Packers: Players with the most to gain from camp absences
By Cody Young
After quite the rollercoaster of an offseason, Green Bay Packers fans can start looking towards the 2021 season. The first step in that process is training camp which officially started on Wednesday. The start of training camp is a great time of the year because we know real football is right around the corner.
Training camp is also the first time we get to see what new additions such as free agents and rookies can bring to the team. Unfortunately, due to injuries or other reasons, not everyone is able to be there right away.
On Tuesday afternoon a list of names came out, stating that the following players would start camp on the PUP and non-football injury list. Some of the more notable names are:
- David Bakhtiari
- Za’Darius Smith
- Kevin King
- Kingsley Keke
- Will Redmond
- Josiah Deguara
While not having everyone available is less than ideal, it is the way of the land on the NFL. To find a positive from this is that it allows for others to step in and receive opportunities they may not have had before, which is exactly what I wanted to look at today.
Player #1: TJ Staton
TJ Staton was drafted in the fifth round and he is an absolute mammoth of a man. One of only a couple of players to be over 300 pounds on the entire roster, Slaton may fit in nicely as a nose tackle behind Kenny Clark and may even receive true NT reps with Clark lining up on the outer interior of the line.
Player(s) #2: The young offensive linemen
The Packers currently have a plethora of young offensive linemen that have been drafted over the last couple of years. Guys like Jon Runyan, Royce Newman, and Cole Van Lanen should all be receiving ample opportunity in the absence of All-Pro David Bakhtiari.
Runyan should have the chance to battle for a starting job, especially if Bakhtiari can’t start the season. The other guys are definitely more for depth but can still be contributors nonetheless.
Player #3: Eric Stokes
In my opinion, the player with the most to gain right now is the Packers’ first-round selection, Eric Stokes. With the absence of veteran Kevin King, Stokes will be given the chance to play with the ones early on in camp. Of course, Stokes is being primed as a CB of the future opposite of Jaire Alexander but he can certainly make a big impact to start training camp.