Oregon Ducks defensive lineman DeForest Buckner (44). Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Future Draft Need: Defensive Line
Now, I believe the Packers will work hard to re-sign Daniels prior to free agency in March, but if the two sides can’t come to an agreement or if they lose Raji and Guion, defense line will have to be a priority going into the 2016 draft.
Fortunately for them, defensive line appears to be one of the deepest groups of the 2016 draft class. Green Bay will have ample opportunity to replenish their defensive front with some of the best players coming out of college football.
The Packers may choose to go this route instead of handing over lucrative deals to both Daniels and Raji.
CFB Players to Watch
Baylor Bears defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75). Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
A guy every Packers fan should pay attention to is Baylor nose tackle Andrew Billings. A bulky 6-1 and 300 pounds, Billings is dominant at the point of attack.
There may not be a better player in all of college football at controlling the line of scrimmage and closing out rushing lanes. Billings also shows good short area burst and can create interior pressure on passing downs.
He’s one of the few three-down interior defensive linemen coming out of college this spring.
Robert Nkemdiche out of Ole Miss may be the top interior defensive lineman in college football, but considering he’ll be well out of reach from the Packers selection, Billings might be the best prospect with a chance at landing in Green Bay next spring.
However, out of all the top defensive line prospects my favorite to watch is Oregon’s DeForest Buckner. He’s a freak athlete at defensive end. Towering at 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds, he has the strength to trash tackles on the edge, while also possessing the quickness and twitch to shed blocks and disrupt the backfield.
He’s a rare talent on the defensive line. He can two-gap as a 3-4 defensive end and eat up blocks, or he can move inside and create pressure as an interior rusher. Think Datone Jones but with better strength, fundamentals, and ability against the run.
Other DLs to Track: UCLA’s Kenny Clark is an exciting interior defensive lineman with quick twitch and explosive ability, while Alabama’s interior duo of A’Shawn Robinson and Jarran Reed are special to watch and could land in the first two rounds of the draft.
Aldolphus Washington (Ohio State) and Sheldon Day (Notre Dame) make a ton of plays on really good ball clubs, which deserves some merit in the draft evaluation process. However, they’re a bit undersized and are not ideal fits in the Packers 3-4 front. Despite this, they still make plenty of plays to warrant your attention.
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