LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

The Green Bay Packers' defensive line depth chart got a little less crowded Monday afternoon when they released defensive tackle Josh Boyd, the team announced.

Boyd, a 2013 fifth-round pick, missed all of last season with a broken ankle suffered in the preseason. He was thought to be competing for a role in the defensive line rotation, but instead the Packers have moved on.

Without Boyd, the Packers could have thin depth for their opener Sept. 11 in Jacksonville. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji retired this offseason, and the Packers will be without defensive end Mike Pennel through the first four games because of a suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Datone Jones, a 2012 first-round pick, is expected to be used more as an outside linebacker/elephant rusher this season. With Pennel suspended, Jones could play more defensive end snaps early in the season, especially as an inside rusher in the nickel subpackage.

The Packers aggressively targeted the defensive line in this spring's draft. They took UCLA nose tackle Kenny Clark with the 27th overall pick, hoping he can replace Raji early in his career. Clark could start to open the season between three-technique defensive tackle Mike Daniels and five-technique defensive end Letroy Guion.

The Packers also drafted Northwestern defensive end Dean Lowry with the 137th overall pick in the fourth round. At 6-foot-6 and 296 pounds, Lowry has an ideal frame to play five-tech defensive end in a 3-4 defense.

Boyd's release could also be a sign the Packers liked what they saw from an undrafted rookie during rookie orientation this past weekend.

The Packers also released practice-squad offensive tackle Jeremy Vujnovich, as well as undrafted rookies DT William Campbell, TE David Grinnage and WR Dennis Parks.

rwood@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE