Green Bay Packers: 6 Early Positional Battles to Watch this Summer

Cornerback Eric Stokes (21) is shown during the first day of Green Bay Packers rookie minicamp Friday, May 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wis.Cent02 7fs8c7uf9igy3k8uhjf Original
Cornerback Eric Stokes (21) is shown during the first day of Green Bay Packers rookie minicamp Friday, May 14, 2021 in Green Bay, Wis.Cent02 7fs8c7uf9igy3k8uhjf Original /
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By and large, this 2021 Green Bay Packers team is going to look very similar to the 2020 squad. Given the salary cap restraints that Green Bay found themselves under, GM Brian Gutekunst and Co. thought that the Packers’ best chance for another Super Bowl push was to run it back here in 2021–that meant re-signing Aaron Jones, Kevin King, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, and Chandon Sullivan, among several others, and asking Preston Smith and Devin Funchess to take pay cuts.

So when you have a team that made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game and is bringing back a large number of those players, there aren’t a ton of positional battles that will be taking place–or in the Packers’ case, at least not many that come with significant playing time.

With rookie mini-camp here, it’s not long before OTAs are underway and then eventually training camp, where we can see these positional battles unfold. At this time, I’ve counted six noteworthy roster spots up for grabs that I’ll have my eyes on this summer, and while each comes with varying degrees of playing time, whoever assumes each of these roles will see the field this season.

Edge Rusher 4

Candidates: Randy Ramsey, Carlo Kemp, Tipa Galeai, Jonathan Garvin

The Green Bay Packers are set up well at the edge position with a bulk of the snaps going towards The Smiths and Rashan Gary. Last season Jonathan Garvin took the fourth-most snaps among the Green Bay edge rushers yet he saw the field on just over eight percent of the total defensive snaps–so when I said there will be varying degrees of playing time, this is what I meant. Unless there’s an injury, this likely won’t be a large role.

Randy Ramsey was brought back as an exclusive rights free agent, while Garvin was the Packers’ seventh-round pick in the 2020 draft and Tipa Galeai was a UDFA last year–both of which are exciting players with potential. Joining them will be Carlo Kemp, a 2021 UDFA from Michigan. All have relatively little to no NFL experience, but all of them will have to adjust to Joe Barry’s new defense.

Running back 3

Candidates: Dexter Williams, Mike Weber, Kylin Hill, Patrick Taylor

Like the edge rusher position, the Green Bay Packers are pretty well set at running back with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. Heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, Matt LaFleur did mention how he would love to have a third running back option to lean on occasionally, providing Jones and Jamaal Williams with some breaks here and there. So with that same line of thinking could come opportunities for whoever wins this role, but again, Jones and Dillon will take a majority of the snaps.

It really feels like it’s now or never for Dexter Williams who has struggled to gain the trust of the coaching staff with his inconsistencies in the passing game and in pass protection. Mike Weber was a highly productive back on the ground at Ohio State and was signed to the practice squad last season. Meanwhile, Patrick Taylor and Kylin Hill are two very well-rounded backs, and my guess is that it’s one of these two who wins the job.