The Green Bay Packers open their next round of OTAs starting today in Green Bay as the 2023 Packers take the field as a unit for the first time.
While lots can change between now and the start of the NFL season in September, here are five things to look for at Packers OTAs this week and what they mean for the team’s future:
- The Kicking Battle
The Packers will get a look at both kickers on their roster as sixth round pick Anders Carlson and undrafted free agent Parker White begin their fight for one roster spot.
If both players struggle, that increases the chances that the Packers could bring back Mason Crosby who remains unsigned. Crosby wants to continue his NFL career but remains without a deal.
Carlson has a strong leg but needs to return to the form he showed before suffering an ACL injury in 2021.
White was signed to a futures contract after the 2022 season ended. He is the all-time leading scorer in South Carolina history.
Neither player will clearly win the job at OTAs, but a poor performance could result in one of them not making it all the way to training camp and could open the door for Crosby.
- How Will the Offensive Line Look?
Offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich indicated that jobs are open at center, right guard and right tackle with David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins set on the left side. But who will get the first chance at center, right guard and right tackle?
If the Packers want the best five starters on the field, where does Zach Tom fit into that plan? Tom can play any position along the line, but does he maximize the unit at center, right guard, right tackle or as a swing man at all five positions?
Can Josh Myers establish himself after an inconsistent season last year? Can Jon Runyan, Jr. improve his run blocking to cement his status as a starter and is Yosh Nijman ready to start full time after being benched for the season finale against Detroit?
Add young players like Sean Rhyan, Royce Newman, Rasheed Walker and Caleb Jones and you have a lot of backup jobs up for grabs. The search for the best five starters and depth pieces won’t end this week but it will start now.
- How Will the Safety Battle Look?
The Packers have a lot of candidates at the safety position but few proven options. Darnell Savage is expected to be one starter but he’s coming off an inconsistent season that saw him get benched for poor play.
Jonathan Owens and Rudy Ford are among the top candidates fighting for the other starting spot along with rookie seventh-round pick Anthony Johnson, Jr. and special teams standouts Tarvarius Moore and Dallin Leavitt. Innis Gaines and Benny Sapp are also in camp fighting for roster spots.
Again, the battle won’t be won at OTAs, but these players will get a chance to make an important first impression on the coaching staff this week.
- How Will the Draft Picks Look?
Both coaches and fans will look at the 2023 draft class, who will get a chance to make a first impression on their veteran teammates.
Will Lukas Van Ness show he’s ready to get some real reps off the edge? The Packers will need more help there early in the season with Rashan Gary a question mark as he rehabs from his season-ending knee injury which may not allow him to be ready for Week 1.
The Packers have two day two picks at tight end in Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft and second round wideout Jayden Reed who all need to prove they are ready to produce early if the offense is going to execute well this season.
Day three picks who could add to the pass rush include defensive linemen Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks while Dontayvion Wicks and Grant DuBose will try to make a good first impression as receivers.
Running back Lew Nichols, defensive back Carrington Valentine and quarterback Sean Clifford are also looking to take the first step towards earning roster spots or at least a spot on the practice squad.
- All Eyes Will Be on Jordan Love
Jordan Love will get his first chance to show his teammates what kind of leader he is this week. No, we really won’t know what Love can do in actual game conditions based on non-padded workouts this week, but his leadership style will certainly be on display.
Just the fact that Love is present and working with his young receivers and tight ends at voluntary OTAs already differentiates him from last year’s starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who was notably absent from all OTAs that were not mandatory a year ago.
Hopefully, Love shows his confidence and leadership and inspires confidence from his teammates as he starts to run Matt LaFleur’s offense. That will be a good first step for the former Utah State star as the team’s new starting quarterback.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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