5 Packers Breakout Candidates to Watch this Summer

Discover the top 5 Green Bay Packers breakout candidates to watch this summer. Get insights on the players poised to make a significant impact during the offseason and the 2024 NFL season.
Green Bay Packers OTA Offseason Workout
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4. Karl Brooks, Defensive Line

The defensive side of the football will be intriguing to watch this season. Head coach Matt LaFleur changes defensive coordinators more frequently than the average person cycles through socks, and he's on his third in six seasons at the helm.

New coordinator Jeff Hafley promises to bring the intensity and aggression LaFleur and his players have been searching for (only time will tell if it's for real this time). That should set up players like Karl Brooks for tremendous success.

Brooks was drafted in the sixth round last year after Green Bay selected another defensive lineman, Colby Wooden, in the fourth. However, he quickly surpassed Wooden during the preseason and only built momentum as the season continued.

He's a bit slight for a defensive lineman, but he makes up for it with wiggle and quickness. He'll likely be paired alongside Kenny Clark or TJ Slaton to make up for his lack of size. He'll also get plenty of opportunities to get after the quarterback in passing situations. Expect a solid year from Brooks.

3. Lukas Van Ness, Defensive End

Like quarterbacks, the Packers love to slowly build up great pass-rushers on the edge. They're hoping Lukas Van Ness follows in Rashan Gary's footsteps and begins rising to his level.

Van Ness was a first-round pick last year but was buried on the depth chart behind Gary, Preston Smith, and Kingsley Enagbare. All three guys are back this year, but the Packers are expecting Van Ness to surpass them.

Van Ness is an elite athlete with a tremendous blend of power and speed. We saw that in some flashes last year, and now it's time he began to show it more consistently. Smith, who is Mr. Consistency, is on the wrong side of 30, and his best days are behind him. The Packers desperately need some more playmakers on this side of the ball and hope their 2023 first-rounder is ready to begin filling that role.