Adams has battled injuries over the course of his two seasons with the Packers since being drafted in the third round in 2017, but he has also had difficulty cracking the defensive line rotation even when fully healthy. With Kingsley Keke joining the Green Bay defensive line this upcoming season after being drafted in the fifth round a couple of weeks ago, Adams will have his work cut out for him to maintain his status as a member of the 53-man roster.
But with the NFL Draft in the rear-view mirror, there are several other Packers who will need to impress in the offseason and training camp activities to earn another roster nod in 2019. Here are a few of them.
Anytime an NFL franchise trades up in the first round to select a safety, the incumbent starter on the roster has reason to look over his shoulder. When a high draft choice is coupled with a significant free agent addition at the other safety spot, the incumbent’s overall roster spot is in jeopardy.
The writing may be on the wall for Jones, a second-round pick in 2017, who has struggled to carve out a defined role on the Packers’ defense. Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine could continue to be creative with Jones this training camp, using Jones as a linebacker, or he could play Jones at his more natural safety position. Either way, it’s an important offseason for the third-year Jones, who has disappointed when playing each of those roles up to this point. While he may be an effective depth piece at safety, something Green Bay did not have much of last season due to early-season injuries, Jones will battle Raven Greene and the Packers’ annual undrafted safety that emerges in preseason action.
Wait, he just got back!
Madison’s absence last season as a rookie was felt along an offensive line that may have employed him at the starting right guard position by season’s end. Instead, the Packers journeyed through an underwhelming rotation of Byron Bell and Justin McCray. Madison could surely be the versatile tackle-guard option the Packers covet if he can get back up to playing speed.
But that is a big “if.” Spending a second-round draft choice on Elgton Jenkins provided the team with a long-term guard option and interior plug-and-play piece. The numbers may be tight among an offensive line and Madison could be an odd man out if it becomes apparent he cannot play tackle in a pinch. It’s too early to tell what Madison’s future in Green Bay is, but he has a lot to prove in quick order.
One would be hard-pressed to find someone who did not approve of the Packers’ decision to draft Jace Sternberger in the third round this April. The team has been searching for a viable pass-catching tight end weapon since the days of Jermichael Finley, and Sternberger has far from reached his ceiling as a one-year stalwart at Texas A&M in Jimbo Fisher’s offensive system.
However, Sternberger’s addition could spell bad news for last year’s undrafted holdover Tonyan, who showed flashes as a receiver in minimal opportunities. It is not uncommon for Green Bay to keep more than three tight ends on the final roster, especially for a player with the developmental potential of Tonyan. But if Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, and Sternberger lock up roster spots, Tonyan could be on the outside looking in depending on the numbers at other positions.
Could the Packers’ long-time kicker actually be at risk of losing his spot on the team? Not likely.
But it’s more than just a bit curious that Green Bay has shown interest in outside kickers this offseason. In mid-April the Packers signed Sam Ficken, a kicker that Matt LaFleur knew from his time in Los Angeles. Far from proven, Ficken has been somewhat of an NFL journeyman during his short time in the league, bouncing around five NFL teams since entering the league in 2015. But the signing of Ficken, as well as a tryout offered to undrafted LSU hopeful Cole Tracy following the draft, seemed to signal an increased interest in the kicking position.
While Crosby had another relatively consistent season for Green Bay last year, he is 34 years old and entering his 13th season in the league. A disastrous performance in Detroit, on top of crucial late-game misses against Minnesota and Arizona in 2018, give some reason to question his job security. During final cuts, the kicking position may be one to closely monitor.