Clay Matthews remains the Green Bay Packers' biggest defensive star. However, he has not pressured the quarterback as regularly as he did earlier in his career, an issue that contributed to the second-half decline of the team's defense. While Nick Perry returns to build off of his breakthrough 2016 campaign, other players must step up to assist.
While some new blood could come through the draft, the Packers might also have some untapped potential sitting on its roster.
While the Packers ultimately signed Jayrone Elliott for less than the lowest restricted free-agent tender ($1.6 million vs. $1.797 million), they ended up giving the outside linebacker $350,000 in signing bonus. Why pay out so much guaranteed money? Perhaps because Elliott has actually exceeded the pass-rushing efficiency of Clay Matthews. Over the last two years, Elliott has averaged a sack every 77.5 snaps, better than the more-decorated Matthews' rate of one every 127.4 snaps over the same timeframe. For further context, Elliott's productivity falls not too far behind Nick Perry's one sack every 58.3 snaps.
This Packers mailbag covers a wide swath of topics, but of interest is Vic Ketchman's desire to see the Packers sign some rotational defensive linemen. As of now, the defensive line features only four full-time members that appeared in multiple games last season. Even with the draft approaching, a reasonably priced veteran could make sense, à la Davon House's signing for the secondary.
In a loaded draft class at the running back position, a fringe prospect like Trey Edmunds can go unnoticed. However, he comes from NFL stock -- his father, All-Pro tight end Ferrell Edmund, played seven years with the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks -- something the Packers value.