Two Packers Selected to PFF’s All-Breakout Team

The Green Bay Packers feature one of the best young rosters in the NFL. Two players made PFF’s All-Breakout Team. Neither of them were receivers.
Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Karl Brooks sacks Justin Fields during last year's victory over the Bears.
Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Karl Brooks sacks Justin Fields during last year's victory over the Bears. / Mark Hoffman / USA TODAY NETWORK
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers, who qualified for the playoffs last season with the youngest roster in the NFL, look like they’re ready to break out for another sustained run as Super Bowl contenders. Two of their many ascending players who will lead that charge were selected to Pro Football Focus’ All-Breakout Team.

One was Luke Musgrave, the lone tight end on the squad.

“You could make the case here for either second-year Packers tight end,” wrote PFF’s Gordon McGuinness of Musgrave, a second-round pick last year, and Tucker Kraft, a third-round selection last year. “Musgrave dropped just one of the 41 catchable passes thrown his way in 2023 and finished his rookie season with three straight 70.0-plus PFF receiving grades.”

Even while missing six games with a lacerated spleen, Musgrave’s 34 catches tied Bubba Franks franchise rookie record for a tight end. He added six receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown in the playoffs.

Musgrave was the fourth tight end selected in a powerful class. He finished third in receptions, fourth with 352 yards and sixth with 1.28 yards per route.

After a strong rookie season, Musgrave didn’t have any definitive goals for himself in Year 2.

“I want to be the best I can be,” he said at the end of minicamp on Wednesday. “I think I shine through in the pass game a little bit more than I do in the run game, but I just want to be the best I can be and help the offense.”

If Musgrave can develop into even a decent threat after the catch, look out, because his size and speed have made him a quality downfield threat.

The other was Karl Brooks, who was joined by the Steelers’ Keanu Benton as the interior defenders.

“If there is a question about Brooks’ play heading into his second NFL season, it’s whether he can be a full-time player or if he is simply more of a pass-rushing specialist,” McGuinness wrote. “However, with how good he was in that role as a rookie, that may not matter. He had seven games in 2023 with a PFF pass-rushing grade above 70.0.”

Last year, the Packers used a fourth-round pick on Colby Wooden and a sixth-round pick on Brooks. It was Brooks who quickly established himself as an impact player. A havoc-creating edge defender at Bowling Green, Brooks tied first-round pick Lukas Van Ness for fourth on the team with four sacks. He also broke up four passes – as many as safeties Jonathan Owens and Darnell Savage combined.

“You bring a horse to water, they’ve got to bend down to drink, also. They got to be receptive. They got to want it,” defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich said of Brooks and Van Ness.

“The great thing about those guys that we’re talking about in the room, that’s their mentality. That’s who they are every day. They’re going to show up here every day and ‘Rebs, what are we doing today? How are we working? How are we getting better?’ And that’s, to me, why you’re going to see the better jump from Year 1 to Year 2.”

Last year, 13 interior defenders played at least 100 pass-rushing snaps. From that group, Brooks was fifth in pressures and fifth in pass-rush win rate, according to PFF.

“He’s explosive, got all the tools in the world, and it’s good to have him on our defensive line,” Kenny Clark said.

The rest of the team included a pair of NFC North defensive backs. The receivers who beat out Green Bay’s Jayden Reed and Dontayvion Wicks were the Cardinals’ Michael Wilson (healthy Kyler Murray), the Bills’ Khalil Shakir (helping fill the void created by the trade of Stefon Diggs) and the Saints’ Rashid Shaheed.

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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.