Defensive Line Overview

Jones (Gary A. Vasquez - USA Today Sports)

The Packers need to bolster this position group, considering five of their eight players on the depth chart will be free agents after the season and a sixth player could miss much of the season.

In Day 9 of our Green Bay Packers draft preview, here is a look at the defensive linemen.

Packers depth chart


INSIDER INFORMATION


Best of Class, Overrated, Sleeper.

Scouts weigh in on top 28 prospects in 3-4 scheme.

The Packers enter the draft with eight players, though one of them (Jerel Worthy) might miss at least half the season with a torn ACL sustained in Week 17, another (Johnny Jolly) hasn't played since 2009 and a third (Jordan Miller) played in 15 snaps this past season.

Moreover, Ryan Pickett is the oldest player on the roster and is entering the final year of his contract, B.J. Raji is entering the final year of his contract and potentially will be too expensive for a team with so much money tied into Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, and Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson and Jolly also are entering their final seasons under contract.

That leaves just one other player: Mike Daniels, a fourth-round pick last year who showed some promise as a pass rusher.

Packers draft outlook

Without Worthy, the Packers could use some pass-rushing help. With the contractual status of Raji and Pickett, the Packers could use some run-stuffers, as well. Thus, it's little wonder why we were told the Packers have talked to at least one team about moving down in hopes of acquiring more picks.

If there were a "Drafting To Fill a 3-4" textbook, the defensive ends would stand about 6-foot-4 and weight about 310 pounds. The Packers don't have any of those guys on the roster. Will this be the year they finally add some length to their front?

Strength of draft class

Defensive line is the best group of this draft class. Packer Report is the lone wolf among the heavyweights on the Packers beat as we rank our players as if they were in a 3-4 scheme. Even doing it that way and sending the 4-3 defensive ends to 3-4 outside linebackers, as many as seven linemen could go in the first round.

If the Packers are looking to get that elusive 6-foot-4, 310 pound defensive end, they'll find slim pickings after the first round. If you're looking for a sleeper in Day 3, remember Samford's Nicholas Williams.

Bottom of the first (round)

The Packers will have some options at No. 26. SMU's Margus Hunt, Florida State's Tank Carradine, UCLA's Datone Jones are defensive ends who could be in the mix. Hunt is 6-foot-8 and Carradine and Jones are 6-4. All are outstanding athletes, and Hunt and Carradine can lift the weight room. Of the three, Carradine is the most likely to be gone. Alabama's powerful Jesse Williams and Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins are nose tackles who probably could be had by trading back into the second.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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