Packers: 3 biggest questions on defense entering 2019 season

Green Bay Packers, Oren Burks (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Oren Burks (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 09: Josh Jackson #37 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with Jaire Alexander #23 after deflecting a pass during the second half of a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field on December 09, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Who will make the second-year jump?

A lot of the focus will be on the new signings made on defense, but equally as important is which players can make the second-year jump. This year’s draft class is important, but it’s also the development of last year’s class that will make the difference.

Jaire Alexander was excellent in his first year, deservedly being named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team as a result, but can he now take the next step? How about Josh Jackson, a second-round pick a year ago who was inconsistent in his rookie season?

Another player to watch is linebacker Oren Burks, who was a third-round selection in last year’s draft. Blake Martinez had high praise for Burks last week:

“I think Oren has made the biggest improvement of anyone I’ve seen, and it’s just been awesome to see,” Martinez said.

The trio of Alexander, Jackson and Burks will have important roles to play in Mike Pettine’s defense this season, and two or three of them could be regular starters.

The Packers’ defense has the potential to finish in the top 10 this season. Part of that will be the new signings made this offseason, but they also need second-year players to continue to improve. Alexander, Jackson and Burks all have the talent to do just that.