John Dorsey had some high praise for rookie defensive end Jarius Wynn.
"He reminded me, if you go back to my old playing days, he reminded me of Robert Brown," the Packers' director of college scouting told Packer Report recently.
Brown was a fourth-round pick in 1982 out of Virginia Tech and wound up playing 11 productive seasons for the Packers. He was the primary starter for seven seasons at right defensive end when Green Bay last ran a 3-4 defense. He ranks 10th in team history with 25.5 sacks.
Wynn was a sixth-round pick out of Georgia, where he started seven games as a senior. He had three sacks last season, including two in the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State in his final college game.
"People really don't know that I can rush the passer like I can," Wynn said during the recent rookie camp. "I learned a lot from the Combine on, working with Chuck Smith down in Atlanta. He really taught me a lot about rushing the passer."
That time with Smith — who had 58.5 sacks in eight seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, with three double-digits seasons — included watching and learning the techniques used by the late Reggie White and Vikings standout Jared Allen.
That work was evident during the rookie camp, when Wynn was the most impressive lineman not named B.J. Raji during one-on-one pass-rushing drills.
"I think the Packers will be really pleased with him and I think he'll make their ballclub and he'll play for a long time," Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner said while on a recruiting trip in New Jersey. "I think his best football is ahead of him. He's just going to continue to blossom as a football player."
Rushing the passer, however, isn't the No. 1 priority for a 3-4 defensive end. Not even close. Instead, the priority is eating up blockers so the linebackers and safeties can stop the run and blitz the quarterback. At 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, Wynn isn't quite the blueprint 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, 290- or 300-pound defensive end for the 3-4. Wynn said the coaches would like for him to get to 280 for training camp. But both Dorsey and coach Mike McCarthy took note of the "long levers" that Wynn uses to play the run.
"If you just look at him, you can see he's going to be 290 pounds in the blink of an eye," Dorsey said. "I like the length of his arms, I like the strength and size of his hands. I like the way he extends and plays with his arms out in front of him so he can keep separation between himself and the blockers. I think that's a valuable trait to have in this 3-4 scheme as a defensive end."
Wynn spent his first two years at a junior college to improve his grades. He could have taken the easy route by going to one of the sports factories that hand out good grades like they're candy on Halloween. Instead, he went to Georgia Military College.
Why? He could have taken an easier route.
"I thought it would teach me a lot," said Wynn, who endured days that started at 5:45 a.m. and ended at 11 p.m. "I had messed up in one class, and I felt like I just needed to go there."
Wynn was a junior college all-American following his second season at Georgia Military. He was a reserve for all of his junior season at Georgia. While he wasn't a full-time starter as a senior, Garner said Wynn probably played more snaps than anyone else on the line.
If Garner and Dorsey are right, perhaps Wynn can forge a lengthy professional career. But first, he'll have to make the roster. The Packers figure to keep six defensive linemen, and Raji, Ryan Pickett and Cullen Jenkins are the only locks. Michael Montgomery (re-signed to a two-year contract), disappointing Justin Harrell (first-round pick in 2007), promising Alfred Malone and intriguing undrafted rookie Ronald Talley will battle Wynn for the other three spots.
"When I first got here, getting on a plane and coming to see Lambeau Field really put a joy in my heart," Wynn said. "It's a great feeling. Different people, like Reggie White and Brett Favre were real famous. So, it's going to be real enjoyable."
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.