The Green Bay Packers and general manager Brian Gutekunst are not finished trying to improve their 53-man roster. That much was made clear this week, when the team added linebacker Korey Toomer and running back Darius Jackson to the 53.
However, later on in the week, the Packers attempted to add another recently-released player to the roster. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the Packers were one of four teams to submit a waiver claim for defensive end Anthony Zettel, who was recently released by the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately for the Packers, one of those other franchises who also submitted claims held a higher waiver priority: the Cleveland Browns, who have now added six players through waivers since last Saturday’s cut-down deadline.
Zettel’s release from Detroit was a bit of a surprise, as the third-year player had started every game in 2017 and recorded 6.5 sacks. He was a sixth-round pick of Detroit’s in 2016 and was waived to make room for another defensive end, former New York Giant Romeo Okwara. The Detroit Free Press described Zettel as an “imperfect fit for first-year coach Matt Patricia’s defense,” and his build would suggest that he seems a bit of an odd fit for Mike Pettine’s defense as well.
Zettel is listed at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, a little heavier than is typical for a 3-4 outside linebacker but lighter than the ideal for a 5-technique defensive end. He actually played defensive tackle in college at Penn State but ran an impressive 40-yard dash at the 2016 Combine, posting a time of 4.81 seconds. In four career games against the Packers, Zettel recorded eight total tackles and one sack.
The fact that the Packers were interested enough in Zettel to put in a claim suggests that Gutekunst will continue to scour the waiver wire and free agent market to improve the Packers’ roster on the margins. He said that the Packers’ 53-man roster will continue to be “fluid” throughout the season, and although the team did not actually acquire Zettel, the claim is a sign that he is sticking true to his word.