Packers pre-draft analysis: Defensive linemen

Green Bay expected to select a defensive tackle or end to bolster depth

The Green Bay Packers are pretty deep across the defensive line. But you can never have enough defensive linemen. Just look at the New York Giants and the Lombardi Trophy they now have from 2007.

At defensive end, the Packers have Pro Bowler Aaron Kampman and his 12 sacks on one side and Cullen Jenkins on the other.

Jenkins was nicked up last year, but the team expects he will be effective in 2008, much like he was in the latter part of 2006. In pass rush situations, Jenkins can move inside, and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila can come in and pressure the quarterback. KGB had 9.5 sacks in 2007.

The Packers can also bring in Mike Montgomery and Jason Hunter in the rotation. Also, there is a chance that the team will also utilize OLB Brady Poppinga in pass rushing situations, as Poppinga played DE at Brigham Young.

At defensive tackle, the team has Ryan Pickett as their main run stuffer, while the other starter from last year, Corey Williams, was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a second round pick in this year's draft. The Packers expect big things from last year's number one pick, Justin Harrell, to help pick up the slack from Williams departure.

The Pack also has Johnny Jolly, who had a breakthrough season in 2007 before injuring his shoulder, and Colin Cole, who also suffered an arm injury late in the season, and ended up on injured reserve, like Jolly. Both should be ready to go in 2008. The Packers also have Daniel Muir and Conrad Bolston to provide more depth.

Bottom line: Ted Thompson is always looking to improve the team along the line and football is a game that is won in the trenches. There was also a rumor a month or so ago about the Packers and Dolphins talking about a trade for the Pack to acquire DE Jason Taylor. Either way, the Packers will look for players who can fit their defensive system and will provide quality depth.

DE Lawrence Jackson (USC)
Round possibly selected - 1st or 2nd. Jackson (6-4, 261) had 30.5 sacks in his career at USC. Jackson is also very versatile, as he also moved inside in some pass rushing situations and showed good ability pressuring the quarterback, like the Packers do with Cullen Jenkins. He also improved on his run-stopping ability as a senior.

DE/DT Jason Jones (Eastern Michigan)
Round possibly selected - 3rd or 4th. Jones (6-5, 272) showed versatility in college as he played both tackle and end. Jones is better suited to play end however, but has the ability like Jackson to move inside in pass rush situations. Jones is quick and can disrupt things in the backfield. His pass rush should keep improving.

DE Shawn Crable (Michigan)
Round possibly selected - 4th or 5th. Crable (6-5, 241) needs to put on more bulk, but he has the attributes like wingspan and speed to be a pretty good defensive end. Crable played both OLB and DE at Michigan. Crable had a great senior season with 28.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks.

DE Hilee Taylor (North Carolina)
Round possibly selected - 7th. Taylor (6-3, 242) who could be pass-rush specialist. Had 10.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss as a senior. Second team all-Atlantic Coast Conference last year. Taylor is sort of like Brady Poppinga was out of college. Taylor hasn't played linebacker since freshman year. He met in Green Bay with the Packers a few weeks ago.

DT Dre Moore (Maryland)
Round possibly selected - 3rd or 4th. Moore (6-4, 307) is very strong and quick. Moore is a bit raw, but looked good in drills at the Senior Bowl and improved every year at Maryland. With good coaching, Moore can be a special player with his natural athletic ability.

DT Nick Hayden (Wisconsin)
Round possibly selected - 5th or 7th. Hayden (6-4, 295) needs to be more consistent but he never gives up on a play. He also had an excellent week at the East-West Shrine game that certainly opened some eyes.


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