It is fair to say that the Green Bay Packers have a tougher and deeper defensive line than they have had in years. They have everything they need to be great.
They have experience, youth, talent, size, and strength on their side. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry worked wonders with this defense as a whole in 2021.
His defense is even more talented in 2022. It all starts up front with the defensive line, which will be the anchor of that side of the ball starting at training camp in July.
Here are the most likely candidates at DT that will be selected for the 53-man roster before Week 1:
Packers 53-man roster predictions: Defensive line
Kenny Clark: The interior of the defensive line starts with Kenny Clark. He is the leader. The two-time Pro Bowl selection set a career high in QB hits, hurries, QB knockdowns, and pressures in 2021, per Pro Football Reference.
He is always around the opposing QB. What is so great about big No. 97 is that he is entering his seventh career season and is still just 26 years of age. He is both experienced and young. That is a unique combo that defenses don’t always get.
Jarran Reed: The free-agent signed with the Packers this spring. At his best, Reed is one of the top-level interior defensive linemen in the league. The former Alabama star’s career high in sacks is 10.5, which he set in Seattle in 2018.
That is a lot for any interior defensive lineman not named Aaron Donald.
Reed is coming off a solid season in Kansas City in which he set a career high in forced fumbles. He also set the second-best marks of his career in hurries and QB knockdowns, per Pro Football Reference.
Another important note on Reed is that he is durable. Aside from his rookie season in 2016, he has started every single game he has played in during his six-year career.
Devonte Wyatt: The former Georgia Bulldog was selected with the 28th overall pick in the first round of April’s NFL Draft. Wyatt was simply one of the best defensive players in college football last season. He was a first-team All-SEC selection.
At 6-3 and weighing 305 lbs, Wyatt ran a 4.77 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He has elite speed and powerful effort. He is going to be a disruptor for years to come on Lombardi Avenue.
T.J. Slaton: The second-year player from Florida might very well be the X-factor for this line. At 6-4 and weighing 330 lbs, Slaton has all the strength you’d want in a disruptive defensive lineman. He didn’t get much playing time last season due to Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, and Tyler Lancaster sitting in front of him.
But now, Slaton has the opportunity to get more playing time in 2022. As a rookie, Slaton made 23 total tackles, one sack, and he also blocked a field goal. Slaton is the largest defensive tackle expected to make the roster. Count on him to take a big jump in his sophomore season.
Dean Lowry: The former Northwestern Wildcat needed a big year in some form last season to keep his tenure in Green Bay moving. He did that.
Lowry set a career-high in sacks and QB hits. He has played each game in each of the last three seasons. He, like Kenny Clark and Jarran Reed, will be entering his seventh career season. His experience and bounce-back season are why he will make the Packers’ roster this summer.