6. Preston Smith
Credit to Preston Smith. He struggled last season and was considered a potential cap casualty in the spring. But the Packers stuck with him and, needing someone to step up without Za’Darius Smith out, Preston Smith did exactly that.
Smith didn’t miss a game all season, finishing with nine sacks and 17 quarterback hits. He formed a strong pass-rush partnership with Rashan Gary.
Smith is under contract in 2022 but his cap hit is $20.97 million. If the Packers move on, they will save around $13 million.
5. Rasul Douglas
One of the stories of the entire NFL season, the Packers signed Rasul Douglas off the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad in October and he would become a star in Joe Barry’s defense.
Douglas defended 13 passes and had a team-best five interceptions, two he returned for touchdowns and two more were game-winners. Simply phenomenal.
Without Jaire Alexander for most of the season, Douglas stepped in and helped the secondary play at a high level.
With a great season, Douglas has earned himself a new deal somewhere. He should get a big contract, but will it be in Green Bay? If they do re-sign him, a trio of Douglas, Jaire Alexander, and Eric Stokes would be something to build around.