Packers: Keep expectations low for rookies in 2020 season

Josiah Deguara (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Josiah Deguara (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

Expectations should be low for the Packers’ rookies in 2020.

Far too often, first-year players who fail to make an impact immediately are called “busts” before they’ve had much of a chance to develop their game.

It’s never an easy adjustment from college to the NFL. Rookies often don’t get much of an offseason as they immediately finish their college season and go into preparation for the draft, from pro days to the NFL Scouting Combine.

Then once the draft is over, it’s onto rookie minicamp, OTAs, and then training camp with their new team. A benefit of that is getting plenty of time over the summer to prepare for the new season.

Unique offseason presents tough challenge for rookies

This season will be much different. Offseason programs have been held virtually. For rookies, they will have another tough challenge to deal with. They’ve had no chance to get out on the practice field with their new teammates and won’t do so until training camp begins on July 28.

That puts first-year players behind the eight ball. It will also impact players who have signed with new teams, but NFL experience will help them.

Green Bay Packers first-round pick Jordan Love likely won’t see much playing time in the regular season anyway, barring an injury to Aaron Rodgers, but other rookies could. And we still don’t know how the coronavirus pandemic will impact the season.

If the season goes ahead as planned, it will be more important than ever to give rookies time to adapt, learn, and develop their game without being given the “bust” label. They’ve already missed out on valuable reps during the offseason program, and they now have around a month-and-a-half to make the adjustment from college to the NFL.

If there’s a positive for the Packers, it’s that many of their draft picks were made with the future in mind. But if AJ Dillon or Josiah Deguara or Kamal Martin don’t make a big impact this season, they need to be given time. That’s always the case with first-year players, but with unique circumstances impacting the offseason and 2020 season, this is especially true this year.