8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (2024)

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (1)

Zach Kruse, Brandon Carwile and Paul Bretl

July 2, 2024 11:40 am CT

The Green Bay Packers are entering the 2024 season with Super Bowl dreams, but as is the case with almost every NFL team, fatal flaws can emerge within the season if the right combination of players fail to improve individually or fail to step up in a new or increased role.

So, who must step up and help patch up any potential problem areas for Matt LaFleur’s team this season?

Here are eight players who need to step up for the Packers in 2024:

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C Josh Myers

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (2)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 09: Josh Myers #71 of the Green Bay Packers looks to make a block against the Las Vegas Raiders in the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium on October 09, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Packers 17-13. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

Myers finished the 2023 season well, and by PFF’s metrics, he fared well in pass protection relative to the rest of his position group. However, what the Packers need from him is more consistency. Internally, the Packers are a lot higher on Myers than the outside, in part because of the rapport he’s built with Jordan Love, the leadership role he’s taken on in the offensive line room, and his ability pre-snap to communicate protections. But once the ball is snapped, the Packers need more steady play from him, which will help elevate the play of the entire line. — Paul Bretl

CB Eric Stokes

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (3)

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JUNE 04: Eric Stokes #21 of the Green Bay Packers participates in drills during the Green Bay Packers Minicamp at Ray Nitschke Field on June 04, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Injuries have not been kind to Stokes, who has appeared in just two games over the past two seasons. Now, the hope is all that is behind him, and he can get back to playing at a starting level, as he did as a rookie. The 29th overall pick became an immediate contributor in 2021, leading the team in pass breakups. However, Stokes did not build off his first-year success and was regressing before injuries took a toll. Maybe Stokes has put all that behind him, but he still needs to prove he can live up to his first-round selection. He’s a bump-and-run corner who should excel in Green Bay’s new scheme as long as he hasn’t lost his speed. Second-year corner Carrington Valentine will be vying for snaps opposite of Jaire Alexander, so Stokes has no choice but to step up if he wants to start. — Brandon Carwile

CB/KR Keisean Nixon

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (4)

Dec 24, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Keisean Nixon (25) eyes Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young (9) during the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers paid Nixon good money to return on a three-year deal, suggesting he’ll be counted on as the starting slot corner once again. Nixon produced flashes of high-level play from the slot but was inconsistent overall in his first year as a starter in 2023. Can he find some consistency in the slot within Jeff Hafley’s new defense? A passing defense is only as good as its weakest link. The Packers will also expect more All-Pro level impact from Nixon as a kick returner, especially considering the new rule changes on kickoffs. His value on special teams could skyrocket if teams give him more chances to create big plays in the kicking game. — Zach Kruse

LB Quay Walker

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (5)

Sep 17, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Green Bay Packers linebacker Quay Walker (7) tackles Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) from behind during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The opportunity for Quay Walker to put together his most productive year yet exists in the new Jeff Hafley defense. The two words we’ve often heard this offseason when describing the Hafley defense are “run” and “hit,” which is what Walker was asked to do at Georgia and is the play-style that made him a first-round selection. During Hafley’s introductory press conference, he mentioned that putting Walker in a position to make “a lot of plays” was going to be a priority. The recipe for a big year from Walker is there; now it’s about capitalizing on that potential. — Paul Bretl

RB Josh Jacobs

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Green Bay Packers running back Emanuel Wilson (31) and running back Josh Jacobs (8) are shown during the team’s mini camp Tuesday, June 11, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Jacobs has big shoes to fill, replacing the once beloved Aaron Jones before he became a Viking. At 26 years of age, Jacobs has fresher legs and likely more years of high-level play ahead of him. However, 2023 wasn’t a great year for the two-time Pro Bowler, as he posted a career-low for yards per carry (3.5). Hopefully, with better blocking, Jacobs will return to his elite level and turn the Packers’ offense into a force to be reckoned with. — Brandon Carwile

WR Christian Watson

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (7)

Green Bay Packers receiver Christian Watson makes a leaping 53-yard catch on the first play of the game against Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker III (21) during the first half at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023.

When healthy, Watson has been a consistent playmaker and big-play threat, so the real challenge here is avoiding the injuries that have plagued his first two seasons. To reach their full potential as an offense, the Packers need Watson tilting the field in their favor with his size and speed combination as a vertical threat and dynamic ability on gadget plays. This offense could explode — in a good way — if Watson is available for all 17 games. — Zach Kruse

G Sean Rhyan

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (8)

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 12: Sean Rhyan #75 of the Green Bay Packers blocks against the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter of an NFL preseason football game at Levi’s Stadium on August 12, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The Packers let Jon Runyan Jr. walk in free agency, opening the door for Rhyan — a 2022 third-round pick — to win the starting job outright at right guard. He got experience as a rotational player in 2023 but must take a big step in the right direction during his third season. The Packers drafted Jordan Morgan in the first round, and they believe he can play four positions, including right guard, so Rhyan needs to improve or he’ll be pushed hard for a starting job. The former UCLA Bruin could be a people mover in the run game. — Zach Kruse

K Anders Carlson

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (9)

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – NOVEMBER 05: Anders Carlson #17 of the Green Bay Packers kicks a field goal in the third quarter of a game against the Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field on November 05, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

There’s no guarantee that Carlson, the incumbent, will come out of the three-way kicking competition with the job, but the best case scenario is probably one where Carlson wins the job with an excellent summer and then proves to be far more consistent and clutch in his second season as an NFL kicker. The Packers didn’t sit on their hands and hope Carlson would improve this offseason — veteran Greg Joseph and newcomer James Turner are legitimate competitors for the job. Can Carlson use the motivating power of competition to help take a big step in Year 2? — Zach Kruse

Bonus: CB Jaire Alexander

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (10)

Green Bay Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander (23) is shown during organized team activities Tuesday, May 21, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

The 2023 season for Jaire Alexander was a forgettable one for so many reasons. Can the two-time All-Pro rebound in a new defense? Having a lockdown No. 1 cornerback will be so important to the Packers reaching their potential, both on defense and as a team. By all accounts, Alexander was locked in and ready to put last year behind him during the offseason workout program.

The rookies

8 players who need to step up for Packers in 2024 (11)

Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Jordan Morgan (77) runs through drills during rookie minicamp on Friday, May 3, 2024, at the Don Hutson Center in Green Bay, Wis.
Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

Rookies can’t always be relied upon, but the Packers got a lot of impact from the rookie class last year and could get more help in 2024. Will any of the top picks step up?

OL Jordan Morgan: It’s certainly possible he’ll be a starter somewhere on the offensive line.

LB Edgerrin Cooper: It would be a surprise if Cooper isn’t a rookie starter next to Quay Walker at linebacker.

DB Javon Bullard: A lot of snaps are available both at safety and in the slot within Jeff Hafley’s secondary.

RB Marshawn Lloyd: He’ll have a chance to win the job as the No. 2 running back, which would put him one injury to Josh Jacobs away from an important role in the Packers offense.

Read all the best Packers coverage at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Packers Wire.

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