Packers 2021 roster preview: Krys Barnes enters year two
When the Green Bay Packers signed Krys Barnes as an undrafted free agent last year, few could’ve expected the role he would play on defense as a rookie.
Barnes ended the season as a regular starter and arguably the team’s best inside linebacker.
The Packers have brought in two inside linebackers to the roster in recent months, so where does that leave Barnes entering his second season?
Barnes played in 13 games with 10 starts in the regular season, making 80 tackles, one sack, and forcing one fumble.
At the start of September, Barnes was waived and didn’t make the team’s initial 53-man roster. The Packers kept four inside linebackers: Christian Kirksey, Kamal Martin, Ty Summers, and Oren Burks.
Barnes was signed to the practice squad but didn’t stay there long. Martin was placed on injured reserve ahead of the season opener, and Barnes was promoted to the active roster shortly after. Not just that, but he actually started the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings alongside Kirksey.
Barnes had a solid season and deservedly saw his snap counts increase throughout the year.
Will he make the roster?
There’s a strong chance Barnes will make the 53-man roster this time. Although the Packers brought in free-agent De’Vondre Campbell and drafted Isaiah McDuffie, they also released Kirksey earlier this offseason.
What to expect in 2021
While there’s a good chance Barnes will make the roster, it’s unclear where he’ll sit on the depth chart at inside linebacker. Campbell will likely be the top choice and start most games, and Barnes could easily be the number two who often starts next to him.
Much will depend on the development of another second-year player, Martin. Martin impressed last summer but missed time due to an injury he suffered before the start of the season.
Summers and Burks play the majority of their snaps on special teams, and it remains to be seen what role rookie McDuffie will have in his first year.
There’s a good chance the Packers’ top three at inside linebacker in 2021 will be Campbell, Barnes, and Martin.