On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers failed to work out a deal to acquire wide receiver Will Fuller from the Houston Texans. The team’s interest in Fuller, who played at Notre Dame during Matt LaFleur’s time in South Bend, was widely reported, but the two teams were unable to come to an agreement.
However, it appears that the Packers were also looking to improve the middle of their defense as well as just adding to their complement of offensive weapons.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers attempted to trade for defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, who is currently with the New York Giants. Tomlinson, a second-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2017, is in his fourth NFL season and has started every one of the Giants’ 57 games over the past three-plus years. He had a bit of a breakout in 2019, recording a career-high 3.5 sacks, and he has 1.5 sacks plus four pass breakups so far this season.
Tomlinson would have clearly bolstered a Packers defensive line that has had issues stopping the run over the past few years. Slotting him in next to Kenny Clark would also give the Packers a pair of impressive athletes in the middle of the field who can contribute against both the pass and the run.
With Tomlinson in the final year of his contract, he is scheduled to hit free agency in March. It is likely that he will net the Giants a compensatory draft pick for the 2022 draft if he leaves for a new contract elsewhere, which likely factored into the Giants’ reasons for not trading him — particularly if the Packers were offering a pick in a lower round than Tomlinson’s projected value.
Still, this report shows that the Packers were actively trying to improve their team in other areas than just the wide receiver position — and that they have identified the run defense as an area in need of improvement. That improvement may not come the rest of this season, but keep an eye on those two positions as potential focus areas in the 2021 NFL Draft.