Defensive line (4)
Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke, Montravius Adams
Four defensive linemen might leave the Packers a little thin at the position, but I think they will want to play the Smiths and Gary all on the field together whenever they can. They’ve shown they will line Za’Darius Smith up on the defensive line and have Preston Smith and Rashan Gary at linebacker. I’m sure they’ll also be able to put Gary on the line as well. Having the ability to play some linebackers on the line will give the Packers some flexibility with the numbers of defensive linemen they have.
The Packers locked Clark up for the next five years, but outside of him, the line is largely unproven. Lowry earned a nice contract before last season but didn’t live up to the contract in 2019. I’m sure he’ll be looking to have a bounce-back this season. This season is also a big one for Keke. Hopefully, he can take a nice step during his second season, because so far, Adams has been a bit of a disappointment.
Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Christian Kirksey, Rashan Gary, Kamal Martin, Oren Burks, Jonathan Garvin
With the flexibility of the linebackers, I think the Packers will be willing to keep more of them on their roster. The Smiths are obvious locks, along with Kirskey and Gary. After that, I think it gets more interesting. Burks was in line to be the starting linebacker last season beside Blake Martinez, but an injury in the preseason derailed that. After he came back, he never really got back onto the field.
Now, Burks has another shot, but fifth-round pick Martin may be earning that spot. He has been making a ton of plays this training camp. He has the ability to cover and play the run. Burks, on the other hand, is more of a cover linebacker, lacking in the ability to stop the run. In the aforementioned Locked on Packers episode, Peter Bukowski talks about the possibility of Martin starting in the base defense beside Kirksey, and then Burks coming in for the passing downs.
I also wanted to mention that rookie Garvin has been a force rushing the passer in camp. He’s a guy I look forward to watching when he can get on the field behind a stacked outside linebacker group.