My mantra for the Packers’ off season has been the Defensive Line needing to be up graded more then any position on the team. A better line makes everyone behind them better and there is no doubt that after being ranked 8th in total sacks, the defense needs to be much better against the run and apply a lot more pressure.
Mike McCarthy stated he wants to change the defense, adding players with more length on the defensive line. And when you look at the traditional 3-4 DE it makes sense to add more of that type of player.
Jones is a good start but with a pesky ankle injury the entire season he flashed but did little else. Worthy got back on the field late last year and his quickness off the ball was impressive, but he was not in football shape, he will be 100% and at over twenty months past his surgery.
Daniels should never be on the field as a base DE like last year, They really had no choice but to rotate him there last year, but he is not suited for it. He was washed out against the run and if he did not beat his man with his quickness he was not that effective. He is perfectly suited to the 3 technique DT spot with his great motor and quickness. With moving Raji back to NT and adding Guion, Daniels can be more effective in the role he should be in.
Boyd is one of the players I want to see most this coming season, He worked his way on the field learning the techniques for the defense, he was a NT in college and showed he can play DE, I think he can be effective at NT, 3 technique and DE.
I am just as excited to see Peppers at DE as standing up and playing OLB. He can play left or right side, and was very effective when playing 3 technique.
I don’t think Pickett will be back and his play dropped off last year.
Jolly should get a chance to compete. I wonder if he will even be back, But I hope he is. He can add to the defense.
A lot of how the defense does this coming year is on Jones and Boyd taking that second year step up and Worthy basically doing the same in his third after missing most of his second.
I think the talent level is there and hopefully Capers and MM find ways to use them all.
I would not be surprised to see them take a Louis Nix, RaShede Hageman or Stephon Tuitt early, but the development of Jones, Boyd and Worthy could make adding a Defensive lineman less of a priority early in the draft.
The 3rd day of the draft has a number of prospects that fit the bill of Longer 3-4 DE types. Lets check some out. One last thing, all rankings are subject to change or would that be, all depends on where you look?
Josh Mauro, 6-6 280# Stanford. My favorite kind of player, might not be the most gifted but never gives up, high motor.
Brent Urban 6-7 295# Virginia another high effort player, good off the snap, can hold point and play inside or outside. Needs to get better at shedding blocks.
Taylor Hart 6-6 281# Oregon. Can hold point, sheds tacklers, more run stuffer then a pass rush player, but you need both.
And maybe my favorite last day pick, Zack Kerr 6-1 326# DT Delaware. Quick off the snap with a nice swim move, good lateral movement, can hold up against double teams.
Honorable Mention: Will Clark West Virginia, Ed Stinson Alabama, Beau Allen Wisconsin