Defensive Line Measurables

By examining key measurables that define who winds up starting in the NFL, we use the Packers' draft history to get a gauge on who they might be considering in the first few rounds of next month's draft.

History does not determine the future, though it can serve as a handy guide.

Packer Report is examining the Green Bay Packers' draft history to get a better handle at the prospects who they might be considering in next month's draft.

We skimmed the surface with the cornerbacks, focusing on general manager Ted Thompson's mere 1-inch deviation among his draft picks. Now, we will go into greater depth with key measurables at each position. The measurables we're using are based in large part on FootballEducator.com's "Attribute Success Correlation". The Web site was created by former Denver Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist. Research done by Sundquist's colleague, Joe Landers, has uncovered what Scouting Combine-style measurables are most and least important.

Here is a look at the nine defensive linemen selected by the Packers. We go back to 2009, the year coach Mike McCarthy hired Dom Capers to implement the 3-4.



DLHTWTBPARMHAND10403-CNVJ
2009: B.J. Raji60143373332 10 3/81.825.237.9032
DEHTWTBPARMHAND10403-CNVJ
2009: Jarius Wynn60252751934 1/2111.815.087.4031.5
2010: Mike Neal60302943133 1/210 1/41.704.957.5333
2010: C.J. Wilson60272903233 1/8101.734.937.6533
2011: Lawrence Guy60413052832 3/410 3/41.845.087.6029
2012: Jerel Worthy602330828339 3/81.745.087.6028.5
2012: Mike Daniels6004291 32 1/29 5/8
2013: Datone Jones60372832932 3/4101.664.807.3231.5
2013: Josh Boyd602531032329 1/41.745.147.1826.5


While there is an emphasis on getting more athletic, the truth is, Thompson almost overwhelmingly has drafted athletic defensive linemen. According to Landers' research, the three most-important athletic indicators for a starting defensive lineman are the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and vertical jump. The average defensive tackle at the Combine runs the 40 in 5.09 seconds, the three-cone in 7.64 seconds and vertical jumps 29.87 inches.

While B.J. Raji beat only one of those criteria — not surprisingly, considering he weighed 337 pounds — the other eight selections routinely beat their peers. Only Josh Boyd failed to break 5.09 in the 40 (5.14), though his three-cone time was more than one-third of a second faster than the average. Only C.J. Wilson failed to break 7.64 in the third-cone (7.65), but his 40 time was 0.16 seconds faster than the average.

Otherwise, if there's any rhyme or reason to the measurables used by Thompson and his scouts, it's not readily evident from the data.

If you discard Mike Daniels (6 foot, 1/2 inch) as an outlier, Jerel Worthy (6-foot-2 3/8) is the shortest of the defensive ends. Jarius Wynn, Boyd, Wilson and Mike Neal are within 5/8 inch of that, with Datone Jones (6-foot-3 7/8) and Lawrence Guy (6-foot-4 1/8) rounding out the group. Arm length doesn't seem to be a major factor, either.

So, while it would be fair to say the Packers typically draft a defensive lineman who's about 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds with 33-inch arms, there's plenty of deviation in each direction.

Throw in the changing face — and changing shape — of the Packers' defensive line, it's almost impossible to predict who the team will select next month.

Would the Packers draft big Louis Nix (6-2 3/8, 331) as the nose tackle of the future? He's got Raji's dimensions but he isn't nearly as athletic with with a 5.42 in the 40, a 25.5-inch vertical and a three-cone time of 8.29.

Would the Packers draft RaShede Hageman (6-5 7/8, 310), who has a tailor-made build to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme? With his 5.02 in the 40, 35.5-inch vertical and three-cone of 7.87, he's remarkably athletic. But the Packers have no history of drafting defensive linemen with his height. Perhaps that's just a byproduct of there being so few 6-foot-6 defensive linemen with a background in basketball.

On the other end of the height spectrum, are Florida State's Timmy Jernigan (6-1 5/8), Florida's Dominique Easley (6-1 3/4) or Arizona State's Will Sutton (6-0 1/2) even on the Packers board? In Rounds 2 through 4, South Carolina's Kelcy Quarles (6-3 3/4, 297 pounds; 5.03 in the 40), LSU's Ego Ferguson (6-2 7/8, 315 pounds; 4.98 in the 40 on campus) and Princeton's Caraun Reid 6-2 1/8, 302 pounds; 4.91 in the 40) seem like the best fits at defensive end because of their athleticism. At nose tackle, perhaps Louisiana Tech's Justin Ellis (6-1 1/2, 334 pounds; 5.27 in the 40) in the fourth or fifth round is a better fit than Penn State's DaQuan Jones (6-3 3/4, 322 pounds; 5.35 in the 40) would be in the second or third round.


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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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