A Pre-Draft Look At Our Defensive Line

Part 2 in a position-by-position analysis of where the Packers stand going into the draft.

Starters
Mike Daniels is clearly the first guy to think of when you start listing starters. He sets the tone for the entire defensive and is an ill-tempered wolverine at the snap. Second-year man (and very young second year man at that – he’ll still be just 21 when the regular season begin) Kenny Clark figures to start at nose tackle. This may have been a contested position, but fellow nose tackle Letroy Guion will miss the first four games of the year for a PED suspension (he’d better be good when he comes back, otherwise doing all those roids was a waste). The third spot could go to Dean Lowry, a solid blue collar end in the mold of John Jurkovich, or versatile veteran (and donut baron) Ricky Jean Francois. RJF has been around and can play all positions on the line.

Backups
When you’re looking at Clark, Lowry, Guion, and RJF as potential starters, the cupboard gets kind of bare for backups. Brian Price is a big young first year player who spent last year mostly on the practice squad and unemployment line. He was active for the week 3 game against the Lions, but had a goose egg on the stat sheet. Christian Ringo is a restricted rights free agent who has done more off the field than on on it. Both of these guys have the size to play the position and have shown a flash here and there in the preseason, but at this point, can’t be counted on for meaningful reps in a game situation. Ego Ferguson was an intriguing pickup, but the former second round pick who’d missed the last 27 games with injuries shockingly didn’t pass his physical, keeping the depth light.

Talent on Roster
A stud, a suspension, a couple developing youngsters, a veteran roleplayer, and a pair of total unknowns. That’s about sums it up. It’s a good start, but if we go into camp like this, I won’t consider it a good thing.

Draft Need
High – It would be really nice to get another Mike Daniels level of impact player up front. If he came in the 4th round like Daniels did, that would be great. With Peppers and Datone Jones gone, the defense looks less likely to use the elephant position to eat up d-line snaps. That means that we’ll actually need defensive linemen to play defensive line (potentially in a much different way than before). Picking up a three position vet like RJF gives the team flexibility, but it’s not the answer to everything. The Packers would probably also like the flexibility to be finished with Letroy Guion and his nonsense (you know, just in case). He’s a good player, but he’s got to be d#mn close to that last strike. For a number of reasons, the Packers could use d-line help in the draft.

 

Other parts in the series
Part 1: Quarterbacks
Part 3: Wide Receivers
Part 4: Cornerbacks
Part 5: Tight Ends
Part 6: Running Backs
Part 7: Linebackers
Part 8: Offensive Line
Part 9: Safeties
Part 10: Specialists

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