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  • Buy or Sell: Green Bay Packers Defense

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    The Green Bay Packers are in a small window to obtain the elusive NFL title with Aaron Rodgers. The defense was good in 2021 but needs that next step now. Who are the Packers’ defensive Buy/Sell candidates to get the job done?


    Buy

    Quay Walker, LB

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    In the 2021 season, the Green Bay Packers’ defense ranked 13th in total points allowed, 11th in rushing yards allowed, and 10th in passing yards allowed. Those stats were good, but with the small window at the end of Aaron Rodgers‘ career, the Packers’ defense will need to take that next step.

    Enter their 2022, round one selection, Quay Walker. Walker was the 22nd overall pick and the first linebacker selected. He was also a leader on the Georgia Bulldogs’ 2021 national championship defense. It seems that the Packers will be moving to a more ball control and tough defense approach in 2022.

    The Packers had three defensive players in last year’s top 100 in my league’s scoring — a linebacker in the top 10, a cornerback at #83, and a safety at #97.

    Instant Plug-and-Play IDP Scoring Machine.

    Walker played for the Bulldogs beginning with his true freshman year. He had six total tackles in his three games played as a freshman. As a sophomore, Walker started to see the field more often. He recorded 23 total tackles (12 solos), 3.5 tackles for a loss, and 2.5 sacks in 11 games.

    Walker played in 10 games as a junior and delivered 43 tackles (26 solos), 2 tackles for a loss, and 1 sack. His senior year in 2021 showed more diversity in his play as he dropped into coverage a bit.

    As a senior, Walker had 65 tackles (37 solos), 5.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 25 QB pressures, 3 passes defended, and a fumble recovery. In the National Championship semi-final against the Michigan Wolverines, Walker had six more tackles — three solos — in their 34-11 win.

    For the National Championship win over Alabama, he led the Bulldogs with seven solo tackles. Add in another tackle assist and a tackle for a loss, and you have a dominating performance on the biggest stage.

    Since his name is not Devin Lloyd, Nakobe Dean, Aidan Hutchinson, Kayvon Thibodeaux, or Kyle Hamilton, you may be able to buy him at a discount. There are a lot of tackles to be had in Green Bay, and Walker will be the guy to snatch them up. The three-down linebacker is the buy of the Packers’ defense. Do it sooner rather than later.

    Sell

    De’Vondre Campbell, LB

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    De’Vondre Campbell was a fourth-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons. After four years with the Falcons, he signed a one-year deal for $6 million with the Arizona Cardinals. It did not work out as planned, so Campbell then signed a one-year deal for $2 million with Green Bay. Last year’s performance rewarded him with a five-year, $50 million deal. The soon-to-be 29-year-old LB has made it.

    Let’s look at his first four years with the Falcons. Campbell played both inside and outside in the Falcon’s alignment. As a rookie, he played mainly outside and delivered 48 tackles (35 solos), 5 tackles for a loss, 7 passes defended, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble in 11 games played.

    After starting 10 games as a rookie, Campbell started all 16 in his second year. In those starts, he was moved mainly inside and produced 92 tackles (61 solos), 3 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 4 passes defended, and a forced fumble.

    During 2018, Campbell stayed inside and delivered 94 tackles (63 solos), 4 tackles for a loss, and 1.5 sacks in 13 starts. In his final year with the Falcons, 2019, he produced his second-best season tackle total. Staying inside, he had 129 tackles (75 solos), 6 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 5 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

    The NFL is Still Not Sold on Campbell.

    Campbell became a free agent after the 2019 season and was only able to get a one-year deal with the Cardinals. He delivered in his single season with 99 tackles (69 solos), 7 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 3 passes defended, and a forced fumble.

    It was not enough to get him another contract in Arizona. Campbell was only able to secure another one-year deal, this time with the Packers. His yearly salary dropped from $6 million to $2 million.

    How did Campbell react to this wake-up to reality? The best season in his career. Campbell delivered 146 tackles (102 solos), 6 tackles for a loss, 2 sacks, 5 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.

    Why would he be on the sell list after this incredible year? He had zero competition for defensive stats from his Packer teammates. His next closest linebacker in tackles had just over half of the tackles that Campbell delivered. Krys Barnes produced just 81 tackles with 58 being solo. Next on the linebacker list was Rashan Gary with 47 tackles of which 27 were solo. Campbell will have real competition now with the addition of Walker to the LB room.

    Will Campbell grow or regress in his second year with the Packers?

    I expect Campbell to return to his normal 100 tackles with 65 solos. That will get him into the 20-24 ranked LBs. His price is sky-high after last year’s top-four LB-scoring finish. Cash-out now with the increased perceived value, and sell him before the others realize how much Walker will hurt Campbell’s numbers.


    Thank you for checking out the latest article in the Buy/Sell/Keep series! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @OldMan_FF and @IDPGuys (we have offense, too), and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

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