5 biggest remaining Packers needs after the first wave of free agency

Green Bay Packers, Brian Gutekunst
Green Bay Packers, Brian Gutekunst / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers addressed their biggest offseason need in free agency with the signing of star safety Xavier McKinney.

They made another surprise move by adding All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs to replace Aaron Jones. Green Bay signed two of the best free agents on the market, which will affect their draft plans.

Along with the incomings, the Packers also lost several starters, including Jones, De'Vondre Campbell, Darnell Savage, and Jon Runyan Jr.

The Packers can still add talent in free agency, but most of their roster building will take place in the 2024 NFL Draft. What are the team's top five needs after the first wave of free agency?

Ranking Packers' biggest needs after signing Xavier McKinney and Josh Jacobs

5. Tackle

The Packers have two talented starting tackles, Rasheed Walker and Zach Tom. However, with David Bakhtiari and Yosh Nijman gone, Green Bay has no depth. Luke Tenuta or Caleb Jones would be the swing tackle if the season started today—they have seven NFL snaps between them.

Green Bay doesn't have to draft a tackle on the opening night, but it must add quality offensive linemen to the roster. That could mean drafting a college tackle who will play inside at the NFL level, providing much-needed versatility.

4. Cornerback

Green Bay re-signed Keisean Nixon, Corey Ballentine, and Robert Rochell, but it doesn't change much. The Packers need to add at least one cornerback.

Jaire Alexander missed 10 games last season and 13 in 2021. Eric Stokes has only played three games since suffering a torn meniscus and Lisfranc injury midway through the 2022 season. Carrington Valentine impressed as a rookie, but he was a seventh-round pick last year and still has a lot to prove.

The Packers brought back Nixon, but they still need to upgrade the slot corner position. According to Pro Football Reference, Nixon allowed a 77.8 completion percentage, three touchdowns, and a passer rating of 104.8 in his coverage last season.

3. Safety

Xavier McKinney is a game-changing addition to the Packers' secondary. Safety is no longer the team's most significant need, but they still need to address the position. The Packers lost both starters in free agency. McKinney steps into the starting lineup, but Green Bay must add another safety via free agency or the draft.

If the season started today, the Packers would likely have 2023 seventh-round pick Anthony Johnson Jr. start alongside McKinney.

2. Interior offensive line

Green Bay's starting right guard from the past three seasons, Jon Runyan, is gone. Third-year Sean Rhyan is the frontrunner to replace him, but the Packers are one injury away from starting Royce Newman at guard. That's assuming Newman even makes the roster. The Packers could also look at the center position. Starter Josh Myers improved in the second half of last season but enters a contract year in 2024.

Expect Green Bay to use multiple picks on the offensive line. Brian Gutekunst prioritizes versatility—Elgton Jenkins and Zach Tom can play all five positions—and he may target players with experience at tackle and guard. That brings Duke's Graham Barton and Washington's Troy Fautanu into play in the first round.

1. Linebacker

Switching to a 4-3 system means starting three linebackers in base defense. The Packers have two, including Isaiah McDuffie, and it's not guaranteed they view him as a starter.

Green Bay released De'Vondre Campbell at the start of the new league year, increasing the importance of adding a middle linebacker. Quay Walker is the only guaranteed starter. Using a top pick on an off-ball linebacker is never ideal, considering it's not a premium position, but the Packers may have to. They likely need to draft two.

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