Who Will Be the Packers' Breakout Player in 2018?

Who stands the best chance of being the Packers' breakout player in 2018? We've got a few possibilities.

It seems like most years, if not every year, the Packers have at least one player to make a big leap from previous years' performances and become the team's breakout player.

Just take a look at the last couple years.

In 2016, Davante Adams had a remarkable comeback from an abysmal 2015 season that had many Packers fans calling for him to be exiled from Green Bay. All he's done since then is catch 22 touchdowns, most in the NFL in that time, while becoming the Packers' go-to receiver.

In 2017, Kenny Clark shoved aside any chance that he'd fall victim to the all-too-common sophomore slump, putting together an excellent second season with some occasionally dominant performances. He was a constant force on the defensive line, and still at just 22 years old, the sky is the limit for how dominant he could become in his career with the Packers. In addition, last year also saw the emergence of linebacker Blake Martinez as a reliable tackling machine and a pro bowl caliber player.

So who stands the best chance of being the Packers' next big breakout player? 

Rookies are ineligible for this list, as I'm defining a "breakout" player as a player who's already been on the team for at least a year, and is poised to make a significant leap over previous years' play.

Here are a few potential candidates.

Josh Jones, Safety

When you look at Josh Jones' tape from this season, as CHTV's Andy Herman did on Twitter on Wednesday, you see a player who still has some flaws in his game, but also put together some very impressive, instinctual plays in 2017. When Jones played near the line of scrimmage, he was a disruptive force. His coverage was inconsistent, but he was a sure tackler and unafraid to make a decision and carry it out confidently.

If the Packers' cornerback position sees a significant upgrade in 2018 as many expect it to, Jones could be a big beneficiary of that as he takes on a larger role this year in the absence of Morgan Burnett.

Aaron Jones, Running Back

The other Jones on this list, Aaron Jones is an obvious selection for a potential breakout player. Many people might argue Jones broke out with some of his performances in the 2017 season, but I like to think of those plays as merely a taste of what he's capable of doing on the ground, with the real breakout to come this season after he returns from his two-game suspension.

Jones has outstanding vision and burst. If he can stay healthy and continue working hard, he could be the consistent answer the Packers are looking for at the running back position, the guy capable of leading the "committee" of runners the Packers have put together.

Dean Lowry, Defensive End

Lowry made a couple splash plays last year in a role player spot. He'll still be a rotational player in 2018, but that doesn't mean he can't be a valuable breakout type of player. Despite his much-maligned arm length, Lowry showed he was capable of generating pressure in 2017. If he's able to improve on what he showed last year and be a reliable pass rusher and run stopper from a rotational position, that will make him an extremely valuable asset to this defense moving forward.

Kevin King, Cornerback

Like all rookie cornerbacks, King had his ups and downs in his first season. But his ups were quite impressive. King has a good, strong body of work to build on already. With more help coming in at the corner position in two high draft picks and the returning Tramon Williams, King could make a significant leap in 2018.

 

Who ya got making the biggest leap from prior years for the Packers this year?

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (46)

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Lphill's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:34 am

Hopefully Vince Biegel that would be tremendous for the defense.

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Turophile's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:09 am

There are plenty of candidates who MIGHT take a good step up. They'll never all make that jump, but some will. We will have a better idea after this years preseason games, but nothing beats real games that count for something.

How many successes there are, depends largely on your definition of success, which for me is different depending on the player. Here is a list of some of them and what (for me) is a success
possible guys include:

OLB Biegel - solid rotational guy (starter level not impossible)
S Josh Jones - eventual starter-level, decent chance at upper starter-level
OL McCray - lower-level starter/upper level backup
OLPatrick - average backup
OLAmichia - average backup
DL Montravius Adams - solid rotational guy
RB Jamaal Williams - solid rotational guy
CB Kevin King - upper starter-level

You could also add two third year guys.
OT Jason Spriggs - lower starter level, with outside chance of solid starter
S Kentrell Brice - solid rotational guy (starter-level not impossible)

I've tried not to set the bar too high or low, on what I expect, though it is obvious that some will not develop as hoped, while others may exceed my expectations.

PS I almost forgot OLB Reggie Gilbert. I'd put success for him as lower starter-level/upper level backup.

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Archie's picture

July 06, 2018 at 11:16 am

Very good list.

The two most intriguing that you mention are M Adams and J Spriggs.

Spriggs has been major disappointment but some guys develop slowly. Why Spriggs would be one of those I have no idea but he is facing a do or die year with the Pack and the Rock Report is very high on him coming out of OTAs etc. The thing with Spriggs is he has seemed a full count slow in reacting to moves and then losing his man. Not sure if gaining weight would help in that regard but a big jump up by Spriggs would be huge for the Pack. I have total faith in Campen to develop his guys and he seems pleased as well.

Adams is less well known and less heralded, 1st round talent w 3rd round production was the word on him. Had some injuries that held him back in rookie season but is ready to show us what he's got this year. I liked what I saw from him last season in very small doses. Coaches seem pleased with this spring. Could replace Mo next year with a big season this year.

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pooch's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:00 pm

Yes we need Biegel to make the jump not Lowest that just is not going to happen

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pooch's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:01 pm

Lowery thankyou spell check

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Rak47's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:40 pm

I personally don't see just 1 player have breakout years, I truly expect to see 4-5 players have years on defense that will all but guarantee a spot on the 2019 roster. The term ' breakout' is debatable in it's interpretation so I prefer the term "show marked improvement". We've already seen a couple of Packer stalwarts show "marked improvement" in a new scheme, unfortunately it is with the Chargers, and Bills and not the Packers.

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packrulz's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:59 am

I think Davante Adams is capable of having a break out season. Geronimo Allison is getting better too.

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pooch's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:02 pm

Adams will not be second year player did you read the post

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dobber's picture

July 06, 2018 at 07:01 pm

"Rookies are ineligible for this list, as I'm defining a "breakout" player as a player who's already been on the team for at least a year, and is poised to make a significant leap over previous years' play."

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Barnacle's picture

July 11, 2018 at 06:10 am

Who annointed Dobber the queen of definitions?

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

July 06, 2018 at 06:06 am

The roster is full of potential, but predicting that an "average" player will leap into a "very good" player is difficult. I like Lowry, but I think he will remain solid-not-spectacular; Jones doesn't fit the description--he already broke out; Jones and King are good candidates; I'd add Montravious Adams, Vince Biegl, DeAngelo Yancey, Kentrell Brice, and Reggie Gilbert as solid possibilities. If I could "wish one" I'd choose Kyler Fackrell, but there is little evidence of that.

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pooch's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:03 pm

Fackrelk dumb pick

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pooch's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:03 pm

Fackrelk dumb pick

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NickPerry's picture

July 06, 2018 at 06:13 am

As much as I've blamed and bashed Ted Thompson I've also given him credit where credit is due. Thompson's last draft just might be one of his best drafts he had as a GM for the Packers. Obviously time will tell but there's a lot of players from the 2017 draft I'm not only hoping make a jump but a few I'm actually expecting to see a jump.

Josh Jones is probably my #1 pick for a huge jump. Playing ONE position in a defense tailored to the players strengths AND the opponent the Packers would be playing that week is going to be a huge difference for these youngsters. Go watch yesterdays film study and the thing that jumps off the page was when Jones went to tackle the player he tackled him. How great is it to see a young player continuously WRAP UP the ball carrier. He also gets there in a hurry..Can't coach speed.

Others I'm watching and expecting jumps from are A. Jones, Biegel, King, and M Adams. With the exception of Aaron Jones all those guys have veteran players around them that have been pretty damn good in this league for a while who can hopefully help them become better. Hopefully Thompson's last draft turns out to be his best since 2005.

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pooch's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:04 pm

Dont thinkTed headed that draft.

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GBwastedthe12thoverallpick's picture

July 06, 2018 at 06:45 am

The correct answer is Aaron Jones.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 06, 2018 at 06:58 am

"Who Will Be the Packers' Breakout Player in 2018?"

Great question. There are a number of candidates that could be break out. I guess at what level do they breakout is the biggest question.

Josh Jones, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams, Kevin King, Vince Biegel are all prime candidates to break out. I think any of them could break out and actually I do think more then one will. To be honest we need at least 2 of them to break out. We really need Josh Jones and Biegel to have break out seasons.

I think Aaron Jones has a hell of a year so if I had to pick one it would be him.

I'm going to look at some under the radar types of players though.

How about a guy like Michael Clark. Came out of college with very little experience. Spent the year on the practice squad, came up late to learn more in games and had an offseason to learn. While he still will need to learn the position, his physical skills are rare. He could break out and be a big time redzone target. Imagine having in the Redzone, Graham (6'7), Lewis (6'6), Clark (6'6) to go with Adams and Cobb who are redzone magnets. Clark made highlight reel catches each and every day in practice last year. Perhaps now he does that in games.

Trevor Davis is entering his 3rd year. The Packers just drafted 3 WR's, and he seems like he could be the odd man out. He showed a lot of ability as a return man last year. If he improves as a WR he could be a player that breaks out without a lot of depth in front of him.

Like Davis, Allison could be due for a huge role. He showed his abilities as a rookie. Last year in the Bengals game he really showed up. He could easily be the #3 WR which he could end up having a huge role in the offense meaning he could put up big numbers.

Reggie Gilbert should have been on the 53. Outplaying Fackrell in the preseason he was left on the PS. When he made it to the 53 he was a dominating player. He is a guy that could force his way not only onto the 53 but into getting significant playing time. If he plays like he did the last few games last year he could have a huge season.

Lenzy Pipkins. All the talk about the other CB's that were brought in or back. Pipkins had a good rookie year. He showed his physical ability's and was a player that flashed. In Pettines defense he likes CB's that can be physical at the LOS. That is Pipkins. Don't be surprised if Pipkins is towards the top of the depth chart at least to start the year.

Kentrell Brice. His second year was an injury plagued year. His rookie year though he was physically intimidating that we haven't had in along time. Brice has said to have had a strong offseason. He may force Pettine to find a role for him.

There is a lot to be excited about this years Packers team. Who is going to break out is definitely going to be fun to see!

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porupack's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:33 am

RCPF; your list all but guarantees you predicted the next breakout:)
I agree there is lots to be excited about this year. I agree with 3 of your five; JJones, AJones and King will all turn out prime roles and 2018 be a breakout year.

There are many others who should all have significant improvements and solidify their names, but not ready to say 'breakout'; GAllison, MAdams, RGillbert, JWilliams, Mayes.

I like your case for Clark, but I am more optimistic that a rookie WR will emerge (despite the league average statistics for rookie WRs).

The rest will improve, but not sure they will secure their roles, let alone be breakout; VBeigel, JSpriggs, TFackerell. They sure have my best wishes though.

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RCPackerFan's picture

July 06, 2018 at 09:23 am

lol, that way I'm not wrong. ;)

No, most of my list were just candidates that I think could break out.

Honestly I think at least one of the rookie WR's will have more playing time then Clark. Clark is very raw. But he is intriguing with skills that can't be taught and are rare. I don't expect him to be the number 3 WR, but maybe they find a roll for him. The redzone would be a great spot to be.
I'm more less saying what Clark could do, not what he will do.

Biegel I think has a real chance at breaking out. He basically had a redshirt rookie year. And when he played he did some really good things. A full offseason I think we will see a completely different player.

Honestly they could really use a breakout year from Spriggs. And it would be nice to get something out of Fackrell.

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stockholder's picture

July 06, 2018 at 07:28 am

I'm taking Montgomery!

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dobber's picture

July 06, 2018 at 09:40 am

I agree 100%. He's flashed as a WR (rookie year) and as a RB (2016), but hasn't played a full season. Based on how he was utilized in the passing game last season with #12 under center, I'm bullish on Monty as approaching 60 catches and topping 1000 all-purpose-yards in 2018...assuming he can stay on the field.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 06, 2018 at 10:22 pm

I'm in agreement here!

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Bearmeat's picture

July 06, 2018 at 07:53 am

Josh Jones, Aaron Jones, Kenny Clark, Kevin King... and more! Man, there's a lot to be excited about on this team!

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Savage57's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:01 am

Wouldn't it be something if one of the players making an 8 digit salary had a breakout season?

Talking to you Matthews, Perry and Cobb.

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Since'61's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:13 am

I'm hoping for Kevin King to remain healthy and have a big season at CB. We need to shut down one side of the field. If that is done Pettine's pass rush and blitz schemes will be much more effective, similar to the Jets defense when they had Revis in his prime. Thanks, Since '61

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fthisJack's picture

July 06, 2018 at 11:10 am

if Tramon plays as well as he did last year, he could shut down his side of the field. so having King take the next step would be icing on the cake. and then having the rooks and House and Pipkins backing up.....wow this defense could take a huge step.

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Handsback's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:21 am

Josh Jones is a given, re. previous article...nuff said on him. I see several WR canidates, but they could breakout and still only have like 20 or so catches because the of the way the Packers attack with their offense. The same could be said of the RBs. So I take JJ and Mt. Adams as the breakout players this year. Gilbert, King, Biegel, and Frackman could and should all improve. I just suspect Adams and Jones make the bigger leaps.

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croatpackfan's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:50 am

Aaron Rodgers metal clavicle QB

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croatpackfan's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:50 am

Aaron Rodgers metal clavicle QB

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cheesehead1's picture

July 06, 2018 at 09:38 am

Josh Jones, Biegel and King all need to step up and stay healthy. The potential is there but the time is now to show up.

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Tundraboy's picture

July 06, 2018 at 05:41 pm

Gilbert, Adams, Mayes. or one of the WRs would be nice. An OL would be even better. Protect Rodgers.

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Charvid's picture

July 06, 2018 at 07:23 pm

I think it's going to be Gilbert. If given enough snaps, he could sniff at double digit sacks.

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Cheezdik's picture

July 07, 2018 at 09:14 pm

He doesn't need to be? That's what you guys say about every defensive player on the Packers. So who gets the sacks? What about Kenny Ckark? Does he not need to get sacks either? Sacks are what keep your cornerbacks from ending up on the Browns.

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Chris Scoggins's picture

July 06, 2018 at 09:53 am

I think this is the year we find out if the problem was Ted or Dom.
I'm guessing we see a LA Rams 2016 --> 2017 type improvement.

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fthisJack's picture

July 06, 2018 at 11:20 am

i don't think we can tell about TT. the rookies coming in will have a steep learning curve and will take a couple years to see what we really have there. i'm really looking for TT 2017 draft class to step up and make an impact NOW!
i'm 100 % sure that Dom was a big problem for the defense. i'm predicting at least middle of the pack D this year....in the 13 to 17 range. that would be a huge improvement overall.

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Archie's picture

July 06, 2018 at 11:28 am

Logic says either way it was TT.

If DC then MM. If MM, then TT.

If ~DC, then TT.

I like the roster as it currently stands though giving up on Hayward, Hyde and Randall are still tough to swallow.

The one defensive player I do NOT like is HHCD. IMHO, he's the new AJ Hawk i.e., weakest link in team defense by far. I will be interested to see what Pettine does with him once he recognizes he's a non-player. OTOH. maybe he will bounce back this year given that he loves money so much and he has a big contract riding on his performance this year. When I look at him compared to his BAMA successor playing for the NYG (Landon Collins), I cringe. Collins is a real S.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 06, 2018 at 10:09 am

On offense, Montgomery and Murphy.
On defense, King and Jones.

I am just assuming that McCray will be an adequate starting RG: does that qualify as a break-out year?

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TarynsEyes's picture

July 06, 2018 at 10:38 am

If this were a hold'em poker game...there's a Mount, a Crowned King, two Josh'ers and a pure bred Biegel showing...how does one not go all=in and all the way....hope that Ace in the hole is enough to be sitting at the final table in Feb.

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Cartwright's picture

July 06, 2018 at 11:35 am

If you have to pick just one, whoever is the receiver that replaces Jordy Nelson will be the guy and for me that's Geronimo Allison. If he has the trust of Aaron Rogers because he is where he's supposed to be and knows how to get open when Aaron's on the run and that development continues then I could see many balls thrown his his way for 1st and ten. On defense I see Kenny Clark upping his sack total and making the pro bowl.

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Cheezdik's picture

July 08, 2018 at 09:59 am

This guy is so overrated its funny. Guy has five total career sacks in two years and was a first rounder. Taken over Myles Jack. Now you know how dumb Ted was. Just an idiot when it came to defensive picks.

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blue eyes's picture

July 06, 2018 at 08:33 pm

I'm going with the underdog. Trevor Davis!

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 07, 2018 at 06:31 pm

Allison is a much better player than most seem to think.

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Cheezdik's picture

July 07, 2018 at 09:16 pm

Think he will surprise alot of people. He is better than most think.

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Cheezdik's picture

July 07, 2018 at 08:13 pm

Kenny Clark a force? When? When he recorded five whole sacks in his two years? Vince Beigel sucks and is no way a starting linebacker. If this team thinks that Clay Matthews and Vince Beigel are going to lead this team against opponents like Minnesota, Oakland, New England then they are crazy. Pettine has been set up to fail with this non-existent pass rush. Fans can try to fooom themselves all they want but if Kenny Clark was any good he would have more than 4.5 sacks.

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CheesyTex's picture

July 07, 2018 at 09:38 pm

How many DT's can you name that achieved 4.5 sacks by age 22? Clark plays a position where sacks are hard to come by, especially considering the style of defense he was coached to play the last two years. And, by all accounts I have seen, he played his position at a high level.

Clark is a player on the rise in virtually every aspect of his game. If he is schemed to more 1 on 1's and given pass rush primaries (sometimes) the sacks will come.

He IS a force, and I hope for a double-digit pro-bowl career in GB.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

July 08, 2018 at 08:51 am

Cheezdik,
Why such a negative view? The word 'suck' besides being a distasteful word doesn't describe either player. Clark is a very good player on the upswing at only 22. Beigel also is young coming off injury and a rookie year. Why not give them a chance to show what they offer? Talent or lack of talent will be obvious and we know Clark for one has the talent. Then they simply need scheme and opportunity.

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