Because the Packers appear to be lacking playmakers on offense, most of the fans and media who follow Green Bay assumed the team would select a running back or wide receiver with its first-round pick last April. The selection of Harrell, a defensive tackle with some durability concerns, was not a popular one.
Can Harrell win a starting job and, in the process, win over the Packer faithful? Todd Korth of PackerReport.com is a bit skeptical. He believes the ex-Vol is a long-shot to make his way into the club's starting front four this season.
Here's what Korth had to say in a recent preview of the Pack's defensive front:
"Justin Harrell has his work cut out for him if he wants a chance to start in his rookie season with the Green Bay Packers. Harrell, the team's top draft pick in April's NFL draft, is part of a defensive line that has perhaps the deepest amount of talent on the team.
"The best thing about Green Bay's defensive line is that there are a number of players in the prime of their NFL careers, like defensive ends Aaron Kampman and Cullen Jenkins, and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett. Even better, defensive tackles Corey Williams and Colin Cole, and defensive end Michael Montgomery are quickly closing in on their prime NFL seasons. And, Kabeer Gbaja-Bjamila, though on the downside of his prime seasons, could be in position this season to be the sack-happy defensive end that he was earlier this decade.
"The addition of Harrell will only make the defensive line more effective than the one that ranked 13th in the league against the run last season. If he is everything NFL scouts and personnel are saying about him, he may crack the starting lineup as the season progresses. First, he will have to overcome a biceps injury that caused him to miss most of his senior year at Tennessee. Then, he will have to beat out Williams, who is coming off his best season as a Packer with seven sacks and a career-high 47 tackles."