The most important player on the Green Bay Packers roster is Aaron Rodgers. While some teams can sustain the loss of their starting quarterback, the 2013 season is proof that the Packers are probably a four win team if Rodgers goes down. As important as Rodgers is to the Packers success, there are other players who the Packers cannot afford to have down seasons.
As with Rodgers, the Packers offensive dynamic changed when Nelson missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. The receivers were unable to create separation, and the passing game looked out of whack. More pressure was put on Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, who failed to put up numbers similar to 2014. Fast forward to last season, where Nelson was healthy again, and the Packers offense regained its flow. Rodgers and Nelson have a chemistry that only a few quarterback-receiver combos come close to having. Nelson’s health is important for the Packers to be contenders in the NFC.
In today’s NFL, there are four “must have” positions for a team to be success: a quarterback, someone to protect to the quarterback, someone to rush the quarterback, and someone to intercept the quarterback. While the Packers are still trying to perfect the last two, the first two of those they seem to have a hold of. Bakhtiari has been the glue of the offensive line and has done a great job of protecting Rodgers’ blind side. To keep a quarterback upright requires and excellent left tackle. That is what Bakhtiari is to the Packers.
Perhaps the most undervalued position in all of professional sports is the kicker. Kickers are often not noticed until they are needed in crunch time. If they succeed, like Adam Vinatieri, they go down in history as a great clutch player. But if they miss, as in the case of Blair Walsh, they may be unable to find level ground again. Crosby falls into both of these categories. He went through a rough stretch like Walsh and was on the verge of losing his job. But since that rough stretch, he has been deadly in crunch time, including in the playoffs. Many games nowadays come down to extra points and field goals. Crosby’s continuous success will be of great value to the Packers in those late game situations.