In an offseason clouded by controversy at the quarterback position, the Green Bay Packers have made very few changes to their talented roster. Here, we take a look at players who could have a significant increased role this season:
TE Jace Sternberger (2020 Stats: 12 Receptions, 114 Receiving Yards, 1 TD)
Sternberger has done himself no favors to this point in his career. He was injured for most of his rookie season, and had several uncharacteristic drops that put him in the doghouse last season. His struggles, along with the emergence of Dominique Dafney, forced Sternberger to the inactive list after Week 12.
Sternberger has the athletic profile that fits with what the Packers do on offense. After a reception, he has shown he can be dynamic in the open field. Green Bay will want to provide more variety on offense, regardless of whether Rodgers returns or not. As a result, that could mean more opportunities for Sternberger. Some have compared his measurables to the likes of George Kittle, and even if he totals the same output, Sternberger could be an above-average blocker in this offense.
RB A.J. Dillon (2020 Stats: 46 Attempts, 242 Rushing Yards, 2 TD)
Jamaal Williams had a big impact on the Packers offense last season, and there is reason to believe that Dillon will receive a similar share of the work. While Dillion is more of a power back, he could be utilized in situations relating to short yardage and goal line work. He could also be useful late in games as a closer for the Packers offense. Aaron Jones will likely pick up more work in the passing game, while Kylin Hill could see a small handful of touches per game if he makes the active roster. Hill also could provide a Tyler Ervin-style role for the offense. Dillion has more upside than Williams, so seeing a larger share of the offense this season would not be a surprise.
DL Kingsley Keke (2020 Stats: 21 Tackles, 4 Sacks)
When it comes to impact, Keke could have the most potential for the Packers among players named on this segment. Green Bay has been starving for a player to step up next to Kenny Clark and take some of the pressure off the rest of the defensive front. As a rookie, Keke never played more than 25% of snaps in a single game. In five games last season, Keke played in over 50% of the defensive snaps and recorded four sacks; two of which were against the New Orleans Saints in Week 3. He unfortunately suffered a concussion in Week 16, ending his season. By re-signing Tyler Lancaster and drafting Taderrell Slaton, the Packers could have more interior depth in compared to previous years.
OL Jon Runyan Jr (2020 Stats: 8 Games Played, 0 Games Started)
One of the strengths of this team is their offensive line. As a sixth-round rookie, Runyan took offensive snaps in eight different games and took over 70% of snaps in Week 10 and 11 against the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles. Runyan showed poise for a young lineman and allowed Elgton Jenkins to move around to fill voids due to ongoing injuries. If the Packers decide to move Jenkins to the tackle position, Runyan can transition to the right side and emerge as an immediate starter.
CB Josh Jackson (2020 Stats: 26 Tackles, 2 PD)
Most have sold on Josh Jackson to this point. He has been viewed as a magnet for penalties and has not been able to show consistency on defense. However, the Packers have misused Jackson to this point in his career. A new defensive scheme may be just what Jackson needs to revitalize his career and provide the Packers with depth at the cornerback position. Jackson isn’t expected to be a shutdown corner, but if he can log meaningful snaps behind Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, and Chandon Sullivan, it will allow the Packers to properly develop rookie Eric Stokes entering this season.