With the 2016 NFL season creeping slowly into view, previews and predictions have begun to pop on many of the popular sports sites. That includes ESPN, which published Pro Football Focus' team roster rankings for the upcoming year based on their grading system.
PFF implements a wonky grading system, one that infamously issued Aaron Rodgers a -2.3 mark after throwing for 333 yards and five touchdowns against the Kansas City Chiefs last season. While the site later changed that mark to a -0.8 (and subsequently altered it again), the point still stands; PFF grading leaves a lot to be desired and frequently fails to reflect what actually happens on the field.
With that in mind, the site graded Green Bay's roster as the second best in the NFL heading into 2016, behind only the New England Patriots.
Despite a down 2015 campaign, PFF points to the Packers' offensive core as a strength of the team heading into the next season. "(Aaron) Rodgers is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and with (Jordy) Nelson back he has a legitimate No. 1 receiver to throw to."
While PFF holds the Packers' interior offensive line in high regard, calling it "among the best in the league," it doesn't hold the team's blindside protector in the same regard, arguing, "[I]f rookie Jason Spriggs can prove to be an upgrade over (David) Bakhtiari at left tackle it could become one of the best units in the league, period."
PFF makes a point to highlight the Packers' young secondary, though it has concerns about the team's front seven. "The Packers are in danger of ruining Clay Matthews with position switches, and (Mike) Daniels needs more help than they have given him so far on the line, but the talent is there to play better than they have."
Matthews, of course, spent most of the last season and a half playing off the ball at inside linebacker. Green Bay has since moved him back to his natural position on the edge, and Matthews expects to take most of his snaps outside in 2016. While PFF believes this could ruin him, a more reasonable stance holds that the linebacker should return to leading the team in pressures this season.
But as usual for the Packers, the offense plays the biggest role in determining the team's success or shortcomings, sometime even PFF can see: "Green Bay will be carried by its offense, and it should look significantly better than it did last season when injuries took a deep bite out of the roster."