Five Packers Players Fans Shouldn’t Forget About Heading into 2020

This has been an unusual offseason by anybody’s standards and the Green Bay Packers are no exception. With all the disruptions caused by Covid-19 and the debate surrounding the draft and free agency, there has been plenty of controversy and second guessing.

But some returning players have been almost forgotten because of all the discussion surrounding Jordan Love, Aaron Rodgers, the departures of Bryan Bulaga and Blake Martinez and the failure to draft a wide receiver or defensive lineman.

Here is a look at five Packers who haven’t been talked about much this offseason but still could be big contributors to the team’s success in 2020:

5. Equanimeous St. Brown

EQ missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury. As a result, the former Notre Dame star was unable to build upon his rookie season which saw him catch 21 passes for 328 yards.

St. Brown has the size that the Packers look for in a receiver and was beginning to earn Rodgers’ trust before being injured during last year’s preseason.

“I’m excited about getting EQ back from injury and seeing how he feels,” Rodgers told reporters during an offseason video press conference. “He really made some great strides his rookie year, especially towards the end of the season, making plays for us and growing each week. He has a great approach to the game. It will be fun to see him healthy.”

St. Brown had his best game in Week 16 of the 2018 season against the Jets. He made five catches on five targets for 94 yards. Both the receptions and yards were career highs for EQ.

While many fans were upset that the Packers didn’t draft a wide receiver last season, a strong season from EQ could go a long way to offsetting those concerns.

4. Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Valdes-Scantling got off to a solid start to the 2019 season, catching 16 passes in the first four games including a six-catch, 99 yard effort against the Broncos that included a touchdown reception. But MVS got hurt midway through the season and his production, confidence and playing time all were reduced as a result.

By the playoffs, Valdes-Scantling barely saw the field, playing in only six total offensive snaps in the Packers two postseason games.

Now, MVS is healthy and eager for a bounce back season. He has outstanding speed and the ability to create big plays, something the Packers need to help stretch defenses and create opportunities both deep and underneath.

Rodgers told reporters he still believes in Valdes-Scantling. “MVS is a guy who I have a ton of confidence in,” Rodgers said during one of his offseason press conferences. “I really feel like, if he can continue to grow, he can really add to our football team. I look for him to make big strides.”

Because of his speed, Valdes-Scantling can add a different dimension to the Packers offense. He needs to show he can perform consistently to be able to do that.

3. Kevin King

Too many people have overlooked Kevin King who returns as a starter for the Packers at cornerback opposite Jaire Alexander.

There are several reasons for King to be on track to have a strong season. First, he stayed healthy for most of the 2019 campaign and enjoyed a career year with 66 total tackles, a team-leading five interceptions and one sack.

King has great size at 6’3”. He had made some big plays like his game-clinching interception against the Vikings in Week 2, but also has given up some big plays as well which is something he needs to work on.

King is also in his contract year so he has every incentive to shine this season to earn a new deal with the Packers or a big free agent payday elsewhere. This is a critical season for King and if he and Alexander both continue to make progress, the Pack could have the best starting duo at corner in the NFC North.

2. Raven Greene

The Packers lost safety Raven Greene early in the 2019 season. He was injured midway through the Packers Week 2 victory over the Vikings and lost for the season.

Greene’s ability to play the hybrid safety/ILB position gives defensive coordinator Mike Pettine a lot of options on defense. Pettine loves playing with a small lineup that features Greene in the hybrid position. That way, the Packers can primarily play to stop the pass but can also have enough players capable of slowing down the run as well.

The Pack clearly missed Greene after he was injured and nobody was able to fill his shoes when they tried to replace him.

Quarterback Tim Boyle believes Greene will have an outstanding season this year. “He is a talented player, super smart, knows where to be, and is just one of those guys that has a knack for the ball,” Boyle told Packer Report during the offseason. “He is very instinctual. Hopefully, he is back and ready to go. I think he’s going to have a big year on the defensive side.”

Staying healthy has been an issue for Greene. He played in just 10 total games over the past two seasons with Green Bay.

1. Jamaal Williams

Aaron Jones is the starting running back and there has been a lot of conversation about rookie second round pick A.J. Dillon, but don’t forget about Jamaal Williams

Williams finished second on the Packers with 460 rushing yards and averaged a healthy 4.3-yards per carry. He also finished third on the team with 39 catches and tied for the team lead with five touchdown passes.

Williams does the little things right. He blocks well in pass protection, runs precise routes as a receiver and gives an all out effort every time he’s on the field. He is also a great teammate and a positive influence in the locker room.

Both Williams and Jones are in the final year of their contracts so whether Jamaal is returning to the Packers in 2020 or not, he has a lot to play for this season.

Dillon may reduce Williams’ playing time a bit, but don’t overlook what Williams can do for the Packers in 2020.

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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Comments (25)

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PhantomII's picture

July 25, 2020 at 01:25 pm

#5 ESB injured on the bad Canadian field I believe. He runs smooth routes and has good hands, thin dude kinda reminds me of a gazelle that catches passes, Lol. Yea, I like this kid hope he stays healthy. Good things to come from him. #4 MVS started out well kinda one trick pony as of last year. He got bashed on pretty bad by us but was playing hurt a lot and didn't have the turbo working. Lose the turbo and no tricks. I saw he was working out with HOF WR Randy Moss and Moss works these kids pretty hard. Anything MVS learns from him is better than our WR coach instruction, I'm sure. Hopefully he has improved his route tree. #3 Kevin King. I like King he's grabby with his WR's he's covering letting them know he's there and in their head. Tall lanky kid and is scrappy. He made several picks and dropped a few also. #2 Greene I have not seen much of but did see a much better packer "D" with him on the field. Pettine likes him so, he must fit his concepts and execute it well. #1 J. Williams. Man I like me some Williams. That guy leaves it all on the field. Carries a big smile while doing it. Good check down receiver with good hands. Real good blocker and runs hard. Who could not love this guy? Not a speedster but gives you everything he has.

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GilMartin's picture

July 25, 2020 at 06:39 pm

Thanks for commenting, PhantomII. I also love watching Williams--his effort is always impressive. I think we will see more than one "trick" from MVS this season. It's time for him to show what he can do. Should be an interesting season ahead.

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Stroh's picture

July 25, 2020 at 10:31 pm

MVS has been working with Moss for a couple yynow. It hasn't done much good. MVS has only one thing in his toolbox. His speed. But speed by itself isn't enough to play WR in the NFL. He hasn't even shown he knows how to really use it. He doesn't know when to use the speed, he has no clue about running routes to get open and his hands are inconsistent. He has none of the skills to play WR.

Williams is a try hard guy, but he's the epitome of Just A Guy (JAG). When your best trait as a RB is blocking it's kinda telling. It's to bad he's not a FB. He has no elusiveness whatsoever. He's a plow horse as a RB. He'll run hard and try hard but he doesn't have the running skills to play RB in the NFL.

I'm looking for EQ to take a huge step and push for the #2 WR job at some point this season.

Really only Adams hss the true ability to play slot. He could do huge damage working slot and letting Funchess, EQ and Lazard play outside.

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GilMartin's picture

July 27, 2020 at 12:58 pm

I hope MVS finds other things he can do well besides just running deep patterns. He needs to be more consistent with his hands, too.

Williams is good at a lot of things but not outstanding at any except maybe blocking. I think he's an ideal backup RB but Dillon will certainly challenge him for playing time.

This is a big season for EQ who needs to step up and establish himself as a bona fide NFL receiver. Should be an interesting camp. Thanks for commenting, Stroh.

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PatrickGB's picture

July 25, 2020 at 01:33 pm

That’s a great list. I am looking forward to this season and to seeing these players on the field.

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GilMartin's picture

July 25, 2020 at 06:40 pm

Thanks, PatrickGB. Glad you enjoyed it and I also can't wait to see these guys on the field again. Obviously won't happen in August but at least there's hope for the regular season. Always good to hear from you.

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nostradanus's picture

July 25, 2020 at 04:48 pm

Compelling each and every one.

*EQ - I am expecting big things, he's a smooth route runner with excellent speed, hands and toughness.

*MVS - He's kind of a one trick pony, but when that trick hits it is many times a big play.

*King - He stayed healthy that was the key, he's always had the skills, I hope they can keep him

*Green - he played college ball at JMU, right down the road from me here in Virginia, could be an excellent DB/ILB but two severe ankle injuries in two years? Fingers crossed!

*Williams - I love Jamal, great team guy, great interview does it all, he's just not flashy. Agian hope they can keep him he's Captain fun!

A few more I would add:

*Bob Tonyan - Big Bob is ready to break out and along with Sternberger and Deguara form a talented future trio!

*Burks - This is a major dark horse pick but old Nostradanus just has a feeling that Burks will surprise greatly this season. Make way for the Orin Express!

*Ty Summers - Captain America was excellent on special teams last year and was all over the field last pre-season. He missed some tackles which I am sure he has learned from and judging from his famous work ethic in the weight room I expect him to come to camp totally jacked and ready to rock n roll!

We gonna have some NFL Football this year boys, go get that Lombardi trophy!

Go Pack!

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mamasboy's picture

July 25, 2020 at 05:14 pm

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on Burks to come around.

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GilMartin's picture

July 25, 2020 at 06:49 pm

We shall see. This is probably his last chance to claim a starting position and maybe even a roster spot. He was injured in the preseason in both of his years in Green Bay and it definitely hurt his progress. I hope you're wrong, but...thanks for the comment.

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GilMartin's picture

July 25, 2020 at 06:43 pm

I like your additions, nostradanus. I would have included some of them but the article would have been too long. I like your analysis especially of Summers who I would love to see play well. Thanks for commenting.

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stockholder's picture

July 25, 2020 at 05:18 pm

Of the 5. Give me King. The Packers will make a big mistake if they let him go. Forget the injuries. This guy is the anchor of the secondary. Height, career bests, and big plays, say it all. King will be All-Pro this year. Count on it!

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GilMartin's picture

July 25, 2020 at 06:46 pm

I'd love to see King have an All-Pro year. I think the Packers would love to keep him but the cost may be prohibitive with Clark, Jones, Bakhtiari and Linsley all also about to be UFAs. Either way, I hope he has a great year and if he does that the Pack finds a way to keep him. Thanks for the comment, stockholder.

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PeteK's picture

July 26, 2020 at 05:37 pm

I agree, King has great value. However, I think Alexander is the main man in the secondary, especially since he draws top receiver coverage duties.

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GilMartin's picture

July 27, 2020 at 12:59 pm

No doubt Jaire is the Packers top-rated CB entering this season and it would take a lot to unseat him. Thanks for the comment, PeteK.

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ricky's picture

July 25, 2020 at 05:51 pm

Thank you for including my "man crush" Jamaal Williams. This is the Packers lunch pail player. Blue collar, get the job done no matter what it takes attitude. John Kuhn with more skill. And that is a very high compliment, not in any way disrespect. I'm afraid the Packers will let him walk, rather than see he is the guy who, as noted, does those "little things" that allow the "big things" to happen. The key block, the clutch run or catch, the block that frees Jones for those extra yards. Not fancy, just effective.

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GilMartin's picture

July 25, 2020 at 06:47 pm

Love watching Jamaal. Works hard, smart and does all the little things right. I have described him as a coach's dream because of how he goes about his business. Thanks for the comment, ricky.

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Bure9620's picture

July 25, 2020 at 09:04 pm

Williams is a great receiver and pass blocker but Dillion will be getting a steady diet of carries by November. The dude is a wrecking ball with speed. I would love to see him as the Q4 hammer just finishing games. I really believe we will be running over 50% of plays this year. Jones, Dillon, Williams is one of the better 3 headed attacks in the league...Run.....THE...BALL.

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dobber's picture

July 26, 2020 at 10:34 am

"Dillion will be getting a steady diet of carries by November."

You seem to have mis-spelled October as November (assuming the season starts on time and the league doesn't go into shutdown). I think he makes his place in the offense early.

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Bure9620's picture

July 26, 2020 at 04:19 pm

Potentially, I liked the pick a lot

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GilMartin's picture

July 27, 2020 at 01:03 pm

Rookie RBs tend to make bigger contributions than most other positions in their first season, but the lack of OTAs and preseason games etc will slow down their progress. I think Dillon will contribute, but we'll see what his role becomes. Thanks as always for the comment, dobber.

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GilMartin's picture

July 27, 2020 at 01:01 pm

We will see all 3 RBs this season. I think Dillon may hurt Jones' fantasy value by taking away some short yardage carries including near the end zone. I don't think we will run more than 50 percent of the time, but we will be running more than we did in the past, that looks very likely. Thanks for the comment, Bure9620.

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MTmind's picture

July 26, 2020 at 10:11 am

Please stop writing “the failure to draft a wide receiver or defensive lineman“. Failure by who’s mandate? The fans? It was a conscious decision based on both a long and short term strategy and made in the best interests of the team. While I enjoy reading the opinions of other fans and football writers, the term “failure” can’t rightly or wrongly be used until - at the very least - the results of this coming year’s games are analyzed. Adams was considered a “failure” his first two years as a Packer. If coaches and management bothered with listening to the unsolicited advice of fans and football writers, he would have been dropped, not even traded, and his skills would have blossomed on a different team.

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GilMartin's picture

July 27, 2020 at 01:06 pm

Thanks for the comment, MTmind. Not saying it was necessarily a bad thing or a good thing not to draft players at those positions of need. You're right, you can't call a draft a success or failure for at least three years until you see how the players pan out. And yes, it was a definite choice by management not to emphasize certain positions. They didn't draft players there and most scouts and yes, fans, thought they were areas of need on the roster. We shall see how that pans out.

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mrtundra's picture

July 27, 2020 at 10:35 am

WR competition will be tough, this season. I look for Allen Lazard and ESB to be stand outs, along with Davante Adams, of course. I can see MVS and Kumerow struggling to make the roster, even though I like both of them. MVS has to step it up this year. Kumerow needs to get more time on the field to show off his abilities. I also want to see UDFA Begelton show his stuff.

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GilMartin's picture

July 27, 2020 at 01:07 pm

Yeah, WR will definitely be interesting. I wonder if Kumerow makes the roster this year. Begelton may take his spot. Kumerow usually shines in the preseason, but there won't be one this year. We shall see. The Packers need at least two of the WRs not named Davante Adams to step up and produce this season. Thanks for the comment, mrtundra.

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