Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Green Bay Packers fans and fans across the country.
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We have a new batch of questions for you this week, mostly focusing on the status of the 2023 rookie class. If you’d like to read about how the young players have been fairing in voluntary practices, check out our three practice wrap-up posts from the media-open OTAs.
Question 1: How many games will Lukas Van Ness start this year?
The Packers' first-round rookie has already started to make splashes in practice, despite the fact that pads have yet to come on. Early on in OTAs, Van Ness was making plays consistently against the second-team offense, which then led to Van Ness taking over on the first-team — jumping Justin Hollins and Kingsley Enagabare on the depth chart — in the final media-open practice before minicamp. How many opportunities is the Iowa product going to have to start this year, considering that Rashan Gary is coming off of an ACL tear and that the rookie probably has a higher pass-rushing upside than Preston Smith?
Question 2: What will you consider a successful 2023 season for the Packers?
What is the bar that you’ll measure success for this team in the upcoming campaign? Is it simply hovering around .500? Double-digit wins?
Question 3: Which mid-round rookie do you think will have the biggest impact in 2023?
Tight end Tucker Kraft is the highest-drafted option on our list but could be buried in the depth chart behind second-round pick Luke Musgrave and returning veteran Josiah Deguara. Personally, I think he’s the most talented player in the bunch, but if Musgrave is getting the developmental reps this season, Kraft might not have the biggest impact out of the group.
The defensive line is a particularly thin position on the Packers’ roster, but head coach Matt LaFleur recently singled out both fourth-round pick Colby Wooden and sixth-round pick Karl Brooks as players who stood out during OTAs. If TJ Slaton can’t handle a starter’s share of reps at nose tackle — which would displace Kenny Clark to 3-4 defensive end — there’s an easy-to-imagine scenario where one of Wooden or Brooks takes over as a starting end this upcoming season. These are players I really want a look at once the pads actually come on.
The last option is receiver Dontayvion Wicks, who I think is a dark horse to play the X position for the team as a rookie. Wicks hasn’t been making too much noise so far in Green Bay, but fits the mold of an isolated receiver based on his college film. I believe that receiver Christian Watson’s best role is as the Z receiver, an outside receiver who is off the ball so that he can stretch defenses laterally on jet sweeps as well as vertically on deep routes. Jayden Reed, obviously, fits the mold of a slot receiver. If Romeo Doubs struggles again against press coverage, which is what he’d see a lot more as an isolated X receiver, maybe it makes more sense to play a bigger-body receiver in the spot to keep Watson and Reed in their ideal roles?
Scroll down to the comments below and leave your thoughts on the 2023 rookie draft class to contribute to the conversation. Are Wooden and Brooks really going to be solves on the defensive line this year? Do you think Wicks can push Doubs for playing time?