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The Top 10 Players in 2009: #10 - DE Cullen Jenkins

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Being able to write a top 10 list helps me think about football. Also, it enables me to avoid writing about QB Aaron Rodgers' new girlfriend. It's a win-win situation.

Starting with No. 10 on my Top 10 in 2009 countdown is DE Cullen Jenkins.

He missed the last 12 games in 2008 with a torn pectoral muscle. I expect he's fully recovered, so let's talk about what Jenkins has done over the past couple seasons, when healthy. When he finally broke into the starting lineup at right DE, in place of DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, it was for his run defense. He immediately improved it, although that was a low bar since KGB was generally so awful at stopping the run. In 2008, he was providing a monster pass rush, he had 2.5 sacks in the first 4 games. The 2.5 sacks doesn't even cover it; he was constantly in the backfield and after the QB.

In 2009, the Packers need someone other than LB Aaron Kampman to provide a pass rush, and Jenkins should be the first option. Also, the run defense needs to improve, and he has proven solid in that regard too. But what really makes him so valuable is that there is no one else like him on the team. NT B.J. Raji might be a great pass rusher too, we'll have to wait and see, but as of right now, I'm expecting he'll be primarily an anchor on the line. I don't expect him to be running down the QB. Jenkins is the only one on the DL that should be getting after the QB.