Now that the Green Bay Packers have filled up their 90-man offseason roster and changed up the dynamic of multiple positions groups, it seems time to start looking at which returning players might be at risk of losing their roster spots in 2020.
The Packers have signed a handful of free agents this offseason, including Christian Kirksey as their presumed new starter at inside linebacker after Blake Martinez departed in free agency. They also added two dozen rookies out of the 2020 NFL draft class, nine picks and 15 undrafted free agents who face the challenge of adjusting to the pro level during a virtual offseason.
No OTAs also makes it difficult for NFL coaches to assess which players are putting in the appropriate amount of work ahead of the 2020 season, putting a greater emphasis on evaluations in training camp than in previous years.
Here are five returning Packers players who could potentially lose their roster spots ahead of the 2020 season.
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Jake Kumerow, WR
Kumerow delivered some bright moments throughout his limited opportunities in 2019, leaving some Packers fans wishing they could see more, but he could end up being the odd man out when training camp rolls around in August. It can be easy to forget Kumerow just turned 28 and is older than all of his fellow receivers, including Davante Adams. He also doesn’t have much production to speak of with just 20 receptions for 322 yards and two touchdowns in his career. Experience in the system could help him stay ahead of the competition in camp, but younger, faster options such as Equanimeous St. Brown and Reggie Begelton might just push him out.
Jamaal Williams, RB
Perhaps the biggest heartbreaker on the list, Williams is a prime candidate for departure after the Packers drafted Boston College rusher A.J. Dillon with their second-round pick. While he functioned well as a one-two punch with breakout star Aaron Jones in 2019 and proved to be an asset in the passing game, Williams is expected to slide to No. 3 on the depth chart behind Dillon. He is also entering the final year of his contract with low odds of being re-signed next offseason with several higher-priority free agents due for new deals, including Jones. Don’t forget, the Packers also re-signed return specialist Tyler Ervin this offseason and have been eager to incorporate him more on offense. Why not as the third man in the rotation?
Lane Taylor, LG
Taylor has seemed to be on the chopping block since early on in the 2019 season. After starting the first two games of the season at left guard for the Packers, he suffered a biceps injury in Week 2 that landed him on the injured reserve list and ended his season. Taylor’s absence created an opportunity for 2019 second-round pick Elgton Jenkins to rise up and claim his starting job, a role he is expected to retain for the 2020 season. The Packers also stocked up on interior linemen in the 2020 draft, which could make cutting ties with Taylor the best course of action — especially when the move would free up another $4 million in cap space.
Montravius Adams, DL
Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine loved Adams’ growth when the 2019 season began, calling him the “most improved” defensive player since the beginning of 2018, but the third-year defensive lineman was easy to overlook again last season. Adams recorded 11 tackles while playing just 187 total defensive snaps in 2019, playing far below expectations for a former third-round draft pick. Training camp could very well see him lose his roster spot with the Packers added an experience presence in Treyvon Hester as well as returning every member of last year’s defensive line unit. Adams’ recent offseason arrest doesn’t help his case any; though, none of his charges were serious.
Dexter Williams, RB
The Packers’ other rusher with the name Williams also finds himself in a precarious situation heading into just his second NFL offseason. A sixth-round pick in 2019, Dexter Williams was never really shown the light of day in his rookie season, spending most of the year inactive while Jones and Jamaal Williams carried the rushing load. It is possible the younger Williams could earn his keep in training camp, but he will have to emerge from a crowd that also includes Damarea Crockett and 2020 UDFA Patrick Taylor.
Another factor that could have an impact on both Jamaal and Dexter Williams is incoming tight end Josiah Deguara, who also operates as a fullback and could become another piece of the Packers’ run game this season. A serviceable rotation could easily become Jones-Dillon-Ervin with interspersed involvement from Deguara.