The Green Bay Packers didn’t make many additions along the defensive line this offseason, which means they will be relying on the development of the young defensive tackles on the roster.
One of those players is Kingsley Keke, a fifth-round pick by the Packers two years ago. Keke improved in his second season and had a couple of notable performances, which we’ll come to in a moment.
If Keke can continue to improve, he can be a great starter in Joe Barry’s defense.
Keke played in 14 games last season, starting nine. He made 21 tackles and four sacks, as well as forcing a fumble.
Keke had an increased role on defense for the Packers in 2020 compared to his rookie year. His defensive snap counts went up about four times, and he also started nine games after starting none in his rookie season.
He also made a bigger impact on defense, particularly in two games.
Keke made two sacks in the Week 3 victory over the New Orleans Saints, showing his potential as an interior pass rusher. He then had another double-sack performance against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 12. Two excellent performances, but also the only sacks Keke had all year.
Keke definitely improved in his second season and showed how good he can be. If he can improve his consistency and make an even bigger impact, he can help the defensive line take a step forward.
Will he make the roster?
Yes, and Keke should be near the top of the depth chart at defensive tackle. Don’t be surprised if he’s a starter next to Kenny Clark in most games.
What to expect in 2021
Keke is an important player for the Packers in 2021. If he can continue to improve and impact games like he did against the Saints and Eagles more regularly, he can have a very strong season.
The Packers didn’t make many changes to the defensive line outside of drafting T.J. Slaton on Day 3. That shows confidence in the players already on the roster, including Keke as he enters year three.
Keke is a player to watch. He’s shown the potential to be a very good player. Now he needs to build on his best performances from a year ago.