After the draft: Defense analysis

Packer Report takes a position-by-position look at the roster to see who will be fighting for jobs. We looked at the offense earlier; now, we look at the defense and specialists. With a change of schemes, who will be vying for coveted roster spots?

Here's where the Packers stand on defense and special teams after the draft. More in-depth position breakdowns will come in the following days.

Defensive line

Total: 12.

Number on 2008 roster: 9.

Holdovers: NT Fred Bledsoe; DE Justin Harrell; DE Cullen Jenkins; DE Johnny Jolly; DE Alfred Malone; DE Michael Montgomery; NT Ryan Pickett; NT Anthony Toribio.

Additions: NT B.J. Raji (1st); NT Brian Soi (FA); DE Jarius Wynn (6th); DE Ronald Talley (UDFA).

Quick overview: With the switch in defensive schemes, the nine defensive linemen and six linebackers from last year likely will be flip-flopped. Jenkins, Pickett and Raji are locks, Jolly is all-but a lock and Montgomery's roster spot is relatively secure, too. Malone and Harrell have the size to play defensive end, and the Packers obviously liked Wynn enough to draft him. Those three figure to battle for the last spot.


Total: 12.

Number on 2008 roster: 6.

Holdovers: Nick Barnett; Desmond Bishop; Brandon Chillar; Spencer Havner; A.J. Hawk; Jason Hunter; Aaron Kampman; Danny Lansanah; Brady Poppinga; Jeremy Thompson.

Additions: Brad Jones (7th); Clay Matthews (1st).

Quick overview: The numbers depend on the health of Barnett's repaired knee. Assuming he's healthy enough to avoid a six-week stint on the physically unable to perform list, he'll join Hawk, Bishop, Kampman and Matthews as the only roster locks. Chillar played well last year and he's versatile, so he'll likely make it, too. It will be a free-for-all for the other three spots, with a lot of it dependent on special teams.


Total: 9.

Number on 2008 roster: 6.

Holdovers: Joshua Abrams; Will Blackmon; Jarrett Bush; Al Harris; Pat Lee; Joe Porter; Tramon Williams; Charles Woodson.

Additions: Brandon Underwood (6th).

Quick overview: Harris, Woodson, Williams and Blackmon are obvious locks. They spent a lot of money to retain Bush, who can play safety and is a quality special-teams player. Lee was a second-rounder last year. It's hard to imagine they'll discard him at this point, but Underwood has an intriguing mix of size and athleticism.


Total: 5.

Number on 2008 roster: 4.

Holdovers: Atari Bigby; Nick Collins; Charlie Peprah; Aaron Rouse.

Additions: Anthony Smith (FA).

Quick overview: It will be Rouse, Peprah and Smith battling for two spots behind starters Bigby and Collins. Smith didn't get a signing bonus in his two-year deal. Rouse and Peprah had chances last year with Bigby out but neither stepped up. If Bush performs well at safety, maybe the Packers keep an extra player at another position.

Special teams

Total: 4.

Number on 2008 roster: 3.

Holdovers: K Mason Crosby; P Jeremy Kapinos; LS Brett Goode.

Additions: P Durant Brooks.

Quick overview: The Packers didn't draft or add a punter after the draft. Brooks, however, was considered the top punter in the 2008 draft. He was selected by Washington and beat out Derrick Frost, but struggled through a groin injury and was released at midseason. He'll challenge Kapinos, who did OK last season when you consider the awful weather he performed in in three of his four games. There's always a middle-aged punter available in case of emergency.

Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum

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. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at and Facebook.

Packer Report Top Stories