Youthful starters were very prominent for the Packers’ defense in 2015, and in 2016, the Packers’ defense will once again be a juvenile defense.
Rookies like Jake Ryan, 24, and Damarious Randall, 23, gained starting positions on the Packers’ roster in 2015; many second and third year players also added depth to the blossoming defense.
Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, 23, was a second-year player in 2015, yet his veteran-like play allowed him to accumulate 100 total tackles and 2 interceptions in the regular season.
Another young Packer defender who made a large impact was CB Quinten Rollins.
Rollins, who will turn 24 on Friday, made key plays throughout the season, including one pick six on Rams’ QB Nick Foles.
Young studs have been what seems to be Mike McCarthy and Dom Capers’ focus for the past few years, placing many younger guys in key positions rather than veterans.
Thus far it has seemed to pay off and young players like Clinton Dix, Ryan, Randall and Rollins, are gaining more opportunities to develop because of it.
Now in 2016, the Packers defense will turn to 2016 drafted defenders like Kenny Clark, Kyler Fackrell, Blake Martinez and Dean Lowry to keep the strong, youthful defense going.
Both Fackrell and Martinez received first team reps, and they both look like intriguing prospects thus far.
Fackrell, 24, is a quick-twitched pass rusher. With a 6’5 frame, he draws many similarities to Julius Peppers and is a likely replacement for the aging veteran upon his retirement.
Martinez was a very solid inside linebacker for Stanford; with 138 total tackles in 2015, Martinez has great on-field awareness. Although fairly undersized for an inside linebacker, his frame is almost a match to that of Luke Kuechly’s.
Youth talent has been the Packers’ mindset for many years, through it they have remained to be a playoff contender year after year. With the youth talent that they have currently, It is easy to see that the Packers will remain to be dangerous for many years to come.