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Wednesday Walkthroughs: Which Packers position group has the biggest questions?

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After a full offseason, the Packers still have a few big question marks. Where are the biggest ones?

NFL: Green Bay Packers-Training Camp Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers, like every team, have done a lot of work to reshape their roster this offseason. But, like every team, they couldn’t fix everything and still face some holes and weak spots as the season (hopefully) draws a bit closer.

Which area is the most concerning? Our writers had quite a range of takes. Here are their thoughts — which position group has the biggest questions in your mind?

Rcon14 – Receiving group

I’m cheating a little (A LOT) here, but I don’t think we can really separate the wide receivers from the tight ends in this case. The Packers corps last year was pretty awful, having given more than 20% of their targets to the combo of Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, both of whom were abysmal. Allison is now gone and MVS may have a smaller role in 2020, but there are no real reinforcements here. Devin Funchess’ ceiling has been average WR2, and even that was three years ago now.

Jimmy Graham was not good, but neither were any of Green Bay’s tight ends last year. They will be relying almost entirely on Jace Sternberger for production. According to Pro Football Reference, Jace had a single target in the regular season last year.

There is some ceiling here, with Adams being a good but not elite option, Lazard being very productive on a per-target basis last year, and there being good feelings about Jace Sternberger. Unfortunately, there is also the possibility that Lazard is less productive in 2020, Sternberger doesn’t break out, Funchess continues to be disappointing, and Green Bay is left forcing targets to Davante Adams.

Tex Western – Inside linebacker

What do we know about any of the Packers’ off-ball linebackers, really? Every member of this position group is a walking, talking bag of questions, many of which revolve around injuries. Let’s look at them one by one.

Christian Kirksey has played nine games over the past two years amid injuries and is headed into his first season with the Packers, albeit coming back to a Mike Pettine defense that he should know well. But what kind of player is he? And will he be any more productive as a pass defender than Blake Martinez was?

Ty Summers is a tremendous athlete who racked up big numbers last August, but he looked over-aggressive at times and never saw a single defensive snap in his rookie regular season. Undrafted 2019 rookie Curtis Bolton seemed on pace to be a starter after impressing when taking over for an injured Oren Burks, but then he tore his ACL, the latest in a long line of injuries. Is he healthy? And if so, can he be counted on for 500-plus snaps at the WILL position next to Kirksey?

The Packers are high on fifth-round rookie Kamal Martin, but like others above he missed time last year with an injury, one that cost him the chance to work out pre-draft. The Packers seem to like him, but he’ll need a strong preseason to be in the mix for any significant playing time.

And then there’s Burks, the hyper-athletic former third-round pick whose questions revolve around why he can’t find the field once returning to good health. Early preseason injuries have robbed him of valuable reps in both of his seasons in Green Bay, but what is the team seeing in practice that tells them he’s not ready to contribute on Sundays once he has made it back to normal?

Even hybrid safety/linebacker Raven Greene has his own health questions as well, landing on injured reserve as a rookie in 2018 and missing almost all of 2019 with an injury.

There are 1500 or so snaps to go around between the two inside linebacker positions, but given the injury history for nearly every player at the position, there’s no way of telling who will end up playing them.

Shawn Wagner – Defensive Line

This unit was absolutely gashed against San Francisco, but it was an area of struggle for most of the season. Yet, Kenny Clark remains the only sure thing in this group after the Packers decided not to add an established free agent or a high draft pick to the line.

Even the steady Dean Lowry took a serious step back in production last season without a sack and only two tackles for a loss after signing a contract extension. Perhaps much of that decline came from the presence of the Smith Brothers rushing the passer from the outside linebacker position, but Lowry still didn’t seem to have the same level of push in the passing or rushing defense. The 2020 season will be a good indicator of who Lowry really is. The same could be said for Tyler Lancaster, whose sophomore performance in increased snaps was not as promising as his rookie campaign. Green Bay may not have much longer to wait on Montravius Adams to develop either, and the team must get help from Kingsley Keke in year two after a surprisingly limited amount of regular season reps.

Perhaps a young veteran pickup like Treyvon Hester will prove valuable for depth, but the Packers lack impact players along the line outside of Clark and, without seeing on-field progress to this point, look to be in the same position they were last year. That’s a question mark.

Paul Noonan – Offensive Line

The Packers have enjoyed good-to-great offensive lines for years upon years, especially in the Bakhtiari/Bulaga era, but that era is over, and with it comes a ton of uncertainty on the right side, where the less than impressive Billy Turner and Rick Wagner will anchor things. It’s possible the anchor analogy is more apt than usual as both have the potential to drag down the unit if their level of play is anything like it has been in the recent past, and even average play (which is frankly what I’m hoping for) will be a pretty severe downgrade.

Lurking in the wings are Lane Taylor, Lucas Patrick, and recent late-round picks like Jon Runyan are lurking, and have a rare opportunity to move up with an impressive camp. Taylor is looking to rebound after tailing off a bit due to age and injury, and Patrick is looking to make a developmental success story out of himself along the lines of Allen Lazard. The Turner contract remains a head-scratcher, and Rick Wagner’s two-year (but really one-year) deal tells you exactly how confident the team is in him. The right side is wide open. Given that Aaron Rodgers holds the ball longer than just about everyone, hopefully it doesn’t remain that way.

Jon Meerdink – Offensive Tackle

I want to be even more specific here than Paul. I think the Packers are playing with fire with their current tackle situation.

Beyond David Bakhtiari, the only tackles on the roster who have taken a snap in an NFL game are Rick Wagner and Alex Light, who hardly inspire any kind of confidence. It’d be one thing if the Packers were looking at that pair as backups, but at least one of them will start a significant number of games this year.

And after Wagner and Light, the cupboard isn’t so much bare as just full of unknowns. Maybe Yosh Nijman, Cody Conway, or John Leglue turns out to be something! Heck, I thought Conway might be one of the Packers’ most noteworthy roster sleepers this year. But there’s a difference between thinking of him as someone who could contribute slightly more than expected and having him potentially play a very real role as part of the Packers’ strategy at tackle. That goes for just about every non-Bakhtiari tackle the Packers currently employ, too.