The Green Bay Packers continue to look at defensive linemen and their latest target may be the most intriguing — San Francisco 49ers lineman Ricky Jean Francois (6-3, 295).
Francois, who is slated to become an unrestricted free agent, was the top backup at all three line spots for the NFC champs in 2012. He filled in nicely when the 49ers lost Justin Smith and finished the year with 22 tackles and two sacks.
Francois played in 16 games with three starts and according to Bob McGinn, the Packers have already expressed interest.
With Jerel Worthy expected to miss part of the 2013 season and the defensive line still a weakness, the Packers have already lined up former Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty for a visit. Francois could be next when free agency opens.
He wouldn’t be a starter in Green Bay, but would probably be an improvement over Mike Neal and Mike Daniels.
“Solid in-line run defender,” an executive in personnel for an NFL team said last week. “Average pass rusher. He’d add good 3-4 defensive end depth and potential base-down starter as a five-technique ‘dirty work’ player. I’d prefer him more in the rotation than as a (starter).”
Francois will reportedly be seeking a deal in the $3 million per season neighborhood and the Packers should be able to afford that if they don’t blow their wad on Greg Jennings. The 49ers are expected to concentrate their efforts on re-signing safety Dashon Goldson.
Although he doesn’t have the size of Canty (6-7, 317), the 26-year-old Francois is four years younger.
Uh, Mike Daniels was a rookie last year and he played pretty decently, so did Neal when he was healthy. That said, it can’t hurt to bring in more DLs, especially someone who was the main reserve on the best defense in football.
I second PhatJesus. I wouldn’t go so far as to say RJF would be an improvement over Neal and Daniels unless I was only talking about the run defense.
The signing of either Canty or RJF would indicate the Packers are preparing for life without Ryan Pickett. It also would suggest that the Packers won’t take a DL in the 1st round this draft.
I would applaud that strategy. Sign a DL and draft a stud safety with that 1st pick.
I already predicted this would happen a long time ago…old news to me. Trust in my intellect on this whole process as I am your future GM. Good for them, I’m glad they’re listening to my thoughts…wait, how did they get into my head?
The safety class is loaded this year fellas, so are the DBs…really anywhere except the LBs, which are more developmental. If we want an impact safety we can wait a round and get one bottom round 2. With our first first, my prediction is predicated on what they do with Finley. If we keep him, we still go best available lineman on either side of the ball.
Names to like Rd#1: Johnathan Cooper G/C; Travis Frederick C/G; John Jenkins DT; Datone Jones DE; Tyler Eifert TE
Rd#2 safety prsopects: Johnathan Cyprien FS/SS (likely won’t be there); Bacarri Rambo FS; DJ Swearinger FS; Shamarko Thomas SS; Philip Thomas FS (possible 3rd round option).
Eifert? Really? The Packers are not going to draft a TE in round 1, I would be surprised if anyone does.
What about Warmack? or Fluker, or Jesse Williams, or even Lacy or Taylor or Ball?
I would not be the least bit surprised if the Packers trade back to get 2 high second round picks.
I like your trade back idea, however, by picking so late in the first they are more likely to end up with an extra 3rd rounder is the trading team is accepting of that offer.
Notice I put Eifert’s name last in the offensive group. I think he becomes a great value if you can still get him at the top of the second by trading back.
Kyle Rudolph from the same school looks to be a very similar player and I think the Vikings got great production out of him for such a young player.
The TE prospect I really like compares a little more favorably to Gronk and his name is Travis Kelce, Cincinnati. Check out his highlight tape http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtYA0VQGBLM