Draft class could help top-ranked Packers offense soar even higher in 2021

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The Green Bay Packers were the NFL’s top-ranked offense in points scored (509) and DVOA last season. If quarterback Aaron Rodgers returns, there’s a chance they could be even better in 2021.

Retaining running back Aaron Jones, wide receiver Allen Lazard and tight end Robert Tonyan for at least one more season ensured that the Packers will be operating with a full arsenal of weapons this year. The offense should also benefit from the return of second-year tight end/H-back Josiah Deguara, who tore his left ACL and missed all but two games last year, and an expanded role from second-year running back A.J. Dillon.

The only notable free-agent losses this offseason were All-Pro center Corey Linsley, right guard Lane Taylor and backup running back Jamaal Williams. With Jones and Dillon on the roster, the Packers still have plenty of talent and sufficient depth at running back. They also drafted Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill in the seventh round of the draft this year.

To replace Linsley, the Packers drafted Ohio State center Josh Myers in the second round of this year’s draft. While there’s likely to be somewhat of a drop off in center play going from an All-Pro to a second-round rookie, the Packers undoubtedly accomplished two important things with the Myers pick: they added much-needed depth to the offensive line and gave themselves a good chance to mitigate the loss of Linsley. Drafting Ole Miss offensive tackle/guard Royce Newman and Wisconsin offensive tackle/guard Cole Van Lanen in the fourth and sixth rounds, respectively, should help fill the void left by Taylor’s departure.

The offseason acquisition poised to make the biggest immediate impact may be third-round receiver Amari Rodgers. The former Clemson standout and son of Ravens wide receiver coach Tee Martin can contribute in a variety of ways, strengthening strengths from last year while also shoring up weaknesses.

To take advantage of Rodgers’ dynamic run-after-catch ability, the Packers might feel inclined to run more bubble screens and swings out of the backfield. That could quicken the average time to throw and make life easier on the offensive line. Rodgers will also be an asset in the run game with his ability to sustain blocks on the perimeter and seal lanes for running backs. His kick and punt return ability could potentially be an improvement over what they’ve had the last few years as well.

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Rodgers might also provide vertical receiving ability from the slot. At 5-9 with 30 3/8″ arms, he doesn’t project as a “ball winner” down the field. With a 4.52 “official” Clemson Pro Day 40 time, he’s not a burner, either. Neither of those factors stopped him from being an impact deep threat in college, however, so he may still be able to provide something as a downfield threat in the NFL.

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Rodgers should be a terrific complementary piece for the Packers offense with his plus receiving skills, blocking ability and positional versatility. If Aaron Rodgers returns, there’s no limit to how good the offense can be in 2021.

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