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Packers’ 2020 90-man Roster Ranking: 11-20 features upside and bounce back candidates

The second tier of Packers players has young players with upside and some bounceback candidates for 2020.

Green Bay Packers v New York Giants Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers, like every other team in the NFL at this point in the offseason, have 90 players on their roster. Those 90 men have varying backgrounds, experience levels, and natural skillsets, but they can be defined into various strata of player.

Each year following the player acquisition phase of the offseason, Acme Packing Company conducts a ranking of the 90-man roster, based purely on the caliber of the players with no attention paid to positional value or value to the team. It’s an attempt to identify who the best players are on the roster regardless of position, and this year six of our contributors submitted rankings, which we have compiled into our master list.

Over the next week-plus, we will reveal the rankings ten at a time. Today we continue those rankings with spots 11-20.

#20: CB Kevin King

Highest ranking: 14
Lowest ranking: 42

Kevin King is incredibly frustrating. The injuries, the physical talent, the highs, and the lows all bundle together into volatile performances. The whipping boy of late-Thompson draft strategy (mostly because his selection was acquired in a process that involved trading out of TJ Watt), his career has been marred by leg and shoulder injuries. When healthy, King is... well, I don’t really know what King is and he’s already approaching free agency. In Doug Farrar’s look at the best man coverage corners in the league, he ranked King eleventh.

I’m not sure I fully buy that, but King’s skillset and production is unique. In the red zone, he is a real problem for opposing offenses, where his length and ball skills become a real weapon. However, between the twenties, his struggles in open space become very apparent. Ultimately, he is a boom/bust corner, and perhaps a full healthy off-season will give him a platform to produce more consistently in 2020. What seems more likely is that he’ll continue to be a frustratingly inconsistent corner who probably does not remain a Packer beyond 2020.

T-#18: TE Marcedes Lewis

Highest ranking: 15
Lowest ranking: 29

Big Dog has become a low-key fan favorite and a locker room favorite of the organization, and I think his clear and obvious skills as a blocking tight-end have buoyed him here. Lewis is essentially a non-factor as a down the field threat, but his sure hands do provide a competent short-area option. Lewis’ ability as a run blocker played a part in Green Bay’s strong running game last year, and he will likely play a real role as TE2 in 2020 as the Packers offense gets heavier with personnel usage. This is probably the last year for Marcedes, and he’s not a game changer by any means, but his contributions are as consistent as they are dull.

T-#18: DL Dean Lowry

Highest ranking: 19
Lowest ranking: 29

2019 was an incredibly disappointing year for Lowry. His PFF grade of 62.3 reflects what was a poor year of returns for Green Bay, fresh after giving Lowry a 3-year, $20.3M extension. Lowry’s ability as a pass rusher can flash, and you occasionally see his phenomenal athletic gifts flash, but he is a 5-tech and that position is largely dead in a nickel-dominated NFL. Part of Lowry’s struggles were likely due to increased snap counts at the 3-tech. If Lowry can’t perform better in 2020 with those 3-tech snaps, it is likely he will become a cap casualty after the season, where Green Bay could pick up a little over three million in savings. If he does perform like he did prior to 2019, it’s much more likely he hangs on for another year as a rotational DL.

#17: OT Rick Wagner

Highest ranking: 15
Lowest ranking: 38

The former Badger is probably the biggest free agent Green Bay signed this off-season. Despite a disappointing 2019 and a low price tag, Wagner’s role on the Packers is incredibly important, as he replaces long-time fan favorite and stalwart Bryan Bulaga (Iowa). Wagner’s career prior to 2019 was largely as a solid-to-above average RT. Green Bay is betting on a bounce-back year in 2020. If things go well, Green Bay will have a starting RT in 2021 with only a six million cap hit. If things go poorly and Wagner is overtaken by Billy Turner, Lane Taylor, or Elgton Jenkins, Green Bay can easily get out with virtually no pain (1.75M dead cap).

#16: WR Devin Funchess

Highest ranking: 14
Lowest ranking: 28

The big WR splash from Green Bay this off-season, Funchess is a unique wideout, as he is not fast (4.7 40), but he is massive. Funchess was a tight end in college at Michigan, and it’s probably better if we think of him as a move-TE rather than a traditional WR. He missed essentially all of 2019 with injury, and was not productive in 2018 (-10.5% DVOA). His last productive season was 2017 where he posted a slightly above-average 6.8% DVOA. Funchess isn’t a great player. His ceiling is probably that 2017 season where he was slightly above-average. He may be a complete non-factor as unfortunately, 2017 was a long time ago. That is kind of description of where Green Bay’s WR corps is right now outside of Davante Adams. It’s not great.

#15: LB Christian Kirksey

Highest ranking: 12
Lowest ranking: 18

This is the Devin Funchess of linebackers. Oft-injured, some productivity a few years ago. Like Funchess and Wagner, Kirksey is a bet on a bounce-back year, and there is little pain if Green Bay wants to get out after 2020 (2M dead cap, 6M in savings). Kirksey is not going to come in and solve the coverage problems Green Bay has had at the linebacker position for (checks notes) ever, but he can be an effective run-and-chase guy in the running game. If the Packers can protect him with a better coverage partner in nickel/dime, and he could be healthy, Kirksey could post a solid year.

T-#13: CB Chandon Sullivan

Highest ranking: 7
Lowest ranking: 24

As I noted in our sleepers piece, Sullivan is an interesting player for Green Bay this year. If he can be a good nickel corner in 2020, Green Bay will have gotten a vital contribution from a player making only $750k. Sullivan is closer to free agency than you’d think given his minor contributions so far, as he is a restricted free agent after 2020. With a good year, I would expect Green Bay to “protect” Sullivan with a draft pick tender. If 2019 was a mirage, I’d expect him to be moved along. I think Sullivan is probably going to be a solid contributor, but it’s hard to be overly confident given his journeyman career and small sample.

T-#13: WR Allen Lazard

Highest ranking: 11
Lowest ranking: 23

If Green Bay’s passing game is better in 2020 than it was in 2019, it will probably be because of Allen Lazard. On a per-target basis, no Packers play was better than the Alien Lizard. His 14.6% DVOA ranked 18th in the NFL amongst qualified receivers. Even accounting for volume with DYAR, Lazard ranked 36th, only five spots behind Davante Adams. If Lazard’s efficiency can scale up to a higher volume, there is a non-zero chance that he could surpass Davante Adams as WR1 in 2020. Lazard was highly productive in college, and overlooked for... reasons (?) in the draft, but his per-play efficiency is tough to ignore. My prediction is that Lazard will establish himself as at least a good WR2 in 2020, and maybe even a legitimate threat to Adams’ WR1 status (APC servers light on fire from the hot-ness of the take).

#12: S Darnell Savage

Highest ranking: 11
Lowest ranking: 13

Despite disappointing rap fans by not selecting number 21, Savage’s rookie year has to viewed as a success. His elite athleticism is a major factor in coverage, and his instincts flashed what could be real playmaker potential going forward. There are real downsides to his game though. His over-aggressiveness can leave him out of position sometimes, and he certainly tackles like a coverage safety. His pursuit angles are often a mess, and even despite his elite physical gifts, you can’t overcome that enough at the NFL level. Fortunately, his short-comings are things that can improve with more experience, but you can’t teach his natural gifts that we have already seen him put into action.

#11: S Adrian Amos

Highest ranking: 8
Lowest ranking: 12

The success of the Smith Bros. as free agent acquisitions overshadowed what was a stellar year from Green Bay’s “other” defensive addition. While Amos doesn’t have a particular skill that catches the eye, the fact that he is able to do pretty much everything at a solid-or-better level is invaluable in a defense that is filled with specialists. The one shortcoming of Amos’ game was supposed to be his playmaking, and while he will never be a big turnover machine, he did match his career high in interceptions with two. One of the big benefits of Amos last year was his durability. According to Pro Football Reference, he played 100% of Green Bay’s defensive snaps in 2019. If Green Bay gets exactly what they got in 2020 and beyond as they got from Amos in 2019, the contract they gave him will be an absolute steal.