Packers: Grading each position group following the draft and free agency

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Running Backs

Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, AJ Dillon, Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor Jr., Tyler Ervin, Josiah Deguara, Elijah Wellman

The Packers saw a resurgence in their running game last season. Of course, that could be mostly due to the new offense head coach Matt LaFleur installed last season, but having a back like Aaron Jones doesn’t hurt. Jones is coming off of a huge year. He ran for over 1,000 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also added almost 500 yards receiving and three touchdowns. That’s a ton of production. He is one of the most underrated backs in the league and in the top-five in my opinion.

Jamaal Williams will also be playing on the last year of his contract. He was a good complement to Jones last year, providing some thunder to the thunder-and-lightning duo. He isn’t just a power runner either; he caught 39 passes for 253 yards ad five touchdowns. He’s been putting in work on his route running this offseason, hopefully making him an even bigger threat.

The Packers lost fan-favorite fullback Danny Vitale, but they brought in two players to join Jones and Williams in the backfield. Running back AJ Dillon will bring even more thunder to the Packers backfield. He is a physical runner who could be the future of the position. To fill in the spot left by Vitale, the Packers drafted tight end/H-back Josiah Deguara. Deguara has good blocking ability and will likely be a better receiving option out of the backfield than Vitale was.

Dexter Williams didn’t necessarily live up to any expectations last season. With injuries throughout the year, he still didn’t find his way onto the field. He may be a cut candidate at the start of the season. Tyler Ervin came in partway through last season and provided a nice spark on special teams, saving the Packers from being the worst return unit in league history. He also found some use in the offense as well, coming in for a few special gadget plays.

With the addition of Dillon and Deguara, this unit is probably stronger than last year.

Grade: A

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Devin Funchess, Equanimeous St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, Darrius Shepard, Reggie Begelton

This was the group of concern all of last season. The receiving corps has one of the best receivers in the game in Davante Adams. After that, a whole lot of question marks. Allen Lazard went from being a camp casualty to a nice surprise. The Packers will be looking for more from him this upcoming season.

MVS was the player many wanted to break out and be Rodgers’ deep threat/home run hitter with his speed. He made an impact early in the season but disappeared and wasn’t much of a factor towards the end of the year. The Packers will be looking for him to get out of his ‘sophomore slump’ this season.

Equanimeous St. Brown showed some promise at the end of his rookie year, but after suffering a season-ending injury in the preseason, he didn’t make it back to the active roster in 2019. EQ is someone who Rodgers is excited about and could be a significant contributor this season. Jake Kumerow, another fan favorite, will have his work cut out for him to make the roster. He made a few plays last year but he still didn’t make much of an impact.

Two interesting additions to the receiving squad are free agent Devin Funchess and former Canadian Football League star, Reggie Begelton. Funchess is a big-bodied receiver who could provide the Packers with a big red zone target. The former college tight end had some productive years in Carolina before missing most of last season with the Colts due to injury. He signed a cheap deal that could be a good value for the Packers.

Begelton is coming off a huge season in the CFL where he tallied over 100 catches, 1,400 yards, and 10 touchdowns. Whether that will translate into the NFL remains to be seen, but he is a candidate to make the roster.

Besides the loss of Geronimo Allison, the receiving group didn’t lose much. Adding Funchess and EQ will make this a stronger group, but it still needs a good amount of work outside of Adams.

Grade: C+