Packers: Three breakout candidates for 2021 season

Green Bay Packers, Darnell Savage (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Darnell Savage (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

After suffering a tough loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in last season’s NFC title game, the Green Bay Packers will be back hungry and eager to get to the Super Bowl. To accomplish this feat, the young guns on the roster will need to step up and contribute mightily.

The Packers have an extremely tough schedule in the 2021 season. They have the fourth hardest schedule in terms of teams’ overall records last year. They play 10 games against teams who made the playoffs last season.

Of course, the Packers’ big players will be productive. But to get over the hump, some young players on the roster will need to have breakout seasons.

Who will come out guns blazing in 2021?

Here are three players who will make a big jump in 2021.

Darnell Savage

Darnell Savage will look to imprint his name in the league, the hard-hitting third-year safety is set to have a breakout season. Savage had four interceptions last season and could’ve easily had a few more.

Although Savage was stellar in 2020, he could’ve been even better. As he gains more and more experience on the field, his overall intelligence will increase. A play that comes to mind was in the NFCCG against the Bucs. He went up for a 50/50 ball against Chris Godwin and mistimed his jump. A third-and-nine on the Bucs’ side of the field quickly turned into a first-and-10 in the Packers’ red zone.

I expect Savage to turn into a player like Jamal Adams. A player who blitzes the QB frequently, while maintaining quality coverage and constantly dishing out hard hits.

Krys Barnes

Krys Barnes was an eye-catching player for the Packers last season. After he was cut and signed to the Packers’ practice squad in 2020, Barnes was finally given a chance to start aside Christian Kirksey just a week later.

The Packers signed Barnes as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA. Barnes played all four years in college and earned an All-Pac 12 honourable mention in his senior year.

Barnes was placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list for a month last season. Starting only 10 games, he managed to contribute 80 tackles. He also managed to create a forced fumble against Teddy Bridgewater on a goal-line stand which was a major turning point in that game.

Barnes has major speed that tends to get him out of position at some points. If he works hard to improve his footwork and football instincts, he will be a problem for opposing offenses.

Barnes has all the capabilities of being an outstanding player. Barring any injuries, I expect Krys to be a stud for the Packers defense in 2021.

Kingsley Keke

The 2019 fifth-rounder will look to improve on his solid 2020 season. Kingsley Keke rounded up four sacks and 21 tackles. He also managed to rack up eight QB hits. Keke recorded his four sacks in only two different games. He had two sacks against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3 and two sacks against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 13.

Keke showed glimpses of excellence but was unable to produce consistently. Aside from Za’Darius Smith, the D-line struggled to get through to the quarterback. If other members of the D-line are able to cause problems for the opposing O-line, things would open up for Keke.

I believe Keke is capable of having a 6-8 sack season. His strength at times can be unmatched.

Overall, the Packers have a lot of young talent and I believe these three studs will have breakout seasons.

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