Growing up in Rockford, Illinois, Dean Lowry was not a Green Bay Packers fan first and foremost.
"I think growing up, I was more of a Bears fan," Lowry said. But he was quick to amend that comment in his media interview after Friday's practice at Packers rookie minicamp: "I wasn't a huge Bears fan. But I've always admired the Packers and just the way those guys play. We're all green and gold now."
Lowry was the Packers' fifth selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, the second of two fourth-round compensatory selections, and he is excited to have made the move three hours north from Evanston, where he played his college football at Northwestern, to Green Bay. Being so close to Wisconsin, he came in with an understanding of what the area is all about: "Green Bay is a special place, it's all football here. I think that's what the guys love about this city and this area. The Packers mean a lot to the community and you can see it just by talking to the fans."
Projecting as an ideal 5-technique defensive end due to his 6'6", 296-pound frame, Lowry indicated that he played that position in the base 3-4 defense that the Packers began installing in camp this weekend. He also said that he played "a little bit of 3-tech in pass rush so I feel comfortable doing that," but that he "played a lot of 5-tech in college in more of a 4-3 defense," suggesting that although the scheme may be different, his position is something that he is already comfortable with.
Oh, and he even imagines a bit of an extra wrinkle in his game as well: "I think I can do a lot of different things, I can play 5-tech, 3-tech, and even a little bit of linebacker to be honest."
For now, though, he'll focus on learning the positions on the line and understanding Dom Capers' scheme so he can be well-equipped to contribute when the season comes along. The transition from college will be difficult, though, as Lowry mentioned: "everybody moves faster and everybody knows their assignment at the highest level." Lowry also noted that he will have to get used to more pro-style offenses as opposed to the spread attacks that have become prevalent in college.
Still, Lowry's first day seemed to be a fun experience, as he said it "felt great wearing the 'G' on the helmet." He also is looking forward to getting to play with the Packers' veterans and picking the brains of All-Pro pass rushers like Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers: "I want to learn some pass-rush moves ... today I was working on my swim move because I'm a taller guy, so I think to try to get over the guards and tackles, so I've been working on that and the spin move as well.
Lowry's goal now is to become a regular contributor, but he also wants to make an impression on the organization in the long-term. The Packers have had plenty of success with fourth-round picks in the recent years - the name Mike Daniels comes immediately to mind - and Lowry could very well be a candidate to have a long, solid career. He seems to welcome that opportunity and the history that comes with wearing Green and Gold: "Green Bay's a special place, it has a lot of tradition here so I think it's important for the guys and rookies to realize that and really take pride in being a Packer."
"The tradition that Lambeau has, the great players that have played here ... it's a special place and you want to give your all to the organization and to the state of Wisconsin."