Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company takes a look at each position group on the Green Bay Packers and provides grades and insight on how they performed in the 2015 season. Today, we examine the defensive line. Follow along with all of our positional breakdowns here.
After the secondary, no defensive unit enjoyed a better year than the Green Bay Packers' defensive line. The group, led by Mike Daniels, generated consistent pressure throughout the year, making life easier for the linebackers and defensive backs.
The "downside" to the group's improved play, if one exists, concerns the Packers' budget. Two of the team's most reliable defensive linemen hit free agency later this offseason. Both could earn lucrative multi-year contracts, perhaps pricing them out of Green Bay.
Below, we review the defensive linemen that the team re-added in 2015.
How acquired: Signed to one-year, $1.75 million deal
Stats: 22 total tackles, 1/2 sack, two deflected passes
Entering 2014, Raji appeared primed for a resurgent season. The Packers had shifted him back inside to nose tackle, his natural position, and Raji displayed his old explosiveness and disruption during the preseason in that role. However, a torn biceps put him on the shelf for a year, placing his future with the team in doubt. Eventually, both parties agreed to a one-year "prove it" deal.
The decision seems to have worked out for both parties. Raji anchored a vastly improved defensive line and gave the Packers their best interior presence since his breakthrough 2010 season. Raji, somewhat slimmed down and with a solid year under his belt, has the chance to cash in during free agency.
How acquired: Signed to one-year, $2.75 million deal
Stats: 21 total tackles
After an offseason that saw him land in police custody for a litany of charges, Guion ended up with a solid, if unspectacular year. He missed the first three games to suspension before the Packers quietly reinserted him back into the defensive line. Guion spent most of his time rotating with Mike Pennel. Despite the more limited snaps, Guion penetrated the backfield with regularity and didn't make many huge mistakes defending the run.