While it was B.J. Raji’s retirement and Mike Pennel’s suspension that put the Packers’ defensive line under the microscope, in reality was a need anyway. Defensively, the Packers have been too soft up front for far too long, with an inability to shut down running games consistently.
Raji would have offered good depth had he returned in 2016, but if he was a regular starter the unit would have run into some more problems. Letroy Guion was the choice initially, re-signing with the Packers to lock down his spot at defensive tackle.
In the draft, Green Bay added UCLA defensive tackle Kenny Clark in the first round and five-technique Dean Lowry in the fourth. Clark will likely be a starter from day one at either nose tackle or defensive end, while Lowry will be more of a situational player off the bat with the potential to grow into a starter down the line.
Clark’s best work comes against the run, and at just 20-years-old there’s the hope he develops into something special over the coming years.
The Packers now have plenty of youth along their front three, especially when Pennel returns from his four games on the sideline.
Next: Tight end