Packers’ 10 best players on defense from 2022 season

The Green Bay Packers finished 17th in points allowed and 17th in yards allowed during the 2022 season, a disappointing result considering all the investment into players and expectations for the group overall entering the year.

At Pro Football Focus, the Packers were the 21st ranked defense by overall grade, and strong coverage and pass-rush grades couldn’t overcome the issues against the run and tackling.

Here are the Packers’ 10 best players on defense from the 2022 season.

For the flipside, here are the 10 best players on offense.

OLB Rashan Gary

Wis.MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

PFF grade: 82.9
Position rank: No. 17

Gary produced 38 pressures and 25 stops in just nine games. His pass-rush win rate was 20.9, and he led all edge rushers in pass-rush productivity on “true pass sets.” Without the season-ending injury in Detroit, Gary would have finished 2022 as one of the most productive and disruptive edge rushers in football.

CB Jaire Alexander

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

PFF grade: 80.3
Position rank: No. 8

Alexander intercepted five passes, the second most among cornerbacks. He added 17 stops and 11 forced incompletions, and quarterbacks had a passer rating of 66.2 when targeting him in coverage.

S Rudy Ford

PFF grade: 77.7
Position rank: No. 12

A pleasant surprise for the Packers defense. Ford intercepted three passes and finished with the sixth-highest coverage grade among safeties. Who expected Ford to play almost 500 snaps?

LB De'Vondre Campbell

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

PFF grade: 74.2
Position rank: No. 19

Campbell missed 11 tackles (4 in 2021) and created just 27 stops (55 in 2021). He was once again strong in coverage and solid overall, but his regression against the run and as a tackler led to a somewhat disappointing second season in Green Bay.

CB Rasul Douglas

Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

PFF grade: 71.1
Position rank: No. 35

Douglas produced 32 stops, the third-most among cornerbacks, and added four interceptions after picking off five last season. He gave up four touchdown passes and over 536 receiving yards, but quarterbacks only had a 84.0 passer rating when targeting him. Seven penalties held down his overall grade.

DL Devonte Wyatt

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

PFF grade: 69.9
Position rank: No. 31

Among rookie defensive linemen with at least 200 snaps played, Wyatt finished second in overall grade and first in pass-rushing grade. Why didn’t he play more snaps earlier in the season? Good question. The rookie finished with eight pressures and five stops.

DL Kenny Clark

(AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

PFF grade: 66.4
Position rank: No. 44

Clark finished 11th among defensive linemen with 45 pressures, but his 18 stops were his lowest since his rookie year. He averaged over 30 over the last five years. Clark also produced the lowest run-defense grade of his career in 2022.

OLB Preston Smith

Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

PFF grade: 66.4
Position rank: No. 59

Smith delivered 42 pressures, including 13 hits. and his 31 stops led all Packers edge defenders. He wasn’t as efficient as a pass-rusher, and his run defense grade regressed sharply.

CB Keisean Nixon

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

PFF grade: 63.9
Position rank: No. 66

Nixon was the primary slot corner in six games. He didn’t allow a touchdown pass, committed only one penalty and gave up a passer rating of 83.6, all while intercepting one pass and forcing a fumble.

DL Jarran Reed

Bills quarterback Josh Allen hurries his throw as he is pressured by the Packers’ Jarran Reed.

PFF grade: 61.9
Position rank: No. 62

Reed delivered 33 pressures and 28 stops over 705 snaps. His 11 quarterback hits ranked 10th among defensive linemen. His 28 stops ranked 21st and led the Packers defensive line.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire