I haven’t been this shocked by a Packers draft class since Mike Sherman.
A big part of that was that I wasn’t expecting such a seismic shift in the way the Packers are approaching their offense.
Discount the Jordan Love pick, that’s a separate issue (read more here on that one), let’s focus on free agency and Day 2 of the draft to see what the Packers are thinking.
After getting embarrassed in the NFCCG against the 49ers by allowing roughly a billion rushing yards, the Packers did not go out and sign box defenders like Damon Harrison to shore up the run defense. They also didn’t take run-stuffing defensive linemen like Ross Blacklock or tough linebackers like Malik Harrison.
In fact, through 4 rounds, they didn’t even take one defensive player.
Instead of trying to beat the 49ers, they decided to join them.
In the 2nd round, they went with a punishing big back in AJ Dillon, then in the 3rd round, they went with a H-back Josiah Deguara. In free agency the took 6’4 Devin Funchess and seem content with 6’5 Allen Lazard.
This offense is going to be punishing.
They aren’t going to take small, quick slot guys, they want big bodies everywhere. I picture them like a team of mastiffs plowing through an army of chihuahuas.
As the league has moved from power teams to heavily favoring passing, teams have loaded up on quick defenders like gap shooting lineman and coverage linebackers. The Packers are now going to try to steamroll their opponents, which just feels bizarre with a quarterback as good as they have.
The Titans went deep playing bullyball last year and the 49ers showed the Packers firsthand what this approach can do.
Last year, the Packers made a move towards big defenders. This year, it’s clear the offensive philosophy is changing. They used Day 2 of the draft to make that change happen.
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