As Mike Trgovac observed from the sideline this season, Ryan Pickett didn’t look the part of a 33-year-old veteran playing one of the league’s most grueling positions.
In most cases, what the Green Bay Packers’ defensive line coach saw was the same hungry defensive tackle he absorbed in 2009 when he was brought in as a part of Dom Capers’ staff.
Going into next season, Trgovac isn’t expecting that to change.
Now a veteran of 12 NFL seasons, Pickett continues to produce in the heart of the Packers’ base defensive front. Often a defensive lineman’s durability is questioned once they eclipse the 30-year-old threshold, but Pickett appears to still have something left.
A first-round pick by St. Louis in 2000, Pickett hasn’t posed much of a threat in the pass rush since the Packers moved to the 3-4 – he has one sack in his last 57 games – but his ability to eat up blockers and clog the middle have been important facets of the team’s run defense.
The lack of specialty numbers limit his Pro Bowl attractiveness, but he was as consistent as any defensive lineman the Packers had on the roster this season despite being the unit’s most senior member by seven years.
“I think Ryan has some more football left in him. I really do,” said Trgovac, who estimated Pickett played roughly 100 more snaps than he did a season ago.
"He was able to stay healthy this year. He came into training camp in relatively good shape. He fits our defense very well and takes a lot of pride in what he does. I didn’t see him fall off at all this year. I think he definitely has another good year left in him.”
Pickett, who turns 34 next October, had 51 tackles this year to mark his most productive year on the Packers' defensive line since signing with the team in free agency in 2006. He had 64 tackles that year.
Next season, will be in the final year of the four-year extension he signed in 2010 next season. He’s scheduled to make $5.4 million with a roster bonus of $500,000 due in March.
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