The Green Bay Packers have a solid roster entering the 2020 season. Let’s take a look at their consensus top-five players.
We all have our favorite Green Bay Packers. Whether it’s the flashy players like Za’Darius Smith and Aaron Jones, or the steady players like Kenny Clark and Davante Adams, there’s plenty to like, but how do our favorite players stack up against each other?
I’ve created a composite ranking using three vastly different rating systems. The NFL Top 100 is a yearly list created by the NFL in 2011. Its voted on by the players, offering the fanbase a unique perspective. Since teammates and rivals are allowed to vote for each other, the list obviously comes with some bias. That can limit the list’s accuracy so I’ll partner it with two other systems.
Madden 21 was released last week, August 28th, though it was met with serious criticism from the gaming community. EA Sports has released a yearly Madden game dating back to 1990, making it the longest-running sports-based video-game. The game has utilized the rating system that we’re all familiar with, for most of its existence, though the ratings tend to be very superficial.
I’ve chosen to include Pro Football Focus to counter-balance Madden’s ratings. Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades every play of every player on every team at the NCAA and NFL level. It’s an innovative product and a go-to for in-depth analytics and analysis.
I chose to include the top ten players, when it was applicable, to be more inclusive. I then condensed the consensus list down to the top-five. Let’s take a quick look at how these different systems ranked our favorite players.
NFL Top 100
1) Aaron Rodgers (16) (6)
2) Aaron Jones (33) (6)
3) Za’Darius Smith (48) (11)
4) Davante Adams (57) (9)
5) David Bakhtiari (62) (1)
6) Preston Smith (63) (12)
The first set of parentheses represent the player’s rank on the list, while the second set represents their positional ranking compared to the rest of the league.
Six players on the Top 100 is proof of the talent on the Packers’ roster, though we can all agree that Kenny Clark’s exclusion is a travesty. Aaron Rodgers leads the ‘Pack’ at sixteenth overall, even with career years from his teammates.
Madden 21 Ratings
1) David Bakhtiari (96) (1)
2) Davante Adams (94) (5)
3T) Aaron Jones (90) (7)
3T) Jaire Alexander (90) (6)
3T) Kenny Clark (90) (9)
6) Aaron Rodgers (89) (6)
7) Za’Darius Smith (88) (11)
8) Adrian Amos (86) (13)
9) Preston Smith (84) (19)
10) Elgton Jenkins (80) (16)
The first set of parentheses represents the player rating on the game, while the second set represents their positional ranking compared to the rest of the league.
The Madden producers seem to like Jaire Alexander more than the rest of the NFL community. They have him rated as the 6th cornerback in the NFL and tied for the 3rd best player on the Packers roster, ahead of Aaron Rodgers and Za’Darius Smith.
Pro Football Focus Ratings
1) Za’Darius Smith (89.7) (4)
2) Davante Adams (88.0) (4)
3) Aaron Jones (84.8) (5)
4) Aaron Rodgers (83.7) (7)
5) Kenny Clark (79.6) (14)
6) David Bakhtiari (79.2) (14)
7) Adrian Amos (75.7) (15)
8) Jamaal Williams (74.9) (17)
9) Corey Linsley (73.9) (7)
10) Jaire Alexander (71.3) (21)
Just like the Madden ratings, the first set of parentheses contains PFF’s rating, while the second set contains its positional rank compared to the rest of the league.
The Packers have five players that graded in the top ten at their respective positions, according to PFF (subscription required). Of those players, only Aaron Rodgers is over 30 years old. This team still has plenty of young, productive players.
After averaging the three lists, I came up with a tie for first and a tie for third, which is unacceptable. I chose to go out on a limb and create my own top-ten, and use that ranking as the de-facto tie-breaker. My list is as follows:
1) Za’Darius Smith
2) Davante Adams
3) Aaron Rodgers
4) David Bakhtiari
5) Aaron Jones
6) Kenny Clark
7) Jaire Alexander
8) Adrian Amos
9) Preston Smith
10) Elgton Jenkins
That’s my top ten heading into the 2020 season. Some might disagree with Jones at #5 but I’m a big believer in positional value, and Jones being a running back limits his value to the team. Jenkins makes this list based on the progress he made during his rookie season. He looks like a solid building block for the Green Bay Packers.
After averaging the rankings of all four lists, I was finally able to create a consensus list that contained no ties, so without further ado, here are the top-five players for the Green Bay Packers!
1) Davante Adams
Adams didn’t record his best superficial statistics in 2019. He played in only 12 games, catching 83 passes for 997 yards, and 5 touchdowns, all of which were a step back from his 2018 season. When Adams was present, he was undeniably effective and earned the 4th best grade of all wide receivers from Pro Football Focus. Adams has the respect of the entire NFL community
2) Za’Darius Smith
My top-ranked player comes into this season as the consensus #2 for the Packers. Smith will look to build on a great start in Green Bay. He earned his first Pro Bowl invitation last season, after recording 13.5 sacks and 37 QB hits. Smith received an 89.7 grade from PFF, good enough for fourth among all edge rushers.
3) Aaron Jones
Jones broke out in 2019, setting career highs in almost everything. The offense revolved around his ability to consistently create big plays. He’s an extremely versatile threat, proving last year to be as valuable catching the ball as he is carrying it. Jones is one of the top ascending talents at the running back position. He’s going places; we’ll find out where, exactly, over the next few months.
4) Aaron Rodgers
Speaking of ascending talents… oh wait. After three appearances on the All-Pro roster from 2010-2014, Rodgers hasn’t been selected since. He may never reach that status again but is still considered the best Packer by the players, in the Top 100. He has a few years of Pro-Bowl caliber play left in the tank.
5) David Bakhtiari
Bakhtiari’s 96 rating on Madden 21 places him atop the list for the Green Bay Packers. Given his consistent production over the last seven years, it’s a fair rating. His PFF grade took a step back in 2019 but he’s still considered the top tackle in the NFL by Madden and the Top 100.
That’s a great group of star athletes – the kind of group that’s capable of winning a Super Bowl. After the top-five, there was a pretty clear drop in the average rankings but the supporting cast is no joke. Kenny Clark, Jaire Alexander, Adrian Amos, Preston Smith, and Jamaal Williams make up the next five, in that order. All are starting caliber, while Clark and Alexander have the potential to be All-Pro performers.
Make no mistake; this is a talented roster with the ability to cause some serious damage in 2020. The team came together last year and made a push into the postseason. They fell short of the ultimate goal but will get another shot this year. It will be fun to track the performance of these players. This list of top-five players for the Green Bay Packers may not have contained too many surprises this time but keep your eyes open for updates as the year goes on.