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Three Packers to watch in 2021

The Green Bay Packers had a great 2020 season winning the NFC North and going on to the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row, though losing 31-26 to Tampa Bay was a blow. There’s been plenty of drama in the Packers offseason too, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers staging that temporary walk-out. But now he’s back and the team’s chances of making it to the Super Bowl are looking far more optimistic. 

Yet even a superstar player can’t do it alone and online sportsbooks such as Space Casino are not convinced Rodgers will be able to lead them to glory as the Packers are priced at +600 to win the NFC Conference behind Tampa Bay. However, here are three up-and-coming names tipped to be the breakout stars for Green Bay this 2021 season who could definitely help Rodgers in this endeavor.

Green Bay Packers defensive back Darnell Savage (26) is shown during the second day of organized team activities Tuesday, May 25, 2021 in Green Bay, Wis.

Darnell Savage, S

A first-round selection in the 2019 draft, is this third season with the Packers going to be Darnell Savage’s big breakout? After all, he’s been compared to a chess piece, such is his versatility as a true free safety. And that’s what makes him invaluable to Green Bay – he has the skillset to play as an additional defender, as a cornerback or really anywhere in the secondary. In 2018, the Packers had one of the worst collection of safeties in the NFL. Now Savage and Adrian Amos have turned that weakness into a strong point. There are still concerns about Savage’s consistency on a snap-by-snap basis, but he’s had his moments of pure greatness.

Packers LB Rashan Gary

Green Bay Packers linebacker Rashan Gary (52) and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) participate in minicamp practice Thursday, June 10, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis.

Rashan Gary, OLB

Another player entering his third season at Green Bay, Gary has a real chance of making a major impact in defense. His playing time last season was limited at only 456 snaps, but, as with Savage, we witnessed some brilliant moments and saw some amazing potential. Given the chance, Rashan Gary could easily become an elite NFL pass-rusher and he ended the 2020 season in the top 10 ranked most disruptive players, with a ‘disruption rate’ of 15.1%. Having had two seasons with the Packers to grow into his role, Rashan Gary must surely now be prepared to play a more prominent part in defense.

Aug 21, 2021; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers running back AJ Dillon (28) is tackled with the football during the first quarter against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

AJ Dillon, RB

With the departure of Jamaal Williams, the door is well and truly open for Dillon to become the Packers’ number two running back. His prowess as a powerful runner means defenders will think twice before taking him on. With 38 rushing touchdowns over three seasons at Boston College, Dillon has proved his potential to become a touchdown machine for the Packers. Only last season he had 119 carries and was on the ball for 40% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps, clocking up 21 carries and two touchdowns in one game alone against the Tennessee Titans. When he’s given the opportunity to shine, he dazzles. Simply give him more carries and Dillon is set to be a major breakout star in Green Bay’s offense this 2021 season.
So, there we have it. Three young men with the talent, potential and ambition to be stand-out players this season with the Packers. Let’s all show our support for their success.

Ed Rooney

Just a guy with too much free time trying to help out.



  1. Tom M August 26, 2021

    Darnell Savage always reminded me of Nick Collins who’s career ending neck injury in 2011 we never recovered from. Rashan Gary will start week one in New Orleans and one of the Smith’s won’t get their job back. Gutekunst took a lot of crap over the Dillion pick because it wasn’t a WR after drafting Love. But this was the guy Matt LaFleur wanted. A big power back like Travis Henry when he was OC in Tennessee. He’s best as the featured back limiting Aaron Jones to about 15 catches a game. There’s a lot to like about these three. Good call.

  2. Mick August 28, 2021

    Ya, I agree Ed. These 3 guys have big potential. I’d like to see Dillon more in the run game, his size could really wear a defense down, he can be a real asset when the weather gets nasty too. As for Gary being listed as 3rd on the depth chart, I’m not buying that one. He maybe listed 3rd so far in this pre-season but I’ll be shocked if he remains 3rd for very long. He was a force towards the end of last season and the kid is hungry and wants to be great. Time to let him shine.

  3. Dean August 29, 2021

    The way Hill looks at RB, I hope he gets a few carries per game also.

    1. Mick August 30, 2021

      Yes, K. Hill was a nice find in the 7th round. So far, he has shown toughness, reliability, and he could be a nice asset in LaFleurs’ offense on screens and short passes out of the backfield. Seems like the NFL game is not to big for him.