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Green Bay Packers: Three standouts from week one of training camp

Robin Adams

The Green Bay Packers, like all NFL teams, started training camp this week. Despite losing Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling during the offseason, the team is coming into the season with immense expectations. Both the offense and defense received offseason top-ten rankings from various outlets. In order for these rankings to prove true, though, several new players (and returning ones, for that matter) need to help make up for the loss of Adams and others who left via free agency. While several players showed out well during the first week of camp, three stood out above the rest.

Romeo Doubs has everyone talking, including Aaron Rodgers

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There are fewer players with higher expectations of his wide receivers than Aaron Rodgers. It can take years for a young receiver to earn the trust of Rodgers. In an interview with Jim Rome earlier this offseason, Allen Lazard said that the key to gaining Rodgers’ trust is being able to get 50-50 throws.

This is exactly what fourth-round pick Romeo Doubs has been doing in training camp:

Packers fans and players alike are raving about Doubs all over social media. During a media session following practice on Friday, fellow wide receiver Randall Cobb said of Doubs: “When it’s thrown up and it’s between him and the DB to make a play, that’s one thing you can’t coach. You can’t really teach that. You either have it or you don’t. And he has it. That’s special.”

Cobb is not the most high-profile Packers player hopping on the Doubs train either. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers has hopped aboard as well. In an interview with the NFL Network, Rodgers said of Doubs: “I was sitting with him at lunch yesterday and just really marveling–it’s surprising so many teams passed on him. Whatever reason it was, we all feel really good about Romeo.”

Related: NFL QB Rankings: Check our top-20 quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers snubbed?

Rashan Gary was getting to Rodgers, even without pads

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It is really tough to gauge a lot of defense during the first week of training camp. There are no pads, so a great deal of the violent, bone-crushing techniques pass rushers would normally use are not in use. Despite having over half of his typical pass-rushing moves taken away by not wearing pads, Rashan Gary has spent a great deal of time in the backfield with Aaron Rodgers:

Last season, Gary led the Green Bay Packers with 9.5 sacks and 47 hurries. He was thrust into starting duties due to Za’Darius Smith’s back injury. Now that Smith is gone and signed with the Minnesota Vikings, Gary is returning as a starting edge rusher. This year, for the first time, Gary is being called a “tone-setter” at practice. This shows that he is taking a leadership role on the defense, and it is being noticed. Gary is primed for a BIG year this season.

Related: 2022 NFL defense rankings: Best NFL defenses entering training camp

Rico Gafford is a cornerback again and is fighting for a job

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Rico Gafford is a newcomer Packers training camp. A cornerback in college, the Las Vegas Raiders converted him to wide receiver. After bouncing around from practice squad to practice squad around the NFL, Gafford finally landed with the Packers in January of this year. In May, the Packers announced they would be moving Gafford back to cornerback.

The move has proven to be effective for Gafford. He still faces an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster, though. Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas are among the best cornerbacks in the game, and Shemar Jean-Charles was a Packers’ draft pick last season at the position.

That all being said, Gafford has played well in camp thus far, knowing that is best chance to make the team is on special teams. That being said, he is not letting up when he gets chances to play on defense:

The position that is most intriguing for Gafford is as a kick returner, a position that the Packers have not had any consistency in since 1996. Gafford’s 40-yard dash was clocked at 4.22, making him an interesting candidate for the job. He took some snaps there during the first week of camp, but so did many others, including Aaron Jones. It will be interesting to see if Gafford makes the team this year, but if week one of training camp is any indication, he is on the right track.

Related: Green Bay Packers: Ranking concern level for each player on the PUP list