Few teams will have offensive lines and defensive front sevens as good as the Green Bay Packers will field in 2022.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Quarterbacks win MVPs and collect preposterous pay checks. Receivers – at least in Green Bay – dominate the predraft chatter.
But in the NFL, games are won at the line of scrimmage. And the Green Bay Packers could be really good in the trenches.
The 33rd Team, the site started by former NFL executives Mike Tannenbaum and Joe Banner, recently broke the NFL’s offensive lines and defensive front sevens into tiers, ranging from Tier 1 through Tier 7.
On the offensive line, the Packers were listed among the Tier 3 teams.
That’s defined as “teams that have at least one major question-mark on their OL, or teams with truly solid talent across the board but no superstars at this time.”
Green Bay’s ranking is tied to the long-term health of five-time All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.
The 31-year-old missed almost all of last season with a torn ACL sustained on Dec. 31, 2020.
If Bakhtiari is indeed healthy and ready to return to dominating form, then the Packers’ front will return to its usual status as one of the best in the NFL.
Second-year center Josh Myers is a bit of a question mark, too, after missing most of his rookie season with a knee injury, and 2020 Pro Bowler Elgton Jenkins is coming off a torn ACL, as well.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers’ front seven is ranked among the Tier 2 teams. A Tier 2 front is considered a “premier” unit that is “stout” against the run and features “pass rushers who can challenge for the league lead in sacks.”
Green Bay’s front could be ferocious, with Pro Bowler Kenny Clark and veteran Dean Lowry joined by T.J. Slaton, free-agent addition Jarran Reed and first-round pick Devonte Wyatt.
While depth is a concern at outside linebacker, the duo of Rashan Gary and Preston Smith is top notch, and All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell and first-round pick Quay Walker could form an elite tandem at inside linebacker.
Only six teams featured offensive lines and defensive fronts both ranked in the top three tiers: Philadelphia (Tier 1 offensive line, Tier 3 defensive front), Kansas City (Tier 1 offensive line, Tier 3 defensive front), Dallas (Tier 3 offensive line, Tier 2 defensive front), the Rams (Tier 3 offensive line, Tier 2 defensive front), Washington (Tier 3 in both) and Green Bay.
The Eagles and Commanders, however, lack the quarterbacks to be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
The Packers and Chiefs are the only teams listed above who also have a Tier 1 quarterback, with Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, respectively.
With Matthew Stafford and Dak Prescott, the Rams and Cowboys have Tier 2 quarterbacks to combine with their strong offensive lines and defensive front sevens.
In the NFC North, Green Bay has one overwhelming advantage. The Lions’ and Vikings’ defensive fronts are viewed as Tier 6, while the Bears’ defensive front seven is in the bottom tier. On the offensive line, Detroit is viewed as Tier 1, Minnesota is Tier 5 and Chicago is Tier 7.
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