We are only days away from the 2019 NFL Draft and I couldn’t be more excited. The Packers own two 1st round picks and three in the top 44, now is the time to solidify this roster with some serious top end talent.
Before we start imagining what the team could look like post-draft, I want to look at the current roster and who I think will make the biggest improvements going into 2019. This team is loaded with young potential waiting to break out, it will be up to the new coaching staff to find a way to maximize each player’s strengths. After breaking down last season and following their progress throughout the off-season, I think I found two guys who are in store for massive 2019 seasons.
Former Iowa standout, CB Josh Jackson had a disappointing rookie season last year with the Packers finishing with 49 total tackles, 10 pass breakups and 0 interceptions. Jackson was a rookie and only played 67% of the defensive snaps but I still think most of us expected more from the 45th overall pick. We all saw what he did during his 2017 season at Iowa, Jackson dominated receivers with his big frame and physical style. He finished with 48 total tackles and 8 INT’s! In only thirteen games Jackson managed to snag 8 picks, 2 of them going for TD’s, in the same game! That’s what I call a game changer. I think he is just too talented to not be a success in the NFL.
If you look at the final quarter of the 2018 season, you’ll see some of Jackson’s best play (Jets game) while also his worst (Lions game). Against the Jets in Week 16, Jackson played 32 snaps at outside CB, giving up only 1 catch while also batting away a pass. The very next week, disaster struck. The rookie gave up 3 TD’s, one of them coming on a fake field goal where he was caught totally out of position.
It was a stereotypical season for a rookie CB, with lots of ups and downs but I really do think Josh Jackson could become a star in this league. He has the size and instincts to be a ball hawk and has proven that in college, now it’s time to take his game to the next level.
Equanimeous St. Brown
Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown is heading into his first full off-season in the NFL after a quite yet fairly impressive rookie campaign. EQ finished last season with only 21 catches for 328 yards, but I still think he showed some serious potential when on the field. In Week 5 against the Lions, St. Brown caught 3 balls for 89 yards, one of those being a catch and run of 54 yards.
It was late in the game during a desperate comeback attempt, EQ ran a double move out of the slot catching the ball at the 42, he then turns up field getting around and through three would be tacklers on his way to a 54-yard gain. To me, this one play alone says so much about what kind of player he is. He ran a perfect route, came back to the football on the catch and then had the vision to turn it into a massive gain.
As a receiver, the ability to create YAC (yards after catch) is supremely important. Randall Cobb made a living off fooling the pants off defenders in middle of the field. If you’re a guy who can take a 10-yard gain and turn it into 50, you’ll be around for a long time.
Looking ahead to next year, the Packers don’t have a clear No.3 receiver just yet and I think EQ can make a strong push for that spot. Similarly to Jackson, St. Brown has elite size for his position, coming in at 6”5, that’s 2 inches taller than Julio Jones! As long as he continues to gain the trust of QB Aaron Rodgers I think EQ could be well on his way to a breakout season.
- Tony Brown
- Jimmy Graham
- Oren Burks
If you don’t see your top breakout candidate listed here please drop his name in the comments and I’ll get back to you!