Over a two week span, 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 2017 season. Today, we examine the defensive line.
The Packers added a trio of defensive linemen to the active roster in 2017, all of whom were set up to play rotational, backup roles at the most. With the starting line mostly remaining healthy and mainly utilizing two players on the field in the nickel defense, there was little playing time to go around for these players. However, one stood out as by far the best value of the bunch.
Ricky Jean Francois
How acquired: Street free agent (cut by Washington); one-year, $2 million
2017 Stats: 6 games played; two total tackles, one solo; 60 defensive snaps (5.7% of team)
Jean Francois was supposed to be a nice signing for the Packers; the intent was to play him at 5-technique and 1-technique, backing up Dean Lowry and Kenny Clark, respectively. However, the Packers cut him just one week into the season before signing him again a week later. Then they released him on November first, after which he spent two stints on the Patriots’ roster.
The production and time spent on the roster — as well as the bizarre release and subsequent re-signing — reflected poorly on the Packers’ front office, and RJF never really got a chance to make any sort of impact.
How acquired: Street free agent (cut by San Francisco); one-year, $775,001 contract
2017 Stats: 13 games played, 2 starts; 19 total tackles, 12 solo; one pass defensed; 309 defensive snaps (29.3%), 100 special teams snaps (23.6%)
Dial ended up being more or less the player that the Packers though RJF would be, as he spent the full season on the roster as a reserve rotational lineman. His release by the 49ers on the weekend of final cuts was a bit of a blessing for the Packers, as he was an ideal fit for the defense and was able to adjust smoothly to Dom Capers’ scheme. For essentially a league-minimum salary — adding one dollar to the value in order to give the team the ability to negotiate a new with him before the start of free agency this spring, Dial’s contributions were well worth it.
How Acquired: 2017 3rd-round draft pick (#93 overall)
2017 Stats: 7 games played; two total tackles, one solo; 65 defensive snaps (6.2%), 22 special teams snaps (5.2%)
In what was probably the Packers’ most head-scratching pick in the 2017 draft, Adams came to Green Bay on the day of his newborn son’s birth, actually holding him in his arms when getting the phone call about being drafted. Unfortunately, Adams missed most of training camp with a foot injury and was never able to get into the rotation on defense. The stout tackle has good size (6’4”, 304) and could bulk up a bit to play anywhere on the line. However, he’ll need a big offseason in Green Bay to prove that he deserves more playing time.