Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji (90). Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
2. DEFENSIVE LINE
Defensive end Mike Daniels has been one of the top players on defense this season for the Packers, but the play of the other defensive linemen has been very inconsistent.
Letroy Guion gives great effort but at times is outmatched by more athletic offensive linemen. However, for the most part this one-year experiment has worked out and Guion has exceeded expectations, demonstrating ability as an interior pass rusher (3.5 sacks and 13 QB ressures). He should be re-signed and back in Green Bay after this season
Minnesota Vikings running back Joe Banyard (23) is tackled by Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones (95). Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Second-year players Datone Jones and Josh Boyd have played a lot of snaps but have put together disappointing seasons so far. For a former first-round pick, Jones has underperformed and does very little to impact the game, his interception Sunday in Tampa Bay being his only splash play of note this year.
Like Guion, Boyd gives a lot of effort but is frequently physically outmatched and pushed around at the line. Boyd isn’t a starter in this league, but he’s adequate as a backup or playing a minimal role in base defense.
On top of all this, the Packers may be without former starting nose tackle B.J. Raji, who was placed on injured reserve in the preseason. Raji is in the final year of his contract and could be costly to re-sign.
The fact he’s coming off a major injury and has struggled the past few seasons may help the Packers in negotiating a reasonable price for his return, but that all may depend on how much Raji is willing to compromise to return to Green Bay.
Too many question marks at the position and the need to get stouter up front, especially against the run, make defensive line one of the top positions for the Packers to consider early on in the draft come April.
Prospects to watch in CFB Bowl games:
Malcom Brown (Texas) in Texas Bowl on Dec. 29th
Shawn Oakman (Baylor) in Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1st
Eddie Goldman (Florida State) in Rose Bowl on Jan. 1st
Danny Shelton (Washington) in Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2nd