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Packers Morning Buzz: Green Bay 'underrated' in NFC North race

Stu Courtney
Packers News

Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.

We'll start with ESPN polling its panel of NFL experts on which teams have improved the most (other than Cleveland) via free agency and trades. Panelist Mike Clay went with Green Bay in a big way.

Clay writes:

The Packers were already underrated entering free agency, and they did a nice job filling some obvious voids. Preston Smith and Za'Darius Smith reinvigorate the pass rush, Adrian Amos is an impact player at safety, and Billy Turner offers an upgrade at guard. With a terrific quarterback, offensive line and defensive front, as well as some intriguing youth in the secondary, Green Bay is primed to jump back into the NFC North race.

Pete Dougherty writes that the Packers did the right thing in letting a pair of fan favorites depart as free agents:

David Bakhtiari was prolific Tuesday on Twitter expressing his sadness over the free-agency exits of veteran receiver Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews. The Packers' left tackle went into more detail Wednesday on Instagram:

In talking about Aaron Rodgers quoting from "The Shawshank Redemption" to bid farewell to Randall Cobb, Kyle Brandt of "Good Morning Football" broke out his Morgan Freeman impersonation:

Cobb's dazzling debut in 2011 gets the NFL Throwback treatment:

And here's a big play from Matthews' first season in 2009:

Former Packers and Wisconsin linebacker Vince Biegel is happy for his childhood hero:

Another day, another mock draft. This one, the first from The MMQB's Conor Orr, has the Packers adding another pass rusher at No. 12 (before Matthews' exit was even official) and a wide receiver at No. 30:

12. Green Bay: Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State 
Admittedly lazy here, but if Clay Matthews doesn’t come back at a lower price, the Packers need to find a way to start replicating some of that production—a job that will be shared among multiple players. Burns’s coverage stats are almost nonexistent; he was almost purely a pass rusher at Florida State. He does some super creative things at the line with a unique arsenal of moves and could be tricky for offensive tackles who aren’t technically sound (there’s a few in that division). Free agency definitely shows that Green Bay is prepping for life after Matthews already, but why not work in a long-term option like Burns, who could get some fun looks in Mike Pettine’s defense.

30. Green Bay (from New Orleans): N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State 
Anticipating the Rams and Patriots up next, the run on first-round wide receivers continues. The Athletic reported earlier this year that GM Brian Gutekunst was there in-person for one of Harry’s best games of the year. It would be hard to imagine a new regime takes shape without pacifying Aaron Rodgers with some new weapons.

You can check out the entire mock draft here:

Count Pro Football Focus among those who consider the Packers' acquisition of former Bears safety Adrian Amos one of the most underrated free-agency signings:

Adrian Amos to the Green Bay Packers

The deal: 4 years, $36 million, $12 million guaranteed

Why it’s underrated: While much of the safety market corrected itself, there just wasn’t enough interest with all the talent on the market, and a few slipped through the cracks. Amos’ deal didn’t come close to matching his grading over the past couple of seasons as he’s been one of the most sound box safeties in the game over that span, earning top-10 coverage grades each season. Traditional statistics may not get you too excited about Amos, but he’s a massive upgrade for Green Bay.

You can find PFF's complete list of overrates and underrated signings here:

And finally: More particulars on that tricky lottery for Packers tickets:

 

Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or scourtney@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt