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Cheese Curds, 11/6: Packers get huge contributions from rookie class against Rams

Several rookies made big plays on Sunday, led by a pair of 7th-round picks.

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NFL: NOV 05 Rams at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sunday was a good day for the Green Bay Packers’ rookie class. The Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams 20-3, but they did so thanks in large part to big games from a handful of rookie players.

In particular, a pair of seventh-round picks in the defensive backfield were thrust into action, and the two rookies came through with flying colors. Carrington Valentine had a great game, which goes down in the box score as his fourth career start. He was the closest defender on seven Rams passes and none of them were completed, thanks to three pass breakups by the rookie, and he also drew an offensive pass interference penalty that he on Puka Nacua while making a few nice plays in run support as well.

Ten picks after the Packers chose Valentine with pick number 232 overall, they drafted safety Anthony Johnson, Jr. out of Iowa State. He also had a really solid game in his first start, filling in for an injured Rudy Ford. Johnson had one tackle, but made a key fourth-quarter interception and a second pass breakup as he flashed nicely in his first extended action.

All told, it was an encouraging sign for the Packers’ 2023 draft class, and we haven’t even touched on a mini-breakout for Luke Musgrave or a good day (minus a fumble) from Dontayvion Wicks.

Admittedly, this was just one game against a team that was in rough shape and that started a backup quarterback. But there are some building blocks here for these young players, all of whom should continue to get more playing time moving forward.

Key to the Game: Next men up step up for Packers’ defense |
It was a big day for the likes of Valentine, Johnson, and even Isaiah McDuffie, who had a great performance in run support.

Luke Musgrave catches first career TD, Anthony Johnson Jr. gets first career INT in win over Rams | Packers Wire
Johnson's first was a great way to cap off his day, while Musgrave also had a big first, getting loose on a tremendous play design that the Packers borrowed from Kyle Shanahan.

‘New life’: Packers snap losing streak with 20-3 win over Rams behind shutdown defense - The Athletic ($)
There are certainly things for the Packers to build on coming out of this game, but they will have much tougher tests coming up in the next few weeks.

Report Card: Grades From Packers’ Victory Over Rams - Sports Illustrated
It's three As and a B for the offense and defense in this game, at least in one grader's eyes.

Kenny Clark, Christian Watson injuries not long term, Packers takeaways |
If Clark isn't able to play next Sunday in Pittsburgh, that would be a big blow to the interior of the defense, so it's encouraging that his injury does not appear to be a big deal.

Former Wisconsin RB Dare Ogunbowale re-writes an NFL record | Yahoo! Sports
Ogunbowale stepped in for the Texans' injured kicker, Ka'imi Fairbairn, and drilled a 29-yard field goal in a game that ended up as a two-point Houston victory.