For once, the Green Bay Packers are deep at defensive line – and that’s despite the Friday release of Anthony Hargrove.
The improvement of the Packers 2011 32nd place ranking starts with the front and Ted Thompson clearly understands that fact. This past offseason he strengthened the team’s depth at the position by drafting Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels, picking up Daniel Muir and Phillip Merling in free agency to add to veterans Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, C.J. Wilson, and Mike Neal. Throw in Lawrence Guy, the lineman who was on IR all last season, and you’ve got a base of players who will vie for spots on the 53-man roster.
With Raji, Pickett and Worthy as the only linemen who I would consider locks, it’s going to be very interesting the next couple of weeks as Ted Thompson and company have some really difficult choices.
I once heard there were two free agent periods – the first one in March and the second one when the Packers reduce their roster before the start of the regular season. That could be the case this year as there will be several quality players who will be snatched up quickly by teams across the league. Though Hargrove probably won’t be one who gets picked up any time soon because of his bountygate suspension, he might be of value to a team that’s looking to boost its defensive line midway through the season – that’s when Hargrove would become available.
In fact, I wouldn’t even count the Packers out at that point. We all know how injuries to a couple key players at a position can put a team at a huge disadvantage. If the Packers do suffer from a lack of depth on the line, Thompson might take a look back at Hargrove … but that’s pure speculation at this point.
Right now, the Packers are deep at the position and should be well-stocked for the regular season.