What to know about Tedarrell 'TJ' Slaton, Packers' fifth-round draft pick and Florida defensive lineman
GREEN BAY - With the 173rd overall pick in the fifth round of the NFL draft Saturday, the Green Bay Packers selected Florida defensive lineman Tedarrell "TJ" Slaton. The Packers hope that Slaton can help their run defense.
The Packers needed some size up front to bolster their defense and the 6-foot-4, 330-pound Slaton is one big dude. He gives the team another large body alongside star nose tackle Kenny Clark. Slaton's statistics don't jump off the page, but he moves well for his size.
Hand size: 9⅛
Arm length: 32⅝
3.5 tackles for loss in 12 games for the Gators in 2020.
Started all 12 games at defensive tackle in 2020
Played 45 games at Florida, notching 98 tackles and 3.5 sacks
Had a tackle in every game in 2020
U.S. Army All-American as senior in 2017 at American Heritage High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Packers hope Slaton can help out with stopping the run. He is big enough to play right away. But Slaton has struggled with his weight, so the team will need to watch that.
Slaton met the local media via conference call Saturday. Here are some highlights.
On playing with Clark: "I'm just going up there willing to learn. Get all the advice that he can give me and just see if we can click on the field together. Just cause some disruption."
On switching to defensive line in college: "It was something I wanted to do. All throughout high school I wanted to play defense. Florida just gave me the opportunity to finally play defense. I just took it and ran with it."
On how he can help Packers: "Definitely on the run. And definitely in pass situations. I feel like I'm a great player when it comes to run and pass. But I think I'm really going to make an impact on the run game."
Arrived at Florida as an offensive lineman then switched to other side of the ball
Slaton helped lead American Heritage to FHSAA 5A state titles in 2014 and 2016
His high school boasted several NFL prospects, including cornerback Patrick Surtain II who was drafted ninth overall by the Denver Broncos
Said he prefers to go by "TJ" because people mispronounce his first name
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein: Massive man with evenly distributed body weight that will have him pegged as a nose in either even or odd fronts. While the traits say run-plugger, the tape does not. He doesn't control the point of attack with power and frequently gave ground to double teams and angle blocks. He has the power to handle single blocks and might be able to strengthen the anchor if his bend and leverage can be improved. He's a try-hard rusher whose athleticism creates more pressure than expected. He has late-round value and might become a developmental prospect on a practice squad.
NFLDraftNetwork.com draft analyst Jordan Reid: Tedarrell Slaton is an impressively built interior defensive line prospect. He's listed at nearly 360 pounds, but looks much slimmer than his listed weight — he looks around 330 pounds and carries his weight well with an evenly distributed body structure. Leverage is the name of his game and he often starts low in his stance. He’s able to remain at that level throughout the duration of reps. An extremely powerful player at the point of attack, he makes it difficult for double teams to move him off of his spots.