The 2014 Green Bay Packers: Top Storylines at Each Position
By Dan Dahlke
Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95) works on fundamental drills during opening day of training camp. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
DEFENSIVE LINE: What will the Packers defensive front look like?
Projecting the Packers starters at defensive line seems nearly impossible at this point.
We know B.J. Raji will move back to his natural position at nose tackle. Hopefully, he flourishes there like he did in 2010.
The Packers seem to lack other big bodies to play base in their 3-4 front. Recently acquired Letroy Guion and second-year player Josh Boyd seem big enough to anchor in base and develop into effective run stuffers.
But is there room to keep both players on their roster?
Beyond these three, the Packers seem to have a bunch of disrupt and penetrate type of defensive linemen, who excel as one-gap interior rushers.
Mike Daniels is the best of this group and will continue to be a key contributor as one of the two down linemen in the Packers’ nickel packages.
Third-year player and former second-round pick Jerel Worthy may be productive in a similar role as well after not playing the entire last season because of injury.
The Packers third-round pick, Khyri Thornton, may also make an immediate impact as an interior rusher in sub-packages.
Last year’s first-round pick, Datone Jones, seems to be the wildcard at the position going into this season. After only seeing limited playing time last year, Jones should make a big jump in his second year.
He’s one of the few defensive lineman on the roster who has both the size and strength to hold up at end in base and the quick-twitch and pass rush ability to generate pressure in sub-packages.
With Julius Peppers and Mike Neal also playing DE/OLB hybrid roles, it remains to be seen just how the Packers front seven will take shape this season.