Once again this April, Press-Gazette Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky will provide a pre-draft breakdown of the Packers’ roster at each position heading into the April 26-28 NFL draft.
Here’s the position schedule:
Today: Defensive line
Wednesday: Defensive backs
Thursday: Offensive line
Friday: Running backs
Sunday: Tight ends
Tuesday: Special teams
WHAT THEY HAVE: Ryan Pickett (DT), B.J. Raji (DT), Jarius Wynn (DE), C.J. Wilson, (DE), Mike Neal (DE), Lawrence Guy (DE), Anthony Hargrove (DE), Daniel Muir (DT), Johnny Jones (DL/DE).
POSITION ANALYSIS: The Packers never found a replacement for Cullen Jenkins and his 7˝ sacks in 2010 so general manager Ted Thompson added some depth this spring when he signed unrestricted free-agent Anthony Hargrove and street free agent Daniel Muir. Neither is even a lock to make the team.
Thompson invested no signing bonus money in either player. Hargrove has some pass-rush ability and could be an inside rusher in the nickel package. Muir is a first- and second-down player.
Neither Pickett nor Raji, who flip-flop between end and nose tackle in base and also play inside on passing downs, performed as well in 2011 as they did in 2010. But both are cornerstones of the defensive line.
Wynn started out strong in a pass-rushing role but flamed out by mid-season, and Wilson got a little better as the year went on but was by no means dominant. The oft-injured Neal made no impact in seven games last season after he returned from a knee injury and will miss at least the first four games of this season after being suspended for violation the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Guy, a seventh-round draft pick last year, probably wouldn’t have made the team anyway but spent all of last season on injured reserve because of a concussion. He’s raw. Jones spent most of last season on the practice squad.
THE FUTURE: The Packers need another starter. They haven’t re-signed run stopper Howard Green but still could. Even if they do, they’re likely to use a draft pick or two — and possibly their first pick — to address this position.
Among those who might be considered by the Packers at No. 28 include Penn State’s Devon Still, Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy, Connecticut’s Kendall Reyes and Clemson’s Brandon Thompson.
Demovsky can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @RobDemovsky.