Camp Preview: By Numbers at DL

We look at one key player, one darkhorse, one new face and one player on the bubble, and provide some numbers you might not know about the Packers' defensive line.

One key player: Mike Neal. Somebody presumably has to replace Cullen Jenkins, and Neal is the favorite to be that guy. The Packers don't need a 330-pound, offensive lineman-eating behemoth for that role. They need someone athletic enough to make quarterbacks antsy in the pocket. Neal showed those kind of skills during training camp and his too-brief rookie season.

One darkhorse: C.J. Wilson. What made the Packers so effective last season is they got some interior rush from Jenkins and B.J. Raji. Raji, however, played far too many snaps, so the Packers ideally would have three guys to rotate in those two spots in their nickel defense. Wilson had 27 sacks during four seasons at East Carolina, including 10.5 as a junior.

One on the bubble: Justin Harrell, the Packers' first-round pick in 2007, has played in just 14 of a possible 64 regular-season games. He missed all of 2009 after reinjuring his back, then tore an ACL in the 2010 opener at Philadelphia. The Packers have the manpower to finally sever ties with the one black mark on Ted Thompson's resume.

One new face: The feeling about Lawrence Guy is pretty much unanimous from those in scouting circles. "He probably should have stayed in school," director of college scouting John Dorsey said of the seventh-round pick, who started 31 games in his three seasons at Arizona State. "With more development, he probably would have gone higher in the draft. When you have a coach like Mike Trgovac, you take a guy like this. He didn't play the defensive scheme that we usually play. With Mike, he's going to teach this kid how to two-gap. He's got enough athleticism to play base sets. What he's going to have to prove to everybody is, ‘You know what, I can compete here.' That's what he's got to show these coaches. I think we did a pretty good job with C.J. Now, let's see what we can do with this guy."

1: Jenkins' ranking as an interior rusher over the last three seasons, according to Pro Football Focus' breakdown of his numbers of sacks and pressures per pass-rushing opportunity.

6.5: Number of sacks last season by Raji, a figure that led all NFL nose tackles.

5: Number of sacks by Raji in his final nine games, including playoffs. That's a testament to the stamina of a player who played in a remarkable 85.2 percent of the snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He played in at least 90 percent of the snaps in nine games, including the NFC Championship and Super Bowl.

1,092: Number of total snaps by Raji over the 20 games. Jenkins (571) and Ryan Pickett (483) played the second- and third-most snaps among the defensive linemen, with their combined total of 1,054 falling short of Raji.

25: Total quarterback hits by Jenkins, including playoffs, according to the Packers' count. The rest of the linemen combined for 37: Raji (18), Pickett (five), Wilson (eight), Jarius Wynn (five) and Neal (one).

5: Number of snaps played on the defensive line by offensive lineman T.J. Lang last season. That's three more than Harrell's combined total from 2009 and 2010.

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

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