For the past two seasons the Green Bay Packers have usually kept about 5 or 6 players on the defensive line. With the departure of BJ Raji and Josh Boyd, as well as the four game suspension of Mike Pennel, the Packers’ defensive front will certainly have a significantly different face in 2016.
It appears that there are four locks coming into training camp: Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion, first round rookie Kenny Clark, and fourth round rookie Dean Lowry. Daniels is often lined up at 3-technique defensive end, Clark is slated to move into the nose tackle spot vacated by Raji, Lowry is expected to play 5-technique defensive end, and Guion can play nearly anywhere on the line. That doesn’t leave any glaring holes, but the need for depth and competition is paramount with so much youth at the position.
Mike Pennel is likely to make the final roster give his familiarity with the defense, but his suspension certainly does not help his case. Behind Pennel is a bevvy of young players who’ve had little to no NFL playing experience. Christian Ringo and BJ McBryde come into their second year in the NFL after Ringo spent last season on the practice squad for Green Bay and McBryde was placed on IR for the Philadelphia Eagles before being released in October. Tyler Kuder (Idaho St.), Brian Price (University of Texas – San Antonio), and Demetris Anderson (University of Central Florida) are all undrafted rookies who will face an uphill climb to make the roster, but certainly have a shot with at least one or two roster spots up for grabs.
Ringo was a sack machine at Louisiana-Lafayette but failed to sufficiently impress last year in training camp in order to make the final roster. The Packers usually commit to their drafted players at least for one year but Ringo was cut and allowed to hit waivers before being resigned to the practice squad. With that being said, Ringo also received a major pay increase from the Packers which certainly shows that the team expects him to make a good run at the roster in 2016.
At 6-5 and 303 lbs, McBryde has the size that garnered interest from the Packers, but he missed all of last year and has yet to see playing time in the NFL.
Kuder was named to the Big Sky Conference’s All First Team in 2015 where he racked up a whopping 92 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
Price is an intriguing player who has battled injuries at UTSA and likely hurt his opportunities at being drafted by getting into an altercation with a referee in 2014. However, he’s a hard working player who received interest from multiple NFL teams as an undrafted rookie.
Anderson is attempting to break into the NFL after missing all of his senior season due to injury.
The Packers will keep Daniels, Guion, Clark, Lowry, Ringo, and Price while Pennel serves his 4 game suspension. The Packers will cut Price to make room for Pennel to return in Week 5.——————
Taylor O\'Neill is a Packer fan born and raised in Oshkosh, WI. He currently lives in Florida and is pursuing his PhD. Taylor is a writer with PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TaylorONeill87 for more Packer news.