The Packers have made big changes at safety, first letting Morgan Burnett walk in free agency last offseason, to trading away Ha Ha Clinton-Dix midway through the season. Maybe Josh Jackson will move to safety. Maybe the team has confidence that Josh Jones or Raven Greene will step up next season.
Either way, safety should still be one of the team’s biggest priorities this offseason.
2. Offensive line
Since 2013, the Packers have only used one pick inside the opening four rounds on the offensive line, trading up for Jason Spriggs in the second round in 2016. In that time they’ve lost starting guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang, and tackle Bryan Bulaga has also missed time due to injury.
David Bakhtiari is an All-Pro left tackle and Corey Linsley continues to offer continuity and excellent play at the center position. But without Bulaga, who has one year left on his contract, the Packers have concerns at right tackle and both guard positions.
A fair amount of the blame for Green Bay’s inconsistent offense this year should go to the protection. Brian Gutekunst needs to make rebuilding the offensive line a priority.
1. Edge rusher
With so much focus being placed on the secondary early in the draft, and rightfully so, the Packers were unable to find an upgrade at edge rusher. It’s clear Gutekunst was actively searching for more talent to the pass rush as the Packers were reportedly among the teams trying to trade for Khalil Mack.
While the Packers are third in the league for sacks, they haven’t got enough production from their edge rushers not named Kyler Fackrell (eight sacks this season).
Clay Matthews and Reggie Gilbert have just 2.5 sacks each. Nick Perry posted just 1.5 sacks before going on injured reserve. Matthews is a free agent this offseason and the Packers may decide to free up some cap room by releasing Perry.
Expect Gutekunst to be aggressive in free agency, and particularly the draft, as he continues to search for more talent at edge rusher.
While safety is a big need for this team, finding upgrades at edge rusher and along the offensive line should be the top two priorities for Gutekunst this offseason.