Packers should add depth at edge rusher, cornerback

Green Bay Packers, Tramon Williams (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Tramon Williams (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers should continue to add talent at edge rusher and cornerback.

Fixing the pass defense has been a priority for the Packers, and they’ve seen significant improvements to the pass rush and secondary in recent years.

Neither position will be a priority in the offseason, but continuing to add talent at edge rusher and cornerback is always a smart idea, especially given depth could become an issue for the Packers.

Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith dominated in Year 1 with the Packers, combining for 25.5 sacks and 60 quarterback hits. They both ranked inside the top 10 for edge defenders in ESPN’s pass rush win rate metric.

The Smith Bros. will be key to the success of the Packers’ pass rush for years to come, but GM Brian Gutekunst should consider adding more depth at edge rusher this offseason.

First-round pick Rashan Gary will be expected to make a jump in his second season. If he does, Green Bay will have a strong trio at the position. But outside of these three pass rushers, there is a lack of depth.

Kyler Fackrell, who had double-digit sacks in 2018 but only one this season, is a free agent. With only one strong season to his name, there’s surely a good chance the Packers will move on this offseason.

Gutekunst doesn’t need to go out and spend big money or use an early-round draft pick at the position, but adding more pass-rushing options in the offseason should be on the to-do list.

Depending on price, perhaps Atlanta Falcons pass rusher Vic Beasley could interest Gutekunst. The Falcons announced this week that they won’t be re-signing Beasley, meaning he’ll hit free agency next month.

While it hasn’t worked out for Beasley in Atlanta, he has 37.5 sacks in five seasons, including eight in 2019 and a career-best 15.5 in the Falcons’ Super Bowl season in 2016. Beasley wouldn’t need to be Green Bay’s top pass rusher but he’d be a great addition to the rotation and an upgrade on Fackrell.

At cornerback, starters Jaire Alexander and Kevin King both had fine seasons, combining for 32 pass defenses, seven interceptions and 124 tackles.

Tramon Williams had a solid season with seven starts, making eight pass defenses with two interceptions. But he’s a free agent this spring and turns 37 next month. If he doesn’t come back in 2020, the Packers will need to add more depth at cornerback.

Chandon Sullivan played well, making six pass defenses and an interception. The Packers will be hoping for more from Josh Jackson, who had a solid end to the season but only played on 10 percent of the defensive snaps all season, down from 68 percent in his rookie year, according to Pro Football Reference.

The depth behind Alexander and King should be addressed this offseason if Williams doesn’t return.

The Packers have starters at both edge rusher and cornerback, but depth could become an issue at both positions. Adding more talent this offseason is a must.