BJ Raji Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card All Green Bay Packers All the Time
B.J. Raji
B.J. Raji

1) Introduction:  BJ Raji was once held in the same high esteem as Clay Matthews, a defensive player that the Packers could build the next decade around.  Add to that a little bit of flair moonlighting as a jumbo full back, a dance that got him a commercial with Aaron Rodgers and you had the recipe for a fan favorite.  However, Raji has quickly fallen out of favor, perhaps topped by the rumor that Raji rejected a contract extension worth $8 million annually in favor of testing free agency; a grain of salt needs to be taken with this number as annual salary says nothing most importantly about guaranteed money and could be tied heavily to incentives but Raji took a big risk by betting on himself in 2013.  Now that 2013 has come and gone and $8 million with all strings attached probably looks like a good deal, what is in future of the Packers 1st pick in 2009?

2) Profile:

Busari J Raji

  • Age: 27
  • Born: 7/11/1986 in Zephyrhills, FL
  • Height: 6’2″
  • Weight: 337
  • College: Boston College
  • Rookie Year: 2009
  • NFL Experience: 5

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  High.  Raji was the 7th best 3-4 defensive end in 2012 according to ProFootballFocus and while Raji didn’t have outstanding statistics, most notably recording 0 sacks in 2012, Raji was still the best defensive linemen for the Packers, especially against the run.  Many fans were expecting Raji to be a candidate for a mid-season extension in 2012, much like fellow 2009 1st round draft pick Clay Matthews but instead the Packers allowed Raji to finish out his contract with Raji trying to maximize his next contract with some great play.  Again while impressive number probably were never in Raji’s cards, a couple dominating games with Raji splitting double teams and getting a couple sacks was not out of the question if Raji returned to 2010 form.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Raji’s 2013 season as a whole can be considered a lowlight; Raji ranked second to last in ProFootballFocus’s 3-4 defensive end metrics and was clearly not doing much despite recording 666 snaps.  Perhaps most intriguing was the fact that Raji had a complete performance reversal, going from one of the best run defenders in 2012 to the worst in the league. Raji also played 123 snaps at nose tackle and wasn’t much better there, ranking 107 out of 148 (he did not qualify as a nose tackle in PFF due to low snap count).  Raji again did not record a sack, and while 3-4 defensive ends aren’t really expected to post double digits sack numbers (FYI most JJ Watts’ sacks come from a more traditional 4-3 DT position), 2-3 sacks should be completely expected; the only two worse 3-4 DEs (PIT Ziggy Hood and SD Kendall Reyes) recorded 3 and 5 sacks in 2013 respectively.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Poor.  Raji was a liability when on the field and unfortunately he was on the field a lot.  Raji’s snap counts have been steadily declining since 2010, which hit a ludicrous 1,092 snaps, with the idea that a more fresh Raji would equate to a more explosive player and lengthen his career.  Ironically each year his snap count has gotten smaller but Raji has actually performed worse, with his 2012 season being his only good year outside the Packers 2010 Super Bowl season.  It’s quite possible that Raji had already given up on resigning with the Packers and was just trying to get out of the 3-4 system, but it’s unlikely that such a poor performance will garner him much attention of 4-3 defensive teams after this year.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Raji played 46 snaps in the wildcard game, and like the rest of the defense didn’t do all that well against the 49ers offense, recording 2 tackles and 1 run stop.

Season Report Card:

(F) Level of expectations met during the season

(F) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(D) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade:  F+


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s


86 thoughts on “BJ Raji Green Bay Packers 2013 Evaluation and Report Card

  1. I have not been a Raji fan, but this grade seems harsh. Raji has always confused me. No complaints even when playing way too many snaps or with the position change. I concluded that he has tremendous talent but either doesn’t like football or has absolutely no nasty streak. I would give him a D, but then my expectation was that he would be only a bit above average.

    1. It’s not harsh. Raji had one good game this year against Chicago. In every other game he didn’t make a single play. I can’t help but feel like Josh Boyd had more impact than him, therefore making Raji that much more expendable IMO.

    2. Anyone that saw Raji play in his only Pro Bowl appearance knows the guy is an absolute D*O*G. He is in it for a paycheck only. No heart whatsoever. He’s so fat and short-armed he gets outreached by dinosaurs at the dinner table. I hear he has become a Type 2 diabetic as well. He has become another AJ Hawk – sucking in big bucks and never gets hurt because he never makes a play – plays it safe at all times. If TT re-signs this guy it will be another albatross around the neck of this so-called defense. Did anyone of you watch the SB? Was it nice to see that defense is still played in some NFL cities? It’s a shame GB isn’t one opf them under TT the ass clown. Vince is rolling over in his grave. GET ME A GM THAT CAN BUILD A DEFENSE!!! Our defense has been the laughing stock of the NFL for a decade under this ass clown and it only continues to get worse. How can that be despite spending all of our draft picks on defense the last three years?! A blind ass clown could draft better than this ass clown.

      1. Your response is so spot on. T.T. time has come and gone. It’s too bad we lost the best GM in football to Seattle. To say our defense is soft is an understatement. Corners that are afraid to tackle. Safety that is overpaid and ineffective. B.J. Blobby who is lazy and ineffectual. T.T. is enamored with his own picks and over pays to keep them in Green Bay. I don’t see us winning another Super Bowl with this crew. The brain drain in the scouting department is complete.

      2. Archie when it comes to fat blob Raji you are 100% correct TT is an assclown. Lets take the worst guy on our defense and offer him 8 million. Yes TT is an assclown.

      3. Archie,

        I don’t have a problem with pretty much any opinion – I take them for what they are. However, HOW those opinions are expressed mean more to me than the content of the opinion itself. It’s high time for you to cut out the ass clown comments and express yourself in a more civilized manner. I’m asking nicely…


    3. Being forced to play out of position at DE is the big problem IMO. He’s not a DE, he’s a damn NT. Capers never should have moved Raji from NT. Raji played NT like a stud but Capers outsmarted himself and ruined Raji IMO.

      1. I’m not sure where this idea that Raji was a stud NT came from. Raji was switched to 3-4 DE as a rookie and has never really played NT other than as a replacement for Pickett. Part of the reason might be that when Pickett and Raji were the two best defensive linemen on the team it made the most sense to have both of them on the field, hence one had to play DE (and it sure wasn’t going to be Pickett), but Raji has never been all that good at NT. He was drafted there but certainly hasn’t been a stud there.

        1. The entire ’10 season Raji played NT. What SB did you watch the Packers win? RAJI had like 7sacks and the INT for a TD vs bears playing NT that whole year!

          1. Correct Stroh. I think the $8mil that was offered to Raji is based on moving him back to NT, where he did play well. GoPack!

          2. My mistake, I had forgotten about 2010. But keep in mind outside 2010, Raji has been terrible at NT, his rookie year he mostly played at DE, in 2010 like you mentioned he played well at NT, in 2011 he played terribly mainly at NT, in 2012 he played mostly at DE and when in at NT was terrible and in 2013 he played barely at NT and was terrible but was also terrible at DE.

            1. Your right as a rookie and from ’11 since he’s been at DE. ’10 he was outstanding at NT tho. Never could figure why they switched Raji and Pickett. Made no sense give how well Raji pleyed NT.

          3. Stroh, you’re right in saying that Raji would make a much better NT than DE.
            Raji just hasn’t got the length to be effective at DE, and it showed this year.
            In 2011 he did show some ability to rush the QB from sub packages but played far too many saps and by season’s end was completely worn out and ineffective.

            The biggest question here is Raji’s worth to the Packers and in free agency.
            Men of his size and athletic ability are not easy to come by.
            I’m sure there are plenty of GM’s who will be willing to gamble $8M+ contact for Raji based on potential alone.

            I’m going to get a lot of hate for this, but I think there is an outside chance TT might place the franchise tag on him.
            Worst case, TT gets an expensive one year rental until a possible draft pick develops.
            The upside is Raji getting his 2010 form back. (Yeah I know I’m dreaming).
            The other possibility is tagging & trading, possibly getting a 3rd round pick in return. (I’m not on drugs)

            1. The franchise tag is a possibility. The franchise number for a DT/NT is about 8.4M IIRC. The 8M offer to Raji was a shade below the franchise designation, which would be in line w/ Raji’s worth in FA IMO. If Raji is franchised he’s got to be the starting NT. Pickett, if he comes back would be strictly the backup NT.

              IMO Raji has quite a bit more value league wide than Packer fans give him credit for, which makes sense in his reasoning for initially turning down 8M per.

          1. If he loses all credibility for not knowing that, what does say about someone who always has more thumbs down than ups? At least he’s smart enough to become a writer here unlike you.

            But seriously Hobbes, I’m on your side but fact check first dude. Stroh DOES have a point here. He may have been terrible outside of 2010, but that year proved that the talent is there, IMO.

            1. Like writing on the site is some kinda award? Be more than happy to write some articles haven’t been asked. Either way I don’t think its an award.

              1. It shows credibility. Thomas Hobbes deserves credibility because he’s a recognized writer. I never said anything about an award. You think he has absolutely no credibility because he made one mistake. One lousy mistake.

                God why do I bother…

              2. I don’t see how writing on this or any other blog is some privilege. Personally I don’t find any of the writers here or on other blogs to be any more knowledgeable than myself or a few other commenters.

                I don’t mean that to sound conceited, but just happens to be a truth IMO. Its not a knock of Jersey Al or his site or any other site for that matter. When it comes down to it they’re just fans like the rest of us.

      2. Raji is out of position as a NT, he lacks the skill to play NT effectively. He does not anchor well vs. the double team, and that’s the #1 attribute of the NT.

        Raji may not be a DE, but he’s certainly no NT. He lacks the heart and the sacrifice as well as the skill.

        Raji is, IMO, clearly a 4-3 DT. He is wasted at 3-4 NT because his biggest asset is explosion and short area burst. He lacks, for his size, top tier strength, which is needed at nose.

        Um, and let’s not forget something about Raji’s ‘great’ 2010 performance- he had the pleasure of playing between bookends Pickett AND Cullen Jenkins, with Matthews coming off the edge.

        Raji will probably be a better player elsewhere, I think he has talent, but it’s NOT going to be playing NT, it’ll be in a 4-3 scheme where his size-to-burst ratio will give offensive lines issues as they won’t be able to double him as frequently.

  2. It seems like no one has an answer here. He went from looking like an all-pro to literally being one of the worst defensive linemen in the league. And in a contract year too.

    He might want to play in a 4-3, but is really enough to explain playing as bad as he has and turning down 8 mil?

    Just, what happened here? I’m at a loss.

      1. Archie just made a good point. He’s becoming A.J. Hawk. Just playing it safe to keep himself from injury and just role in the big bucks. This is VERY possible now that I think of it.

  3. I am ok if we cut him loose. Use the money elsewhere. Sign Picket to a 1 year deal for somewhere around $1.5M to show the young D linemen how to be a pro. — I sense that we will be picking another D lineman in round 1 or 2. GoPack!

  4. He claims to be doing exactly what he’s asked to do in a DC defense i.e., grab the G and hold on to him. He obviously wants out of GB and played it safe this year so as not to get injured. Another GBP FA with no use for TT the ass clown. It seems like we have one or two every year. Raji could have been M Crabtree or M Oher. Instead we got the tin man i.e., no heart. Simila rto Justin Harrell and AJ Hawk. TT the ass clown sure can pick’em. Neal, Perry and Jones next up for early departures from GB. How’s the draft & develop working out for our defense? Cullen Jenkins says it sucks. Desmond Bishop too. Ditto Charles Woodson. It’s as though TT is sabotage our defense at every turn – if a player is a defensive leader – get rid of him – if he’s soft – keep him around and give him a big 2nd contract. How anyone can support TT and call themselves a Packer fan is beyond me. The guy deserves to be run out of town on a pole. What an ass clown!

      1. Really. Time to block the inconsiderate posters. They can’t show respect for opposing opinions and continue to use childish name calling, and so the comment section is not even an interesting place anymore. I seldom read it.
        I appreciate the writers however. Thanks for these articles.

    1. So I guess you think Ted is an ass-clown? How about mixing a little creativity into your vitriol, just for entertainment’s sake?

      We get it – you don’t like Ted. Now please stop posting that in the comment section of every article.

      Weather forecast – TT is an ass-clown.
      Super Bowl predictions – TT is an ass-clown.
      Eddie Lacy wins ROTY – TT is an ass-clown.
      ObamaCare still struggling – TT is an ass-clown.

      Starting to understand?

    2. I don’t understand the rationale that Raji wants to get out of Green Bay, hence he tanks the season. If Raji really wanted to get out of Green Bay the most effective way to do it would be to price yourself out of Thompson’s price point. If Raji had played at a all-pro level, Thompson would have never been able to match other suitors. Now, he’ll be lucky to get any serious offers , especially not on a decent team.

      1. More to the point, Thomas, if Raji wants out of Green Bay, all he has to do is turn down GB’s offers and go elsewhere.

        I guess they could tag him; but tanking your season to keep a team from tagging you would ultimately just hurt your value.

  5. How do you rely on draft and develop when you either miss on players time and time again or they don’t ever realize their full potential. Did you see how The Seahawks D flies around? Where is the fire from our players and coaches? I feel bad for Rodgers being stuck in this clown show in the prime of his career. What a waste!

    1. After our one-and-done in the playoffs, one of the spins on our defense’s poor performance this season was that the players are too young and Capers’ system is too complicated for them. The other spin was that our defensive players were generally not good enough. If TT keeps drafting them like he has been, and if Capers’ (and his staff) keep coaching them like he has been, the result is going to be painfully similar to what we’ve been seeing lately. Something in the front office and/or coaching staff has to give, or we can write off 2014, too.

    2. How do you not realize that even the best GMs miss on draft picks? No GM is even close to 75% accurate and the further down you get in the draft the harder it is predict performance.

      Also, do you think Dan Marino’s career was a complete waste because he never won a Super Bowl. Wasting a Rodgers career would be playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

      1. But we are always being told that Thompson IS one of the best GMs. And if you are going to forego free agency and exclusively use the draft, you can’t miss on as many picks as TT has in recent years.

        With the exception of Cobb and Daniels, most of the picks from 2010,11 & 12 drafts have either been bad, or spent half of their careers on IR.

        And I don’t think Rodgers playing for the Jaguars would be a wasting his career, because if Rodgers was the Jags QB they would be a playoff team.

  6. James David you need to back off the kool aid! Archie is simply keeping it real. A.J. Hawk is an embarrassment! Matthews is a china doll. Look at the San Fran linebackers in comparison. You can’t handle the truth.

    1. Matt, it’s not Kool Aid drinking that causes people to be sick of Archie, its the nature of his post every time he is on this site….. its the exact same post over and over without any consideration of the topic at hand. GoPack!

      1. By now, I just skip the “ass-clown” epitaphs and read on. Archie is a fan, he cares about the Packers. I think his posts serve a purpose to counter-balance some of the homerism of other posters (who obviously are also fans).

        Go Pack Go!

        1. I agree there is certainly room for variability in the dialogue here. I think always resorting to the same “name-calling” for shock value has lost its interest with a lot of readers. Gopack!

          1. Name calling is over the top. If you comment on it, he just does it more. Really brings things down.

    2. Didn’t one of san frans linebackers just blow his knee out? Now would that make him an injury prone waste of a pick, you dumb ass!

  7. I think it’s clear by now that Raji isn’t all too interested in remaining a Packer. And I guess one can understand. He’s got his ring, Green Bay doesn’t necessarily appeal to everyone as a place to live, and he’s looking to cash in on his second contract. But it begs the question – why was his play so god-awful this year?

    1. Say you are correct and Raji didn’t want to be a Packer; why would you throw the season? If anything you would want to play your best season and get other teams interested in you; sure the Packers could franchise you (very unlikely) but you are basically guaranteed freedom in 2015. At this point, who wants Raji at a price he would actually like?

      1. I dont think he intentionaly tanked. Maybe his heart just wasn’t in it. If the diabetes rumor is true that could be a significant factor.

        1. I don’t think diabetes rumor had anything to do with it as much as Raji wanting to remain as uninjured as possible, maybe he thinks he can just show up and draw a paycheck until he gets cut. He’s definitely NOT worth $8 million investment by Packers. They’d be better served for a cheap FA, resign Jolly and Pickett to team friendly contracts, depending on Jolly’s ability to play after his neck injury and make a second round pick for Raji’s replacement. Face it, any college player coming out would put up more effort than Raji did. Jolly, on his worst days, outplayed Raji, Jolly just didn’t have the motor to finish season after 3 years off. With an offseason to recuperate and get in better shape, Jolly could look more like himself, 30 years old AIN’T OLD but it is tiresome if not ready to compete at NFL level.

  8. Raji is an easy block now. His performance Grade shows the Line coach failed badly here! RAJI should have been removed! If a player can’t Take Care Of Business, Remove them! Show some Balls, IT’s Time they earn their salary and not play like its Flag Football.

    1. I put it on Capers for ever moving Raji from NT. Raji looked Great at NT, but was never more than average at DE. Guy is short and squat (6’2 338). That is a perfect NT build, but horrible DE build. Capers outsmarted himself and ruined Raji. Raji didn’t seem to mind playing NT in ’10, why wasn’t he allowed to keep playing NT?

      1. Likely because Pickett was “better” and you know the Packers mantra of putting your best guys on the field, damn their actual positions. Also Raji had an atrocious 2011 season which likely changed the coaching staff’s opinion.

        1. IMO its becuz DE in a 34 D need to have some mobility and Pickett doesn’t have any mobility for the past few years. Since they want to have the best run stuffers in the base 34 both Raji and Pickett are wanted on the field on run downs, since they are the best run stuffers. In an effort to keep the best run stuffers on the field both play and one has to play out of position. Which one has the best mobility? That would be Raji. Pickett is pretty stationary at this point. Raji at least has some mobility.

          Simple matter of one of the having to play out of position and Raji being the more mobile of them was forced to move.

  9. IMO, Raji completely let the team down during 2013. He should not be re-signed. His F is deserved, unfortunately. I kept expecting the Packers to bench him to try to wake him up but it never happened. Another reason why I believe Capers should go. In any case, with Raji’s departure the Packers will probably need to draft a DL pretty high during the draft. Maybe we should bring Jenkins back for a year. Then Pickett, Jolly and Jenkins can rotate with D. Jones, Daniels, and Boyd as they develop. CJ Wilson is still around as a backup plus a draft pick and maybe we have something. In any case, the money for Raji can be better spent elsewhere, like trying to re- sign Shields. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Cullen Jenkins is under contract for another 2 years with the Giants, so you won’t be seeing him in a Packers uniform outside of a trade and you know how much Thompson likes to trade for veteran players.

  10. Anyone thinks they are going to get anything from Raji is wrong. He showed his true colors since he rejected his $8 million. This game is changing and the need for obese, slow lazy players is gone. Good riddens.

  11. I would be ecstatic if we can get Hagemann or Nix in the first round. I also firmly believe that Datone Jones will be vastly improved next year and be a starter. GoPack!

    1. I believe he would have made an even bigger impact this year if that damn Cardinal OLineman hadn’t taken a dive at his ankle IN THE PRESEASON!!!

  12. TT must love Raji’s sister or maybe its the reach around. It’s the only logical explanation as to why he offered him 8 million.

      1. Just trying to figure out why they would offer him 8 million. If you have a better explanation I am all ears…

  13. An F is harsh, but an earned grade. I’m not worried about doing without him, we went through worse this year by doing with him – he was playing instead of someone else who might have made a difference. He’s a human swinging gate to let running back pass through. Instead of rushing the qb, he’s a dance partner for offensive lineman. He’s not worth what he makes now.

  14. I think the Pack draft players,bring them in and put them in different positions. Iam not so sure they are thinking too much,maybe should be able to react without thinking.

    1. This is mostly due to the fact that there are very few college teams that play a pro-style 3-4 defense. One of the disadvantages of the 3-4 defense is that a lot of draft picks will have to be conversion projects. However with so many NFL teams using a 3-4 defense, I would expect to see more college teams switch to draw in more athletes.

  15. In case anyone is wondering what TT may be thinking regarding free agency: Last year we lost Jennings and Walden, and may very likely get an additional 3rd round/6th round compensatory pick for it, because we didn’t sign any meaningful FA’s. This year, if we do indeed lose Raji/Shields/Finley/Jones to good size contracts, we can expect a ransom in compensatory pick’s next draft season. Does anyone know if there is a limit on the number of picks a team can accrue? GoPack!

    1. Compensatory draft picks can be combined together, so losing one player does not automatically mean one compensatory pick. I’ve heard the maximum amount is 4.

      1. Good to know. I would be plenty happy to receive 2 third round picks if we can’t afford to keep any of them.

    2. Building off Hobbes’ point, contract details don’t impact the compensatory pick – it’s all based on on-field impact

  16. The grading has been pretty easy so far, and then all of sudden this. I can agree that Raji didn’t do much this year. Sure. No problem. On the other hand, other guys who also contributed very little got off with Bs or Cs because the evaluator set the expectations bar low.

  17. You maybe right Barutan, a F for Raji seems steep, but it just shows how much was expected of this guy. After the 2010 season, most of us thought we had a future game changer with Raji. And then heading into the contract year, 2013, most of us thought we would see a strong performance out of Raji. I’m sorry, but this guy just simply failed to show anything last yet. Like most of our Packer friends here, I’m completely stumped on what happened to this guy. Yes, he’s probably playing out of position, but come on, football is football at the end of the day and this just didn’t seem like any kind of a football player. No heart, no fire, no fight. Put Eddy Lacey’s or Daniels heart, drive and energy into Raji’s body and watch out….possible Warren Sapp type production.

  18. Raji was one of the guys who got too comfy after SB and really needed competition. He had none. Lack of effort and energy took him down. Can blame lack of competition on the line due to injuries and poor GM work by TT.

  19. There’s two reasons that I look at as to why Raji has fallen so hard after 2010.

    I do agree with Stroh’s point that he never should have been moved from NT after 2010. I get that Pickett may be the better run defender of the two, but Raji is the better playmaker. He’s a tremendous athlete at the NT position, but is average at best when moved out to the 5-tech as his lack of body length hinders his play.

    The other is not so much a lack of heart, but the fact that Raji may not be a truly mean guy on the field. Even during the Super Bowl season, Raji wasn’t a guy going after the opponents. Yes he was making plays, but he was a more of a jokester than a snarling junkyard dog. I think that lack of a fiery demeanor may, combined with playing out of position, be reason for why he seems to be pushed around at times.

    No, I wouldn’t pay him $8 million a year. But for something like $5-6 million a year to be the NOSE TACKLE and nothing else (maybe give him some snaps in nickel) on DL for 4ish years, I’d be game for that. Because there is no way to guarantee we’ll get a player like him in the draft. If I’m TT, I’m either resigning Raji or I’m signing Pickett for a year or two at ~$1.5 mil/yr and looking for someone in the draft. In fact, Raji’s poor year could actually hurt his market value to the point that a $5-6 mil/yr deal is his best offer.

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