best, you want the ball getting thrown his way early and often. In wins over the Lions and Chiefs, Watson caught 12 passes for 165 yards and three touchdowns.
The only thing holding Watson back is his bad luck with injuries, but there's no denying his talent and potential.
Dontayvion Wicks is yet another Day 3 pick the Packers may have hit a home run on. Wicks run routes like a veteran. He is so smooth and makes gaining separation look easy. According to Pro Football Focus, Wicks has the ninth-best separation grade among all wide receivers since Week 11.
The rookie is fourth in receiving for Green Bay, making 23 catches for 374 yards and a touchdown. Wicks is yet another young Packers pass-catcher with huge potential.
And here's another one. It's such a shame that Luke Musgrave suffered a possible season-ending injury against the Los Angeles Chargers because it felt like he was just beginning to hit his stride.
Early in the season, Matt LaFleur used Musgrave almost exclusively on screen passes and dump-offs, but he's at his best when attacking defenses vertically. As LaFleur began to expand Musgrave's role, the results quickly followed, with the rookie tight end making nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown in his final three games before suffering the injury.
Hopefully, Musgrave can return before the end of the season. His combination of speed and athleticism makes him tough to cover. The Packers may have found a future Pro Bowler in the second round of the draft.
Injuries have derailed Eric Stokes' season. After missing the second half of 2022, hamstring issues stalled his recovery this past summer. Four snaps into his return in Week 7, another hamstring injury sidelined him for another six games. Stokes could return in Week 14 against the New York Giants.
Stokes will be part of the Packers' plans in 2024, regardless of how many snaps he plays in the final five games this year. When healthy, Stokes is a starter at cornerback, and Green Bay will need him after trading away Rasul Douglas.
The 2024 season will be a big one for Stokes. It will be the final year of his rookie deal. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and get back to the level he was playing at throughout his rookie season.
T.J. Slaton is an unsung hero along the defensive line. His role as the nose tackle doesn't result in many sacks or big-time stops, but he regularly takes on double teams, making life easier for the other defensive linemen.
Slaton is having an excellent season, especially against the run. The Packers have full confidence in him, with Slaton starting all 12 games this year. Kenny Clark is the only defensive lineman to play more snaps.
Slaton should be locked into the 2024 starting lineup.
This article was originally published on lombardiave.com as 21 players who are locks for the Packers 2024 roster.2023-12-10T12:00:46Z dg43tfdfdgfd