Packers: Evaluating each position on defense ahead of free agency

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 28: Clay Matthews
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 28: Clay Matthews /
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GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 25: Kenny Clark /

Defensive linemen

Kenny Clark is showing early signs of dominance. Clark ate up double teams and showed enough of a pass rush to give offenses something to worry about. If he can take another step in his development, he could be looking at a trip to the Pro Bowl, if not bigger accolades very soon.

On defense there is no-one who plays with more heart than Mike Daniels. He is a fierce competitor with an Aaron Rodgers-sized chip on his shoulder. Daniels had a tough season due to an early injury, yet was still able to overcome said injury to finish off another good year. Daniels went to his first ever Pro Bowl this season as a replacement. If he keeps up on this path I feel his next trip will not be as an alternate.

Clark and Daniels together gives Mike Pettine a solid 1-2 punch on the inside. Both are smart players who are equally good against the run and pass.

Dean Lowry, like Clark, took a step in the right direction in his second year. Lowry is not as talented as Clark or Daniels but had a solid, if unspectacular, second year and should continue to grow.

Montravius Adams had an injury slow his first-year development. Prior to the injury he was getting rave reviews from fellow defensive linemen. A full offseason should allow Adams to grow. If he can show the quick step he had in college he can be a fine rotational player.

Quinton Dial proved to be a worthy investment when picked up after training camp. Dial manned multiple positions on the D-line and was a welcomed veteran addition.

Verdict: Brian Gutekunst should re-sign Dial but, I don’t see a major need for investment on the D-line. A healthy offseason should help Adams develop, and as long as Clark and Daniels continue to play at a high level, the D-line is in good hands.

Lowry will provide solid depth and if Dial is re-signed there won’t be much room for additions.

While I don’t expect this unit to be overlooked this offseason, I think any additions will be through late-round draft picks or veteran depth type players, with the coaching staff looking to continue the development of the young players on hand.