Bold predictions for Packers in 2024: Surprises and shocks ahead

Green Bay Packers, Christian Watson, Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers, Christian Watson, Jordan Love / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

Throughout the Green Bay Packers' 2023 campaign, it became clear that the sky is the limit for this ascending team.

After falling just short of the NFC Championship, the Packers are hungrier than ever as they begin training camp later this month. As talented as the current roster is, there are a lot of question marks regarding certain elements of the team that continue to be up for debate.

Here are three bold predictions for the Packers' 2024 season that may blow your mind.

Three bold predictions for the Packers' 2024 season

1. Christian Watson leads the Packers in receiving yards and touchdowns

It was not so long ago that the media and fans were calling wide receiver Christian Watson the next big thing in Green Bay. Before struggling with injuries throughout his sophomore season in 2023, Watson shined as a rookie, catching seven touchdowns in his final seven games of 2022.

Despite 2023 being an injury-riddled season for Watson, there were some positives to take away. When able to stay on the field, Watson has looked like a true game-changer for the Packers' offense. His biggest performances came in Weeks 11 and 12, going for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Detroit Lions, followed up with 71 yards and two touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Watson's combination of size and speed causes problems for opposing defenses, and it looks like he and the Packers have addressed his hamstring issue. Following the 2023 season, it was reported that Watson visited the University of Madison to find the source of his hamstring issues.

After finding an incredible difference in muscle mass between his two legs, he has made an effort to close the gap in hopes of a healthier career. With Watson entering his third season as a pro, he could finally see the breakout many predicted for him two seasons ago, leading the Packers in both receiving yards and touchdowns.

As long as he can stay on the field, Watson should be near the top of the wide receiver group in 2024.

2. Jordan Morgan will start the season on the bench

It may shock some to learn that the Packers' first-round draft choice out of Arizona, Jordan Morgan, may not be a day-one starter in the NFL. However, it should be a shock to no one that Matt LaFleur and his staff anticipate "getting the best five out there" along the offensive line. This is referring to how versatile the Packers are with their offensive line, and many of their key linemen can play multiple positions. To put it simply, if Morgan is not one of the best five linemen to open the season, the Packers will not throw him into the starting lineup when he is not ready.

LaFleur was brutally honest when asked about Morgan in June, saying that "mentally he has a long way to go." The Packers truly believe in Morgan's skill set and will continue to push him, although the linemen may not make his NFL debut in Week 1.

Many could view Morgan's lack of early development as an issue, which would be considered an overreaction. Morgan is an exceptional athlete with elite agility and quick hands, which helped him be successful in college and blossom into a first-round selection.

Packers fans should know as well as anyone that it can be beneficial to have a player sit and wait while learning and practicing their craft, rather than starting a player just because they were a first-round pick with some higher expectations. Morgan will have his moment along the offensive line this season, but he may have to ride the bench to begin the year.

3. The Packers finally border on having an elite defense

In the past few seasons, the Packers' defense has been nothing short of a complete disappointment. A unit led by former defensive coordinator Joe Barry was constantly inconsistent, soft in coverage, and unable to stop some of the league's worst offenses. With the new hire of former Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley, the Packers' defense sounds rejuvenated and ready to attack their opponents.

The new defensive scheme's most notable concept is Hafley's love for press-man coverage, an ideology involving defensive backs playing up close and personal to their offensive counterparts. A known flaw within Barry's scheme was that the secondary would too often be caught dropping back into coverage predictably, allowing teams to pick up easy first downs in both short- and long-yardage situations. Hafley's approach is more aggressive, looking to force turnovers and pressure opposing players all over the field.

It cannot be understated how much a new coordinator can change a defense, and Hafley could be the spark the Packers' defense has needed to become an elite unit. This defense has talent at all three levels, including premier pass rushers, explosive linebackers, and skilled playmakers in the secondary. The unit made up of seven first-round selections has the talent to become an elite defense, and it should not be surprising if Hafley and the Packers take the next step this season.

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