Change is inevitable in the NFL. Each season, players come and go, and new players take their role in the lineup. The Green Bay Packers are no exception. Here is a look at five Packers players who have a realistic chance to play a bigger role on the team in 2024. Players who are not presently under contract or who missed time due to injury are not included on this list.

Packers Player Who Could Have a Bigger Role Number 5: S Anthony Johnson, Jr.

The Packers have a lot of uncertainty at safety entering this offseason. Their top three players at the position, Darnell Savage, Jonathan Owens, and Rudy Ford, are all scheduled to be unrestricted free agents and may not be back.

The top remaining player on the roster at the position is Anthony Johnson, Jr. The former Iowa State star made the team after a strong training camp despite being a seventh-round pick. He started four games for the Packers when injuries struck the secondary and played in 12 contests for the team.

Johnson broke up three passes and made his first career NFL interception in the Packers midseason win over the Rams.

Johnson played 40 percent of the Packers defensive snaps and opposing quarterbacks had a 66.8 quarterback rating when throwing to receivers covered by the rookie. According to Pro Football Focus, Johnson needs to improve his ability to defend the run.

The Packers will add more safeties in the draft and possibly in free agency, but Johnson has a good chance to play a bigger role on defense in 2024 if he continues to develop and build on his surprising rookie season.

Number 4: G Sean Rhyan

Sean Rhyan will be entering his third season in the NFL in 2024. The former third-round pick out of UCLA suffered through a disappointing rookie campaign that saw him play one snap in one game while struggling to adjust to a new position and playing in the NFL. He was also suspended late in the season for violating the league’s PED policy.

Last year, Rhyan started to see the field more often and played in 12 games including 23 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in those games. Rhyan rotated in at right guard, spelling starter Jon Runyan, Jr. With Runyan scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, Rhyan will likely get a chance to take over the starting spot at the position.

Rhyan remains a better run blocker than pass protector at this stage of his career. If he can hone his pass blocking techniques, he may just emerge as a starter for the first time in his career in 2024.

Packers Player Who Could Have a Bigger Role Number 3: DL Karl Brooks

Karl Brooks surprised a lot of people with his strong rookie season. The Packers sixth-round pick made a big jump from Bowling Green to the NFL but showed the ability to beat blockers and get pressure on the quarterback.

Brooks finished the season with four sacks and six tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble and recovered two while also breaking up four passes. As a rookie, Brooks played in all 17 games and 34 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

With the Packers switching to a four-man defensive line, Brooks should get more chances to be on the field in 2024.

Number Two: ILB Isaiah McDuffie

Linebacker Isaiah McDuffie wasn’t expected to start in 2023 but injuries to both Quay Walker and De’Vondre Campbell at different points in the season thrust him into action. McDuffie started eight games and finished second on the team in total tackles.

With Campbell’s return far from a certainty and Walker possibly moving outside, McDuffie may see more action in 2024.

The fact that he played under new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley at Boston College may also give McDuffie a slight edge heading into the new season.

Packers Player Who Could Have a Bigger Role Number 1: CB Carrington Valentine

Cornerback Carrington Valentine provided the Packers with a pleasant surprise in his rookie campaign. The former Kentucky star started 12 games as a seventh-round pick. He picked things up quickly and made an immediate impression in training camp and preseason.

During the regular season, Valentine broke up nine passes and recovered a fumble which he returned 50 yards.

Valentine is a physical cornerback. He needs to learn exactly what he can get away with and what will get flagged for pass interference to take his game to the next level. Still, opposing passers completed just 57.6 percent of their passes when throwing to receivers covered by Valentine and had a quarterback rating of just 84.8.

With Eric Stokes’ future role uncertain due to injuries, Valentine has a good chance of earning more playing time in his second NFL season if he continues to develop and has a strong camp and preseason.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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