It's been a turbulent offseason for the Green Bay Packers. When news broke just before the NFL Draft that star quarterback Aaron Rodgers wanted out, everything changed for the NFC North champions.
As the Packers' training camp approaches, the Rodgers drama continues to be a massive distraction for the team. It's the biggest story in the NFL and until there's a resolution it's not going away.
After reaching the NFC championship game in back-to-back years, Green Bay has the squad to once again challenge for the Super Bowl. Outside of the obvious need for Aaron Rodgers to return, here's a look at five players who could play a big role in the upcoming season for the Packers.
#1 - Jordan Love
The second-year quarterback has the NFL world’s eyes on him this preseason. Aaron Rodgers' continued absence means that Love is getting the number one QB reps during OTAs and will likely continue to do so in training camp.
The starting QB in Green Bay this year?
He's never taken a snap in an NFL game, so he’s on a steep learning curve in 2021. So far, the results have been mixed. One day, reports state that Love is struggling and his throws are erratic. The next day, he looks like a future star, making all the throws he asked to make.
Green Bay Packers fans and coaching staff are going to have to be patient with Jordan Love as he gets his first real NFL reps.
#2 - Eric Stokes
Former Georgia Bulldogs cornerback Eric Stokes was somewhat of a surprise selection by Green Bay in the first round of this year's NFL Draft. The Packers needed help in the secondary, but Stokes was not seen as a likely candidate.
Training camp will be an opportunity for Stokes to push for a starting berth ahead of the current starter, Kevin King. Jaire Alexander has one side of the Packers defense locked down, so it's a battle between Stokes and King for the other cornerback position.
#3 - A.J. Dillon
In his rookie season, Dillon showed flashes of being a future star running back. After being handed the opportunity due to injuries to Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, Dillon looked like a quality NFL running back.
Now that Williams has departed for the Detroit Lions, Dillon is set to shoulder a bigger burden in 2021. Look for the player known as ‘Quadzilla’ to stand out during training camp.
#4 - Amari Rodgers
Another rookie looking to make his mark during this year's training camp is Amari Rodgers. The former Clemson Tigers wide receiver was drafted by Green Bay in the third round.
Davante Adams is the leader in the Packers' receiving core, but there is room for a dynamic slot receiver like Rodgers to play a big role in the Green Bay offense this season.
While most fans will be hoping to see another Rodgers at the Packers training camp, Amari Rodgers could be the one wrestling back some limelight.
#5 - Preston Smith
The outside linebacker had a disappointing year for the Packers in 2020. Smith recorded four sacks, down from 12 in 2019, and the rest of his stats were also on the low.
Green Bay restructured his contract this offseason, so the other 'Smith brother' needs a big training camp to show that he still deserves a starting spot on the team. Look for him to be firing on all cylinders this pre-season.