The Green Bay Packers’ final selection in the NFL Draft (No. 230) followed the same logic as most of the team’s other picks since the first round – that is to say, no logic existed. The Packers selected C.J. Wilson, a defensive end from East Carolina.
On the surface you have to question why the Packers selected a second defensive lineman in this year’s draft – the team selected Purdue defensive end Mike Neal in the second round – when the defensive line is one of the team’s strengths. If you dig a little deeper, you’d have to question why the Packers would select a defensive end who played in the 4-3 system, when they run a 3-4.
Yup, that’s right. Wilson was a 4-3 defensive end and he doesn’t look like the kind of guy the Packers can turn into a 3-4 outside linebacker. Wilson is 6-3, 290, which is a bit on the large size for a rush linebacker.
So that begs the question – where the hell does this guy fit in? The short answer is, right now, he doesn’t.
Wilson will either have to bulk up to play defensive end in the 3-4 or, most likely, slim down to try his hand at outside linebacker. On the positive side, Wilson is described as a strong, tough player who possesses the intangibles.
Here’s NFL.com’s analysis of Wilson.
Wilson is a productive, versatile defender who has lined up at different spots along the line. He is an instinctive player who has shown good edge quickness and speed when rushing the passer. Possesses natural range in pursuit. Displays impressive hand-use toughness. Is highly competitive with a good motor.
Wilson only exhibits average lateral agility and doesn’t appear comfortable playing in space. Needs to become more consistent with his pad level. At this time, he only possesses a limited pass-rush package. Needs to improve his counter rush moves.
He’ll actually bulk up a bit and play as a backup to Cullen Jenkins.
For all of us who are not exactly excited about this draft, go back and look at the 2001 crop. There’s no way this one could be worse than that.
“… you’d have to question why the Packers would select a defensive end who played in the 4-3 system, when they run a 3-4.”
Ummm, maybe because almost nobody plays a 3-4 in college. Pro teams that run the 3-4 have to make projections on just about every college defensive end and outside linebacker – otherwise they’d be limited to choosing players from about 5 schools.
“Ummm, maybe because almost nobody plays a 3-4 in college”
Colorado, USC, Utah, Virginia, do but they mostly play 2-gap. Most College’s play a 2 gap 4-3 because it’s hard to find big guys who can move, it’s easier to find big guys who can eat blocks. That’s why 3 technique Tackles/5 technique De’s are harder to find because they need to have wheels (think McCoy and Suh). In a 4-3 you only need one of those guys, the NT eats a double team and the 3-tech shoots the gap to get inside pressure. But in a single gap 3-4 (like the Packers and Steelers, but not the Patriots or Cowboys) you need two. They’ll line up at 3 or 5 depending on the package
Thus the Packers drafting two this year (both very strong and very fast guys at 290 and 300 lbs). With 4 De’s and 2 NT’s they can rotate to keep the Line fresh (Raji is wasted at De) to be strong up the middle and collapse the pocket, let the let the Mlb’s cover the flat instead of the run and the Olb’s will have a field day cleaning up the mess. It’s organized Chaos.
Instead of listening to all the experts stop and think about the Packers D Line last year. No lineman could rush the passer except Jenkins. Look in the record books and you will see Jolly, Raji, Pickett are all poor pash rushers. Now compare there sack numbers with other good 3/4 teams and you will note a weakness. We need lineman to cave the middle like the Jets and others. Both Neal and Wilson will allow us to put some pressure on and utilize Jenkins in a flexible capacity.