PFF Player Ratings Illustrate Worst Packers Blunder Since King/Watt

Who’s the best center in the NFL? Certainly not Josh Myers, the Green Bay Packers’ second-round pick in 2021.
Josh Myers has struggled in three seasons with the Packers.
Josh Myers has struggled in three seasons with the Packers. / Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – April 27, 2017, will be a day that will live in infamy. Well, Green Bay Packers draft infamy.

The late Ted Thompson built a perennial championship contender during his long run as Packers general manager by routinely assembling solid draft classes. But during the first round of the 2017 draft, Thompson traded out of the first round. In a swap with the Cleveland Browns, he gave up the 29th overall selection for No. 33 of the second round and No. 108 of the fourth round.

With a big need to add a pass rusher, Thompson could have drafted Wisconsin native and University of Wisconsin star T.J. Watt at No. 29. Instead, Thompson filled an even bigger need at No. 33 by selecting cornerback Kevin King.

You know the rest of the story. In seven seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Watt has 96.5 sacks. He’s the three-time NFL sack king, including last year, when he had 19.

King? Well, you know that story, too. He was injured frequently and a playmaker infrequently. After sitting out the last two seasons, the 29-year-old is attempting a comeback with the Atlanta Falcons. 

How’s this for astounding?: Watt, who is not paid to play coverage, has seven interceptions and 45 passes defensed in his career. King, who is paid to play coverage, has seven interceptions and 30 passes defensed in his career.

April 30, 2021, will live in Packers draft infamy, as well.

In the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Packers had a huge hole at center. The entire center board was available to general manager Brian Gutekunst. He could have selected Creed Humphrey, who generally was regarded as the top center in the draft as an All-American with elite testing numbers. Instead, at No. 62 overall, Gutekunst selected Josh Myers. Humphrey went to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 63.

In its latest positional rankings, Pro Football Focus listed the top 32 centers. Humphrey is No. 1; Myers is No. 27.

Humphrey was selected to the All-Rookie team in 2021, was second-team All-Pro in 2022 and a Pro Bowler in 2022 and 2023. Myers, on the other hand, is playing for his career as he enters the 2024 season.

“Humphrey surpassed Jason Kelce as the game’s best center in our 2023 rankings, and with Kelce now retired, Humphrey is the clear best center in the NFL,” wrote PFF’s Thomas Valentine.

Myers is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Among all centers with any substantial experience entering the season, Myers is at the bottom of the rankings.

Humphrey has started all 51 games in three seasons. According to PFF, he’s allowed five sacks and 44 total pressures. Myers has started 40 games in three seasons, including all 34 the past two years. PFF charged him with eight sacks and 35 total pressures.

This will be a make-or-break season for Myers, who is entering his final season under contract. While the coaches said they were satisfied by his play, Myers went from three sacks and 13 total pressures in 2022 to five sacks and 28 total pressures in 2023, according to PFF.

“I think if I start playing the ‘What if?’ game and all that stuff, I’ll end up getting in my own head and not playing as well,” Myers said recently. “So, I can tell you, everybody’s going to keep talking. I’m sure there will be more questions and I’ll get questioned more and I’m going to continue to not care, you know what I mean? I’m just going to do my thing and show up every day and play the way I play and the way the cards fall is the way the cards fall.”

The Packers used a fifth-round pick on Duke center Jacob Monk in this year’s draft, but Myers took the first-team reps throughout the offseason.

“Just to continue to grow, just like our expectations for everybody,” is offensive line coach Luke Butkus’ desire for Myers. “Every day, get better. That’s where Josh excelled last year. He did get better as the year went on and he had command of this offense and took charge, was a little bit more vocal toward the end in commanding this offense. So, what do we need from him? Just to get better every single day. Keep improving.”

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Bill Huber

BILL HUBER

Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: packwriter2002@yahoo.com History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: https://twitter.com/BillHuberNFL Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and PackerReport.com. In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.