First Month In - 3 Players Far Exceeding Expectations

tynimiller

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Last night had a buddy pose a question to me, "If you were tasked with writing an article on who you feel are the three guys that are overachieving expectations for the Packers who you got and why?"

It's tough, when limited to three...but I'll share my quick list that popped into my head in no particular order and then breakdown why I chose who I did. Love to hear others thoughts so far in the season:

Royce Newman, Preston Smith, De'Vondre Campbell, Jonathan Garvin, Jon Runyon, Yosh Nijman and Krys Barnes

My three, again in no particular order per say are:

PRESTON SMITH - Now look, I know many are judging him based upon his sack numbers alone, and while his sacks/pressures are down lower than we might want. Preston's ability to set that edge of his consistently has been something to behold this year. He looks fresh and motivated similar to his first season here rather than last (terrible). The dude is delivering against the run at a level I am not even sure is sustainable - but hope it does. I expected Preston to possible bounce back from 2020, but the degree to which he has is compounded even more by the amount of time/snaps we've needed him to handle with Z's absence (Rivers even to lessor bit). Preston Smith has played to a capacity where if I'm the organization I'm willing to sit down and see what or how we could construct an extension IF money allows and can be set up friendly to the team - that is coming from me, and advocate for cutting Smith last season and someone that before the season would have said you cut him next offseason with out question. PFF grades for Preston for those curious are 73.9 OVR - 90.2 RunDef - 56.1 PassRush

De'VONDRE CAMPBELL is clearly a guy I feel most have to put on this list. De'Vondre a street free agent pick up beyond the time where compensatory picks were even impacted is playing like a man possessed this season. Barnes has been solid, but missed some time, Campbell has delivered in any aspect he has been called to attempt and then some. Leads the team in tackles with 65% of those being solo (again team leader), interceptions to boot as well. PFF grades are 84.8 OVR - 85.4 RunDef - 59.8 PassRush - 80.6 Coverage <---he isn't asked to rush much so that figure is in my opinion lower merely because of that, but those are excellent numbers for any team at ILB. He is clearly another guy that should GB have the ability, should garner a table talk about future with him...either way the crazy thing is if he doesn't play in GB I gotta think he has shown worthy of a good contract which could cause a return of late Day 3 pick in compensatory possibly.

JON RUNYAN - This guy was in a battle for a starting spot, and while many of us pictured him winning one of them possibly, I don't think any of us envisioned him doing quite so well. He is our highest rated Pass Blocker so far a month through the season (and that includes Jenkins albeit limited in game count) at 82.2. That is an incredible figure and for a team that relies on the arm of the QB to win games so much is awesome to see out of just a second year guy - whom was a 6th round pick. If he can improve his run blocking (59.5 PFF grade) and start winning on rush snaps more (last game was rough one) Runyan very well could make an argument for showing signs of being our 3rd best OL (Bahk/Jenkins clear top two). I can still remember being astonished he was still there in the sixth, and will forever be ecstatic we nabbed him - appears could be for many years to come even.

Who you got as your three - no going beyond three, as it forces you to choose.
 

AmishMafia

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Campbell is #1. Thought he might get some playing time. Now he is an important factor in our defensive success.

#2. Josh Nijman. Played okay. Was thinking he was a fringe player. Took on some good defenses, especially in SF. Expected him to get slaughtered, yet he held his own.

#3 Stokes. I thought he would be good by seasons end. I think he is a notch better now than I thought he would be with the more experience at seasons end. Think we found a gem.

Honorable mention. Devante Adams. Adding for the shock value, but I didn't think he could possibly get any better. Yet he did.
 

Mondio

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Definitely Campbell #1

I'd put Stokes in there

and Josh Myer, well, I did think he'd be pretty good, but I think he's holding his own. The others on the line are doing well, but I think they're being helped a lot by play calling and help from others and looking better than they are because of it.

I agree with Preston, his sack numbers aren't up there, but he's playing really good football if you watch him. I'd say the same for Gary too, he's everywhere in run and pass game.
 

tynimiller

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I see Stokes twice now, and I know some are probably curious why he wasn't on my list, has to do with where I guess I had expectations for him personally. I knew he was a first rounder, and if I'm putting a first round grade on a CB I personally feel he is ready for the challenge of being a team's #2 outside CB or starting slot if that is his niche. So I already had Stokes with the expectation of delivering average play as a team's number #2. Struggles for sure, as being a raw rookie, but would for most teams be usable as #2. That would for me say to bring things to a PFF grade, grade out around 55.0 IMO.

Stokes presently has a 54.8 grade, and a 55.5 in Coverage - to weigh this relatively King is a 60.2 overall guy presently in 2021 and was a 55.7 in 2020 and 62.5 in 2019

So Stokes for me personally has been exactly what I've figured - that isn't to say there hasn't been some plays he has made that caused me to raise my eyebrow and think "This kid may be more than I feel he was" because he has done that for sure.
 

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What's great is that we aren't struggling to think of 3 players. This could be about 5 or 6 players and still would be a lively discussion. IMO - teams that win Super Bowls have a bunch of players over-achieving in a season.

One more that I'll add to the mix is Corey Bojorquez. We all hoped that Gute wasn't making a giant mistake with the late trade. In the end, I think we all really hoped that the guy would at least be better. He's been exceptional so far with his directional punting, which stats will never prove out...but his stats are good too. I'm not arguing to put him in the top three but agree with Preston Smith, DeVondre Campbell, and probably Myers as my top 3. Top six would add Runyan, Bojorquez, and Stokes in no particular order.
 

Dantés

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Last night had a buddy pose a question to me, "If you were tasked with writing an article on who you feel are the three guys that are overachieving expectations for the Packers who you got and why?"

It's tough, when limited to three...but I'll share my quick list that popped into my head in no particular order and then breakdown why I chose who I did. Love to hear others thoughts so far in the season:

Royce Newman, Preston Smith, De'Vondre Campbell, Jonathan Garvin, Jon Runyon, Yosh Nijman and Krys Barnes

My three, again in no particular order per say are:

PRESTON SMITH - Now look, I know many are judging him based upon his sack numbers alone, and while his sacks/pressures are down lower than we might want. Preston's ability to set that edge of his consistently has been something to behold this year. He looks fresh and motivated similar to his first season here rather than last (terrible). The dude is delivering against the run at a level I am not even sure is sustainable - but hope it does. I expected Preston to possible bounce back from 2020, but the degree to which he has is compounded even more by the amount of time/snaps we've needed him to handle with Z's absence (Rivers even to lessor bit). Preston Smith has played to a capacity where if I'm the organization I'm willing to sit down and see what or how we could construct an extension IF money allows and can be set up friendly to the team - that is coming from me, and advocate for cutting Smith last season and someone that before the season would have said you cut him next offseason with out question. PFF grades for Preston for those curious are 73.9 OVR - 90.2 RunDef - 56.1 PassRush

De'VONDRE CAMPBELL is clearly a guy I feel most have to put on this list. De'Vondre a street free agent pick up beyond the time where compensatory picks were even impacted is playing like a man possessed this season. Barnes has been solid, but missed some time, Campbell has delivered in any aspect he has been called to attempt and then some. Leads the team in tackles with 65% of those being solo (again team leader), interceptions to boot as well. PFF grades are 84.8 OVR - 85.4 RunDef - 59.8 PassRush - 80.6 Coverage <---he isn't asked to rush much so that figure is in my opinion lower merely because of that, but those are excellent numbers for any team at ILB. He is clearly another guy that should GB have the ability, should garner a table talk about future with him...either way the crazy thing is if he doesn't play in GB I gotta think he has shown worthy of a good contract which could cause a return of late Day 3 pick in compensatory possibly.

JON RUNYAN - This guy was in a battle for a starting spot, and while many of us pictured him winning one of them possibly, I don't think any of us envisioned him doing quite so well. He is our highest rated Pass Blocker so far a month through the season (and that includes Jenkins albeit limited in game count) at 82.2. That is an incredible figure and for a team that relies on the arm of the QB to win games so much is awesome to see out of just a second year guy - whom was a 6th round pick. If he can improve his run blocking (59.5 PFF grade) and start winning on rush snaps more (last game was rough one) Runyan very well could make an argument for showing signs of being our 3rd best OL (Bahk/Jenkins clear top two). I can still remember being astonished he was still there in the sixth, and will forever be ecstatic we nabbed him - appears could be for many years to come even.

Who you got as your three - no going beyond three, as it forces you to choose.

Preston Smith is a well-paid veteran pass rusher with tons of experience, playing in his prime. Why would the bar be so low for him that we would say he's "far exceeding expectations" by setting a strong edge in the running game?

I also have not seen one person other than you cite sack numbers. That seems to be a straw man you've created to talk back to those who have been underwhelmed by the degree of overall pressure he's supplied this season.

He looked his best on the season this most recent week. Hopefully that's a sign of things to come.

But I don't see how we can argue that a guy of his experience, age, and contract status can be said to be way beyond expectations when, before Sunday, he wasn't performing well in the most important part of his job.
 

tynimiller

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Preston Smith is a well-paid veteran pass rusher with tons of experience, playing in his prime. Why would the bar be so low for him that we would say he's "far exceeding expectations" by setting a strong edge in the running game?

I also have not seen one person other than you cite sack numbers. That seems to be a straw man you've created to talk back to those who have been underwhelmed by the degree of overall pressure he's supplied this season.

He looked his best on the season this most recent week. Hopefully that's a sign of things to come.

But I don't see how we can argue that a guy of his experience, age, and contract status can be said to be way beyond expectations when, before Sunday, he wasn't performing well in the most important part of his job.

Because as I outlined I wanted to cut him before the season started. I didn't expect him to be worth anything more than what he was last year honestly. Perhaps you and others pictured him being a starter level performer, but I hadn't. I firmly felt like I was going to have a 2021 season where I just was pissed he was out there on so many snaps. He has exceeded my personal expectations by a lot. If someone told me to rank them relative to what I expected he would be #3 in my list of three.
 

Dantés

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On defense, Campbell is easily the #1 answer to the question, followed closely by Eric Stokes.

Stokes is, I believe, tied for the most targets into his coverage, and he's allowing a 69.4 passer rating. That's really excellent for any rookie corner, especially one not taken in the top 10.

On offense, I think it has to be the rookie/young offensive linemen. Jon Runyan, Josh Meyers, Yosh Nijman, Royce Newman have all exceeded what would have been reasonable to expect from them. Billy Turner and Elgton Jenkins full-time at tackle has also exceed expectations.
 

Dantés

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Because as I outlined I wanted to cut him before the season started. I didn't expect him to be worth anything more than what he was last year honestly. Perhaps you and others pictured him being a starter level performer, but I hadn't. I firmly felt like I was going to have a 2021 season where I just was pissed he was out there on so many snaps. He has exceeded my personal expectations by a lot. If someone told me to rank them relative to what I expected he would be #3 in my list of three.

I picked him to lead the team in sacks before the season started.

He came in last year out of shape, but it became clear in camp that that's not the case this season.

I expect a lot more pressure out of a veteran pass rusher, in his prime, on a lucrative deal.
 

tynimiller

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I picked him to lead the team in sacks before the season started.

He came in last year out of shape, but it became clear in camp that that's not the case this season.

I expect a lot more pressure out of a veteran pass rusher, in his prime, on a lucrative deal.

Well than of course relative to what you were expecting him to do this year he'd be underachieving arguably. Not mine however.
 

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Well than of course relative to what you were expecting him to do this year he'd be underachieving arguably. Not mine however.

That's fair. But it would make more sense for you to say that than the sack numbers strawman.

BTW-- what you said in the OP is that you expected him to bounce back to a degree.
 

tynimiller

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That's fair. But it would make more sense for you to say that than the sack numbers strawman.

No, not at all. The guy that prompted this thought of mine argued Preston has sucked this year and pointed to the sack column - perhaps I should have included that as why I went there, but I do strongly feel that most common fans judge him on that. He could put up 20 sacks and play absolutely absymmal otherwise than those 20 snaps and most would still argue he was great - I would not.
 

Dantés

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No, not at all. The guy that prompted this thought of mine argued Preston has sucked this year and pointed to the sack column - perhaps I should have included that as why I went there, but I do strongly feel that most common fans judge him on that. He could put up 20 sacks and play absolutely absymmal otherwise than those 20 snaps and most would still argue he was great - I would not.

Ok... when I brought up that Smith has disappointed me, I didn't even mention sacks and that's immediately went there anyways. You seem more preoccupied with it than anyone else I've been reading.
 

tynimiller

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Ok... when I brought up that Smith has disappointed me, I didn't even mention sacks and that's immediately went there anyways. You seem more preoccupied with it than anyone else I've been reading.

Ok. Even if I were, doesn't change he has greatly exceeded what I felt we were going to get from him - slice it or approach that however someone seems fit.

Clearly Smith wouldn't be in your three, who would you have?
 

Dantés

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Ok. Even if I were, doesn't change he has greatly exceeded what I felt we were going to get from him - slice it or approach that however someone seems fit.

Clearly Smith wouldn't be in your three, who would you have?

Campbell I think is the clearest one.

Stokes has been way better than I expected from a rookie corner picked that late in the first round.

After that, I would cheat and say all of the young OL plus the guys playing out of past position.
 

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Okay now I know the rules.
1. Aaron Rodgers- I did not think he would even be a GB Packer this year.
2. Aaron Jones. - I thought they would re-sign J. Williams not Jones to save money.
3. Daevante Adams- I thought that with Love at QB instead of Rodgers (see #1) his numbers would go down drastically.
 

tynimiller

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I'm so confused by your choices @Schultz relative to the players they are they're exceeding your expected production out of them?

When I said:
Ok. Even if I were, doesn't change he has greatly exceeded what I felt we were going to get from him - slice it or approach that however someone seems fit.

Clearly Smith wouldn't be in your three, who would you have?

I was meaning I felt Smith would under deliver across the board and be an average to sub-average edge/OLB in production.
 

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1. Cobb- signing with the Packers and still playing like he never left is amazing for someone who sees retirement in the horizon.
2. A-Rod - Putting his ego aside and playing football.
3. Crosby - As old as the guy looks he still has it when it counts. 20 years from now I can see him coming on the field in a wheel chair and still kicking 30yr goals.
 

Schultz

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1. My expectations for Rodgers was zero since I did not think he would be on the team either by trade, retiring or sitting out. He has exceeded those expectations.
2. My expectations for Jones were zero as I did not think they would re-sign him. He has exceeded those expectations.
3. My expectations for Adams were low since I thought Love would be throwing to him. He has exceeded those expectations.
 

Dantés

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1. My expectations for Rodgers was zero since I did not think he would be on the team either by trade, retiring or sitting out. He has exceeded those expectations.
2. My expectations for Jones were zero as I did not think they would re-sign him. He has exceeded those expectations.
3. My expectations for Adams were low since I thought Love would be throwing to him. He has exceeded those expectations.

What about once you knew what the 53 roster was?
 

tynimiller

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1. Cobb- signing with the Packers and still playing like he never left is amazing for someone who sees retirement in the horizon.
2. A-Rod - Putting his ego aside and playing football.
3. Crosby - As old as the guy looks he still has it when it counts. 20 years from now I can see him coming on the field in a wheel chair and still kicking 30yr goals.

Sorry, while subjective sure, putting Rodgers on the list of exceeding expecations is just ludacris. An Elite QB playing Elite is not exceeding anything.
 

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Sorry, while subjective sure, putting Rodgers on the list of exceeding expecations is just ludacris. An Elite QB playing Elite is not exceeding anything.
Well, considering what transpired during the off season and him being on a decline year on end with the exception of last year, he still exceeded my expectations so far. Now Brady is someone you just know will perform to his expectations year on year end. Quite frankly I don't have the confidence in Rod like I did many years ago.
 

mongoosev

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1. My expectations for Rodgers was zero since I did not think he would be on the team either by trade, retiring or sitting out. He has exceeded those expectations.
2. My expectations for Jones were zero as I did not think they would re-sign him. He has exceeded those expectations.
3. My expectations for Adams were low since I thought Love would be throwing to him. He has exceeded those expectations.
I totally disagree with Jones. I knew he would come out and play after that 48 million contract. The million dollar question is will he be able to run like that when he is 40yrs old, and will A Rod still give him the ball!
 

tynimiller

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Well, considering what transpired during the off season and him being on a decline year on end with the exception of last year, he still exceeded my expectations so far. Now Brady is someone you just know will perform to his expectations year on year end. Quite frankly I don't have the confidence in Rod like I did many years ago.

Decline last year??? Rodgers was literally the MVP and had arguably one of his best efficient seasons ever. You have got to be confused.

Last year his completion percentage was over 70% for the first time in his career in which he played the entire season (2007 he was still a backup and only threw 28 attempts) *this led the league in 2020
Last year he threw for 48 TDs - led the league with closest being 8 behind.
Last year his passer rating was 121.5 - nearly a full 10 points ahead of second place.
He tied for the lead with Mahomes with 1% pass interception percentage last year
His QBR of 84.40 led the league
His Passing TD % led the league at 9.1% - second place was 7.2%

Yeah he was terrible...
 
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