Making the Leap: Which Packers could break out in 2022?
Which non-rookie players appear best positioned to make the leap for the Packers during the upcoming season?
For any NFL team to achieve its goals in a given season, players who previously held small roles or didn't stand out in larger ones have to grow into field-tilters. Internal development can make as large of an impact as a major free-agent signing or trade acquisition, though it receives only a fraction of the fanfare. Yet, in personnel departments across the league, this type of year-to-year improvement holds considerable importance for how it can unlock a franchise's window for Super Bowl contention.
For evidence, the Green Bay Packers need to look farther back than 2010, the franchise's last championship campaign. Established stars like Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson led the offense and defense, respectively, and put the team in position to win every game it played. However, if not for players like Jordy Nelson, Desmond Bishop, and Charlie Peprah taking on larger roles, the Packers almost certainly would not have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy at the conclusion of the season.
And internal development helped Green Bay last season as well. De'Vondre Campbell provides the best example, transforming from a journeyman linebacker to a first-team All-Pro defender and pillar of the defense. But Campbell didn't break out alone, with Rashan Gary emerging as a premier pass rusher while Rasul Douglas, an afterthought when the team signed him off the Arizona Cardinals' practice squad, became a turnover machine. While the Packers fell short of the Super Bowl, they allowed just six points on defense during the playoffs.
With that in mind, which returning Green Bay players could make the leap in 2022?