Strengthening the defensive line already needed to be a priority for the Green Bay Packers this offseason. That’s especially true now.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Jarran Reed is signing with the Seattle Seahawks, which means he won’t be returning to the Packers.
Reed started 14 games for the Packers this past season, making 2.5 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, along with a career-best 52 tackles.
Another starter for Green Bay, Dean Lowry, will become a free agent on Wednesday.
Green Bay’s top three defensive linemen now are Pro Bowler Kenny Clark, 2022 first-round pick Devonte Wyatt, and 2021 fifth-round pick T.J. Slaton.
That’s a good start, but the Packers need to add more talent to the defensive line this offseason. Not only do they need more depth, but potentially another starter.
Wyatt should see an increase in snaps with Reed gone.
Potential free-agent targets could include Fletcher Cox, Poona Ford, and Sheldon Rankins.
If Green Bay looks for defensive line depth in the 2023 NFL Draft, possible targets are Clemson’s Bryan Bresee and Pitt’s Calijah Kancey on Day 1, and Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton on Day 2.
Even if Green Bay re-signs free-agent Dean Lowry, upgrading the defensive line should be a priority this offseason.
The Packers struggled to stop the run this past season, a familiar story. Green Bay ranked 26th against the run, allowing 139.5 rushing yards per game. They also allowed 5.0 yards per carry, fifth-most in the NFL.
Improving the defensive line would go a long way to fixing the run defense issues.
Kenny Clark is still a star player. Devonte Wyatt should improve in year two after impressing in his rookie season. T.J. Slaton is also a talented player.
But the Packers need to continue to build their defensive line. Don’t be surprised if they use another early draft pick on a defensive lineman, especially after losing Jarran Reed in free agency.