RD 4: Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern
Why they picked Lowry
With plenty of running back and offensive line talent still on the board at the end of the fourth round, many were surprised the Packers used another pick to address the defensive front seven.
However, towering at 6-foot-6 and 296 pounds Lowry gives Green Bay a different body type than they’ve had at the position previously. He’s a true five-technique defensive end–a position so key to the 3-4 defense but something the Packers have rarely had during the Dom Capers era.
Previously filled by guys like Ryan Pickett or Johnny Jolly, the closest Green Bay has come to the tall broad frame necessary to play as a two-gap defensive end was the Packers 2013 first round pick, Datone Jones, who weighs in at 6-foot-4 and a 285 pounds.
With Jones being a bit of miscast at the position and now making the transition to outside linebacker to rush the passer, the Packers needed to take a guy like Lowry at some point in the draft to serve as a run-stopping strong side defensive end on their defensive line.
Much has been made of Lowry’s short arms (31 inches), but on film, he’s a powerful player who plays with a strong base and good leverage. He’s excellent at holding the point of attack, sealing off the edge against the run, and can even make plays in the backfield.
He recorded 31.5 tackles for loss at Northwestern to go along with 12.5 career sacks and 18 quarterback hurries.
Lowry’s role in 2016
At this point, it appears the Packers starting three defensive linemen in base will be Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, and Letroy Guion, but Lowry could play a rational role and contend for some snaps throughout the season.
He was also one of the most productive interior pass rushers in the 2016 draft class lined up over guard, so he could get some looks as one of the Packers’ two down-linemen in their oft-used nickel defense.
A healthy rotation of Daniels, Clark, Guion and Lowry looks pretty formidable on paper. Hopefully, Lowry can offer similar production in the NFL as he showed in college.
Lowry was credited with 17 pass breakups at the line of scrimmage over this three years as a starter, showing his non-stop motor and awareness to get his hands up at the line.
Overall, he’s a blue-collar, no-nonsense player who shouldn’t have a problem carving out a role for himself on the defense.
Next: Trevor Davis' fit?