I will be listing some depth chart battles to watch for during training camp for the upcoming 2023 season. Roster battles are kind of a misnomer. NFL teams usually already know going into training camp who will make up 48 of their 53 man roster.
These depth chart battles though will be determined in camp and pre-season, they will also be listed as how open of a competition they will be.
Packers Depth Chart Battles: Wide Open
These competitions will feature multiple players batting it out for a spot with no real favorite entering camp.
I put the quotes around it since the Packers do not differentiate between the two safety spots, although I expect Darnell Savage to play mostly free. So this is really a battle for the starting spot opposite him. The competition will be strong with between three to four guys competing for opportunity to start.
Rudy Ford, Tarvarius Moore, and Jonathan Owens will fight it out for that spot with Anthony Johnson Jr. having an outside shot at it. All of them should make the roster. Training camp will determine playing time, at least early on.
This position is also pretty wide open 1-4. Josiah Deguara, Tucker Kraft, Tyler Davis, and Luke Musgrave will all be fighting it out for playing time. I still see Deguara as more of a hback/fullback, but I could see him getting some time as a regular tight end. With his experience, for all we know Davis could be the week one starter, although I expect it to be either Kraft or Musgrave.
#2 Edge rusher
With Rashan Gary coming off a late-season ACL tear, the expectation is that he will miss at least a couple games to begin the season and probably start out the season on the PUP. A lot of Packers fans expect Lukas Van Ness to start simply because he was a top 13 pick. However, due to his rawness I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the Gary development plan. This would allow competition until Gary returns. I see Kingsley Enagbare and, to a lesser extent, Justin Hollins competing with Van Ness to start the season.
Packers Depth Chart Battles: Slight Advantage
These battles will between a couple players, where one might have a slight advantage.
#2/#3 Defensive lineman
With Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry gone, there are a lot of snaps available. The two leading candidates for those snaps would easily be TJ Slaton and Devonte Wyatt. The question becomes, with Green Bay relying so heavily on sub packages that utilize only two defensive linemen, who gets the #2 spot and who gets the #3 spot.
With their skills sets being different, I see Slaton as the leader to be the #2 guy. His experience is big going into year three. Also, his skill set plays much better with Kenny Clark, as he can play more nose freeing up Clark for more pass rush opportunities. While Wyatt could also add a second pass rush threat with Clark, his run defense needs work, as does his pad level. It would make more sense to let him come in on long-distance passing downs.
#3 Running back
This one should also be an interesting one. You have Lew Nichols III, Patrick Taylor, and Tyler Goodson battling it out for one spot. I put Nichols as the slight favorite for a couple reasons. #1 he is a draft pick. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has shown he doesn’t like to cut his draft picks. #2 his age/upside. He is younger than Taylor and has shown he could be an all-around type back.
Taylor knows the ins and outs of the offense and can play in all three phases. At this point, though, he lacks upside and looks to be what he is. Goodson has the athleticism that the other two lack and could really bring something dynamic to the offense. But, he has struggled in pass protection and hasn’t shown he can contribute on special teams.
Packers Depth Chart Battles: Heavy Favorites
These spots have their challengers, but the incumbent is considered a heavy favorite who will be hard to dislodge.
Joshua Myers has been the guy the last two season, but he has been inconsistent. He actually played worse in 2022 versus his rookie year. He will face a challenge from Zach Tom. With Myers being a former second round choice and missing a big chunk of his rookie season I see him as the heavy favorite, at least early in the season.
If he continues to struggle, though, I could see them pulling the plug by mid-season. Tom can back up all five positions and it’s easier just replacing a guy instead of moving a bunch of guys around.
Jon Runyan Jr. is going into his third year as the starter. He has yet to show much progress — he still will have some bad games mixed in with good ones. Runyan will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, so it’s important for him to really show some improvement. Runyan still has upside, having played only left tackle at Michigan. There is still some developmental potential there and the Packers are probably betting on it.
He will see challenges from Sean Rhyan and Zach Tom. Rhyan was a third-round pick just a year ago and was transitioning from left tackle to guard, he also got suspended for the final six games. There still is a lot of upside and potential to Rhyan. Tom is probably better off at center or tackle, but should still back up at guard, as well.
Yosh Nijman started 11 games at right tackle in 2022 and seemed to fare better there than at left tackle. He was a raw, athletic freak coming out in 2019, and basically spent two season on the bench. The thought is he has only really played two years in the NFL, so there still might be some untapped potential in him.
He, of course, will get pushed by Zach Tom and maybe Rasheed Walker. With his size, contract, experience, and pending free agency, he is the heavy favorite to start the season.
Those are the major depth chart battles for the Packers as I see it going into the season. Thanks for stopping by! You can always read my other writings, as well.
Around the Block Network is a proud supporter of our LGBTQIA+ contributors, friends, family, and fans. This pride month, we would like to encourage you to make a donation to organizations helping fight for equality across the country, including the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign, and the Trevor Project.