clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Painful Look At The Packers Defensive Line

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

C.J. Wilson: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card | AllGreenBayPackers.Com. Reading this article, and then looking back at Bob McGinn's defensive report card, has made me think that finding an upgrade on the defensive line has to be the Green Bay Packers top offseason priority.

B.J. Raji wasn't as good last season, and Ryan Pickett was overpaid considering his production, but at least they both deserved to play. I'm not sure I can say that about anyone else.

NT Howard Green. He was a life saver in 2010, and his hit on Ben Roethlisberger turned into a Nick Collins pick-six during the Super Bowl, but he did nothing in 2011. He's big and can backup at nose tackle, but he doesn't have much of a resume to stand on if the Packers have to make a decision about him.

DE Mike Neal. The fact that he could be converted to LB is probably all you need to know about how useless he was last season on the defensive line. Does he deserve another season to prove he can stay healthy? Or have we seen this injury-proneness before and we might as well let him go?

DE C.J. Wilson. One pressure every 113.4 snaps. I guess he was a 7th round pick for a reason. He seems to be decent against the run.

DE Jarius Wynn. He impressed me with his strong play towards the end of the 2010 season, and then he got off to a quick start with 3 early sacks in 2011. His rate of one pressure for every 46.7 snaps is one of the best on the Packers (a low bar to clear for sure). But he had zero sacks after September 25th and basically disappeared at the end of the season.

My main problem with all four of those defensive lineman is that (with the exception of Wynn back in September) they made few (if any) plays to force a turnover and they had zero sacks. They have to make more big plays.

The Packers are never much for the free agent market anyway, so this seems like a position that has to be addressed in the draft. I've been wanting the Packers to draft an outside linebacker/outside pass rusher with a high draft pick for the last couple years, and I was leaning that direction again in 2012.

He doesn't have to be a college defensive tackle who would play as a 3-4 DE. The right college DE who could provide an inside pass rush and play with good technique against the run could be a good fit. A smaller defensive lineman could be subbed for on rushing downs by someone like Green or Wilson who could be kept in the role of a run stuffer.