Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels will be key to the Green Bay Packers’ success on defense in 2019.
While the spotlight of the offseason has been on the Green Bay Packers‘ new-look pass rush featuring free agency signings Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, and first-round draft pick Rashan Gary, the success of this defense begins with the defensive line.
When Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels are both on the field, the Packers’ defensive tackle duo is tough to match. Both players are important in run defense, but equally they are able to generate the interior pass rush that is key in Mike Pettine’s system.
Clark’s rise as one of the most talented young defensive linemen in the NFL continued last season with six sacks and nine quarterback hits, setting career-highs in both categories for the third consecutive year.
Daniels missed almost half the year due to injury, but over the past five seasons he has 20.5 sacks and 56 quarterback hits.
Both Clark and Daniels are so important to this defense, and the Packers need them to stay healthy. They missed a combined nine games last year and both finished the season on injured reserve.
Green Bay’s defense now has players who can win their matchups on the edge and generate pressure, but in Pettine’s system, it’s so important to have players who can dominate up front along the defensive line.
He may move his pass rushers around, as Za’Darius Smith could spend some time inside, as could Rashan Gary, but the Packers will also need both players to line up at outside linebacker. Green Bay also has solid depth along the defensive line, especially after drafting Kingsley Keke on Day 3 this past April.
But despite all of the new additions on defense, it’s Clark and Daniels — who both made the Top 100 NFL Players of 2019 rankings by Pete Prisco of CBS Sports — who will set the Packers up for success on defense this season.