The first of the Smith brothers will be lined up at the left end for the season and will look to bounce back after an abysmal year recording just 1 sack while being healthy for all 16 games. He isn’t the best-run stuffer either so he needs to get it going in the passing game or the younger Toney will replace him as he’s shown flashes of both run stopping and pass rushing.
RE: Preston Smith/Patrick Johnson
The second Smith bro is across the Packer’s 3-4 defense at the right end spot. Unlike Za’Darius, Preston had a pretty good season last year and earned a big contract extension. While not the best of the best, he’s working his way up and proving that he can be the primary guy a defense has to gameplan for. Patrick Johnson is a depth piece and Smith has great stamina to play a whole game.
DT: Alim McNeill/Keondre Coburn/Jowon Briggs/Brandon Pili/Naquon Jones
After trading Kenny Clark, the Packers drafted two defensive tackles but neither was super impressive in the preseason and Coburn lost the starting spot to the still young Alim McNeill. He isn’t the smartest player but he has the raw talents against both the run and pass and can keep Green Bay as a top 5 rush defense and let the Smiths not be consistently double-teamed. Coburn and Briggs, the rookies, still provide a change of pace if they’re needed. Pili and Jones are simply depth pieces to fill the roster as the Packers 3-4 won’t require them to step up even in the case of an injury.
LOLB: Micah Parsons/Joe Tryon
Even as young as he is, Parsons is already a superstar who is primarily a threat as a pass rusher who compliments Za’Darius and Preston Smith extremely well, but can also stop those stretch runs to his side at a strong rate. He does his job as best as he can and causes other teams to game plan for him. Green Bay also has Tryon who had an outstanding preseason to back up Parsons in case of injury.
Evans is the veteran signal-caller of the Packers’ good defense and will play almost every snap because of his high intelligence and ability to play well in coverage and running to the ball when it’s handed off. The second inside linebacker in Green Bay’s 3-4 will primarily be the young, athletic, and promising Paddy Fisher but Davis-Gaither and Sanborn are also unique players with high upsides in certain aspects of the game and will likely see the field on a weekly basis, Akeem in pass defense in relief of Fisher and Sanborn in potential relief of Evans as the smarter anchor linebacker of the defense.
ROLB: Rashan Gary/MoMo Sanogo
Gary made incredible leaps in his play last year and looks to really contribute as a star on this defense as the opposite edge rusher from Micah Parsons. He also has shown he can stuff the run well and even make some great plays in coverage if thrown at. Sanogo likely won’t see the field unless there’s an injury as he is a good run stopper and special teamer but can’t do much else.
The cornerback unit was revitalized as Jaire Alexander finally has another lockdown player across from him in the number 4 overall pick Tyreke Johnson. They will lock down opposing receivers in the basic 3-4 set-up and be ball-hawks in nickel and dime packages. Kevin King is moved down to the 3rd spot in the depth chart and will be in as a slot corner when needed or if one of the starters is injured. Taylor-Stuart will also see decent minutes as he looks to be a steal in this draft and can be a star if given the right surroundings. The evidence of this group’s improvement is proven by McCreary and Hollman going from fringe starters to secure depth as backups.
FS: Darnell Savage/Darrick Forrest
Savage was extended last year and will be the starting free safety on hopefully every snap as he is an athletic guy who can fly around the field making plays. He’s backed up by Forrest who had a strong preseason and looks to be a solid option if he is needed in relief of Savage for whatever reason.
SS: Adrian Amos/Lannden Zanders/Reed Blankenship
Likely his last year with Green Bay as he is aging and still a player that requires a lot of money, Amos will be the clear-cut starter and play as many snaps as he can from either the safety or slot position in the Packers 3-4 and big nickel sets. He’s backed up by the impressive rookie Zanders who will be the safety in big nickel sets and will learn from Amos to most likely take the starting job next season. Blakenship is a mostly bad player who won’t see the field aside from special teams even in blowouts.