2022 Packers NFL Draft Preview: Defensive Line

Moving onto the first defensive position group of the 2022 NFL Draft preview, the Green Bay Packers are likely paying close attention to this year’s group of defensive linemen. As the team has needs both on the interior of the line and at the edge position (to give both Kenny Clark and Rashan Gary some help), don’t be surprised if one of their first-round selections is used on a player from this group.

There are quite a few high-end options in this group, as the likes of Aidan Hutchinson, Travon Walker, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Jordan Davis lead their respective position groups and likely will be off the board by the time the Packers are on the clock, barring a trade up.

Tackles

The Georgia Bulldogs boasted one of the strongest collegiate defensive units we have seen in a long time, so it is no shock that they are going to be providing a ton of talent infusion to the league in this year’s draft class.

Davis looks to be the best interior option in this year’s class, and the gap between him and the rest of the field looks to be quite large. His time as a Bulldog saw him showcase elite lane-clogging skills, which looks to come naturally for the 6’6”, 341 tackle.

Outside of Davis, his Georgia teammate Devonte Wyatt, DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M), Phidarian Mathis (Alabama), Travis Jones (Connecticut), and Perrion Winfrey (Oklahoma) are all likely Day 1/2 picks this year, showcasing just how deep this class is. All six of these named options are likely Day 1 starting material, depending on what scheme they enter into.

Edge Rushers

This group is even deeper than the DT class, which is really saying something.

Outside of Hutchinson, who is in the running to be the first overall selection, the likes of Walker, Thibodeaux, Jermaine Johnson II (Florida State), David Ojabo (Michigan), George Kalaftis (Purdue), and others have a ton of talent and will make whichever team drafts them very happy.

Hutchinson and Thibodeaux are the two top prospects out of this star-studded group, and both offer different strengths (and weaknesses) in their game.

For Hutchinson, flexibility and explosiveness is the name of his game, and while reading opposing run formations and shorter arms could allow for opponents to push him around at times, he has a huge ceiling, not matched by many prospects this year.

Thibodeaux has been falling during the draft cycle for various reasons, none of which truly show up when rewatching his tape. His speed and pass-rush moves are surpassed by no one in this class and his motor helps overcome his average hand usage and work-in-progress techniques that people in the industry have identified.

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Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23

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