The Packers’ draft class has made a strong start to training camp.
The Green Bay Packers were criticized by fans and analysts for their work in the 2020 draft. They didn’t draft a wide receiver and used their opening two picks at quarterback and running back.
Despite that, the early signs from training camp are good regarding this year’s class, with many of the rookies impressing in the first week of practice.
AJ Dillon has already shown enough to believe he can make a real impact in year one.
Dillon has also shown an ability to contribute in the passing game as a receiver. He didn’t do much of this at college, but Matt LaFleur is going to ensure opportunities keep coming his way. LaFleur wants his running backs to be able to catch passes and Dillon is stepping up to the challenge.
Aaron Nagler of Cheesehead TV did note that Dillon struggled in pass protection earlier this week so this is something he’ll need to improve, but as a runner and pass-catcher, Dillon has been making plays.
It’s no secret that head coach Matt LaFleur is a big fan of third-round pick Josiah Deguara, who is going to be moved around and have a lot of roles in his offense.
One of those roles will be to catch passes, and he’s been making some plays at practice already. Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette wrote that Deguara looked “like a natural WR” as he made a catch against Raven Greene.
As Deguara develops, he’s going to be an important part of this offense.
But it’s not just the offensive players making an impact.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweeted that there are two players whose stock is rising. One is inside linebacker Kamal Martin, a fifth-round pick in April. The other is undrafted cornerback Stanford Samuels. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also wrote about Martin’s impressive start to training camp, one that could lead to a spot in the starting lineup.
With an open competition for the number two inside linebacker spot next to Christian Kirksey, Martin appears to be very much in the mix alongside Oren Burks and Ty Summers.
Another rookie who has impressed is seventh-round pick Vernon Scott. He has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Packers at training camp, and his versatility could make him another talented player in the secondary.
It’s early days still, of course, and the Packers have only completed just over a week of practice at training camp. We’ll learn more about this draft class over the next season, and even more in the years to come, but there are more than enough reasons to be encouraged.
Throughout the first week of training camp, there have been positives for a number of rookies on both sides of the ball, including draft picks and undrafted free agents.