Kenny Clark may finally have some legitimate help up front.
Many believe football is won and lost in the trenches, and the Green Bay Packers have been known to invest draft capital into the big guys up front… at least on offense. The defensive line has been a weak point in Green Bay for the better part of a decade and since 2016 Kenny Clark has headlined an otherwise pretty weak unit. That seems to have shifted this offseason, with the additions of veteran DT Jarran Reed and first round selection out of Georgia, DL Devonte Wyatt.
Wyatt, along with Eagles first round selection Jordan Davis, helped to solidify a Georgia defensive line that was greatly revered in the college football world for its physicality and dominance during their championship run. At 6’3″ and 304 pounds Wyatt looks to translate his physical dominance to the NFL level and go on a similar run with the Packers, since he was a much needed piece of their puzzle.
The Packers haven’t spent a first round pick on a defensive lineman (not including Rashan Gary, who was technically a DE out of Michigan before being switched to OLB) since Ted Thompson knocked it out of the park selecting Kenny Clark. The Packers usually employ solid pass rushers, but as far as the middle of the defensive line, Clark hasn’t had a major player next to him since Mike Daniels was finishing up his tenure in Green Bay.
Wyatt appears to have all of the pieces to move seamlessly to the NFL level. It may ultimately take him a few years to really step up his game, similar to Kenny Clark’s NFL path, but he will likely be able to contribute early on as well. If there was ever a time for Green Bay to look into a strong and sizable player who can stop the run, it was now.
Green Bay’s defensive front has specialized in pass rushing for a while now and seemingly ignored the issue of run defense. It really feels like Wyatt can help turn things around and establish a presence as a sturdy run defender. If even a fraction of Wyatt’s size and athleticism translates on game days, the rookie will be in good shape.
Veteran DT Jarran Reed looks to shore up a defensive line unit that seems to have as much talent as it has in years. The 29-year-old has a more pass rushing acumen than the average defensive tackle in the league, and that’s already a strength for the Packers. It is yet to be seen if the improved linebacking core can help this line with stopping the run, but it seems as though Green Bay will be as deadly as ever when it comes to rushing the QB.
If Reed can play with solid technique like he has since his Alabama days, he will be able to contribute in commendable fashion whenever he is on the field. However, If Reed can flourish under the Packers defense that has recently seemed to renew the strengths of veteran defenders — like De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas — the league should be warned.
What is the Defense’s New Potential?
Overall the Packers have the workings to boast a flashy, turnover-producing, top-5 defense in the league in the 2022 season. The veteran addition as well as the two first round picks on defense will bolster a unit that already looked impressive with injuries in 2021.
With a talented defensive line it is possible that Green Bay will have no real weakness on its defense anymore, which can very well be a scary prospect for opposing quarterbacks very soon.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.