Packers: Position group rankings ahead of training camp

Green Bay Packers, Mike Daniels (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Mike Daniels (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark
GREEN BAY, WI – SEPTEMBER 25: Kenny Clark /

2. Defensive line

Starters: Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Muhammad Wilkerson

In the mix: Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, James Looney, Conor Sheehy, Tyler Lancaster, Joey Mbu

Mike Daniels went to his first Pro Bowl in 2017, finally being recognized for the solid player he is. Kenny Clark ended the season with 4.5 sacks in December, while holding up strong at the point-of-attack.

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Dean Lowry had a solid season. He took the second-year jump Mike McCarthy looks for in players. Those three, along with Montravius Adams, made a solid nucleus coming out of 2017.

The unit was made stronger with the signing of Muhammad Wilkerson. Although Wilkerson’s last two years left a lot to be desired, he isn’t far removed from a pair of double-digit sack seasons.

The defensive line could be the strength and core of the Packers’ defense this season. There is enough depth to withstand injuries and provide rotational value. Signing Wilkerson to a one-year deal gives him enough incentive to once again establish his worth.

This group is deep, talented and experienced. Daniels, Clark and Wilkerson are three solid starters capable of holding up against the run and collapsing the pocket in pass rush. Lowry is a solid backup/rotational player capable of stepping in if one of the starters go down. Should Adams develop the way Lowry did, the defensive line will be even stronger and deeper, able to provide a constant wave of talented big men after opposing offensive lines.

New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to play to the strengths of his players, and he has a lot to work with on the D-line. If Pettine uses a more penetrating attack up front, we could see as many as three players on the line with at least 5-6 sacks. That may not seem like much, but should the line obtain that number of sacks and open up more opportunities for linebackers, the defense will be a disruptive force.

The defensive line will be able to hold up fine with an injury to one of the starters. The only worry would be if Clark goes down for an extended period of time.