If Green Bay wants to improve their defensive personnel they need to focus on their deficiencies. The defense ended the 2022 season ranked 17th but their run defense languished near the bottom of the rankings for most of the season. The defensive line continues to be a part of that liability. Even stalwart Kenny Clark did not play his usual dominating role and the rest of the unit could not pick up the slack. The Packers spent a first round pick on the position last year and while Devonte Wyatt showed sparks of promise in the last couple games of the season, the Packers need to continue to upgrade the position to match the dominant line of San Francisco.
Possibility of Green Bay Packers Finding a Game-changing Interior Defensive Lineman with the 15th Pick in the 2023 NFL Draft
There is no guarantee that even with the 15th pick the Packers will have a game changing interior defensive lineman available. Current mock drafts have Georgia’s Jalen Carter going top three, and Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kanchenjunga going at twelve but no other interior defensive lineman going until pick 29, when USC’s Tuli Tuipulotu goes and he is listed as an edge rusher, not an IDL, although he is 6’4” and 290 lbs.
Tuipulotu had a couple of sacks against Notre Dame, but many of his sacks seem to come from the edge with the same jump step-speed/rip move when he catches tackles flat footed. Against the Fighting Irish he had little to no interior push when he stunted inside or lined up inside and played very tall with little edge bend, making his NFL impact questionable. After reviewing other games he did show a knack for reading the offense and attacking the runner or quarterback. There were even a few plays where the Trojans lined him up at the nose and he showed good pad level, holding his own. For a man his size he has good closing speed to the quarterback and he has an aggressive streak. He was the Captain of the USC defense. He tallied 13.5 sacks last year as a Trojan. He could be special.
A player that is closer to home is Badger alum Keeanu Benton. Benton was the middle cog of a stout Wisconsin defense. The 6’4” 315 pound Benton collected four sacks to go long with 35 tackles including 10 tackles for loss. The knock on Benton is that he is strictly a nose tackle but his practices at the Senior Bowl showed some potential beyond that center gap. He even impressed with his pass rush skills.
Another name brought up in the first three rounds is 6’5” 300 lbs. Brian Bresee. The Clemson lineman was headed for the first round until injuries slowed his 2021 season (ACL) and he lost his sister to cancer in 2022. His injury history makes him a boom or bust pick. But he has top tier talent. A top pick on a player who totaled 15 tackles and 3.5 sacks in his final college season seems a stretch.
Just a bit below this group are Mazi Smith from Michigan and Siaki Ika from Baylor. Both are nose tackles by trade. Smith is big (6’3”/326) and Ika is bigger (6’4”/354). Both have limited arm length and pass rush skills. Smith is probably the better run defender but short arms may limit his incredible power in the NFL. Sika became a rotational player at Baylor, missing many pass rush snaps.
The Following Include Potentially Middle Round Picks:
Keondre Coburn – Texas (6’1.5”/343) is another pure nose tackle who has ability but wears down easily and has developed a rep for an inconsistent motor.
Gervon Dexter Sr – Florida (6’5”/315) [23 starts/120 tackles/4.5sacks/9.5 TFL] Summary: Good athlete; good size; -production didn’t match potential. Had three position coaches switching his position every year. Played 3 technique/nose/D-end in 3 seasons with Florida.
Bryon Young – Alabama (6’3”/295) [19 starts/132 tackles/7.5 sacks/23TFL] Summary: Long armed powerful run defender who is still learning pass rush moves. Improved his numbers and sack totals every year. (4.5 sacks in 2022) Played through ankle sprain in final season. Concerns that he lacks the first step quickness and lateral foot speed to ever become a pass rusher and that his slow feet will impact him on outside zone plays. These limits will keep him out of the first round.
P.J. Mustipher – Penn State (6’3.5”/325) [28 starts/144 tackles/10.5. TFL/3 sacks] Summary: Nose tackle with good length and athleticism. Good motor/team captain. Played in a gap control system, rarely showing penetration or pass rush moves. Had serious knee injury in 2021, lost all but the first six games. May have still have been recovering from knee in 2022. Outshined by Benton at Senior Bowl.
Zacch Pickens – South Carolina (6”4”/305) [32 starts/7.5 sacks/11.5 TFL] Summary:
Has all the tools in the run game and violent hands in pass rush, just fails to recover if his first move is stalled. Improved every season in college and best days may be ahead of him. Named as a draft riser at Senior Bowl practices by Rick Spielman.
Jalen Redmond – Oklahoma (6’2”/285) [19 starts/71 tackles/14 sacks/31.5 TFL] impressed at the Senior Bowl practices. He is small for his position and can get pushed around. He opted out of 2020 due to Covid and his game has been slow to recover, posting lower numbers across the board than in his sophomore year.
Keion White (6’4”/267) caught the eyes of a number of scouts at the Senior Bowl. He played some interior line in college and but he played mostly on the edge. He defends the run decently but watching his film against Duke showed no burst or quick lateral movement. His Duke film was not impressive. His recognition skills seemed a step slow too.
Adetomiwa Adebawore – Northwestern (6’2”/280) [32 starts /94 tackles/12.5 sacks/24.4 TFL] Summary: A true edge with good burst and closing speed. Decent bull rush. Very strong, weight room warrior. Impressed at Senior Bowl practices. Demolished some Senior Bowl 1 on 1 reps. Height is a disadvantage(He may be 6’1”) for interior line or edge rusher but arm length is 34 inches. Twenty two missed tackles are his big red flag.
Somewhere in this group the Packers need to find a diamond in the rough and polish him quickly. In this draft the list of potential edge rushers is longer than interior lineman.
Other IDL’s with Draft Potential Include:
Jacqueline Roy: LSU (6’4”/315 lbs.)
Moro Oromo: Texas (6’3”/280 lbs.)
Kobie Turner: Wake Forrest (6’3”/290 lbs.)
Jacob Slade: Michigan St. (6’4”/315 lbs.)
Jerrod Clark: Coastal Carolina (6’3”/340 lbs.)
Jonah Tavai: San Diego State (6’/290 lbs.)
Fabian Lovett: Florida St. (6’4”/314 lbs.)
Cameron Young: Mississippi St. (6’3”/315 lbs.)
Devonnsha Clark: Chattanooga (6’3”/295 lbs.)
Taron Clark: Ohio State (6’2”/ 300 lbs.)
Dante Stills: West Virginia (6’’4”/290 lbs.)
Nesta Jade Silvera: Arizona State (6’2”/306 lbs.)
DJ Dale: Alabama (6’3”/300 lbs.)
Brodric Martin: Western Kentucky (6’5”/330 lbs.)
I’ve read from several scouting reports that say this isn’t a good draft for higher end talent. While most drafts have around 20 prospects with a first round grade, this draft is closer to 15. They’ll be at least 4 QB’s drafted in the top 15 with most of those over drafted. We should still should be inline for a blue chip prospect then at 15. If true, then you take whoever is left with a first round grade. But all things being equal, you’ve got to go defense at 15. I know there’s not enough WR’s for Aaron Rodgers, but there’s plenty for Jordan Love to make it work. There’s always deficiencies somewhere but never with Aaron Rodgers. He’s the best ever!
Current mock drafts have Georgia’s Jalen Carter going top three.
What’s the next highest Georgia player, regardless of position? There’s your guy Gutey.
I don’t see a Rashan Gary type player at 15 and he didn’t go to Georgia….
It was a joke (of sorts). Let me explain.
2021 Rd 1, Eric Stokes CB Georgia. 2022 Rd 1, Quay Walker LB Georgia and Devonte Wyatt DT Georgia. Georgia on my mind… There’s a trend…
I hope nobody sees a two/three year rotational future project at pick 15. I hope they see an immediately impactful player at pick 15. Don’t read that as a knock on Gary. Read that as a knock on that type of pick because the time is not right for that kind of pick now.
Explain all you want, he probably still won’t get it.
Straight from the files of, just because…….
Things a lil slow in the NFL as we start the silly season?
Like rock music?
Need a diversion?
Does your music taste have a hard edge, like your personality?
Or do you just need a mental health break from Tom M’s obsessive drivel?
Nor was it back when they drafted him, they just signed two expensive (stud) edge rushers, they had other needs.
But with Gary, Wyatt, Love, i guess we’re kind of getting used to 1st round draft choices riding the bench.
It’s called draft and develop for a reason. Certainly you’d love to have an immediate all pro starter but reality tells us that’s rarely the case even when you draft in the top 15. Next season hinges on Jordan Love, a former 1st round draft pick and developmental player. Along with projected 2nd year jumps by Quay Walker, Devante Wyatt, Christian Watson, and Romeo Doubs. If you’ve got your ducks in a row, it’s your second and third year players and not your rookies where you see marked improvement from a team standpoint. Those 5, young, core players will determine if we’re back in the playoffs next season. Anything this draft class offers will be gravy. You use FA for immediate help and the draft to keep young, cheap, talented players in the pipeline to replace aging, expensive FA. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Gutekunst has been largely successful using this formula. It worked with Gary and it’s possible it may work with Love.
Hey Kevin, I mean “Bob.” The Chicago Bears are actively trying to trade the first overall pick in this years draft. With the Bears GM saying, “they’re committed to Justin Fields.” Why, it was our very own Kevin who proclaimed Justin Fields a bust! Evidently Chicago never got your detailed scouting analysis based solely on stats and record. To Chicago’s credit they signed Kevin’s favorite, Tim Boyle back December. Perhaps they see him as Kevin, “better than Jordan Love.” And therefore better than Justin Fields. The QB whisperer has spoken!
If i may interject.
Where have you been Big Tom? Draft and develop? That’s what the Packers do?
(Loud chuckle) That’s a good one.
The Packers draft and develop so well, they had to spend a years salary cap just on free agents in a 10 day period.
Draft and develop? Lol
Since when do draft and develop teams need to rely on rookie draft classes for immediate success.
How does that work exactly?
First you have to draft well, then you have to develop. Outside of 1st round pick, 2 year bench sitter Gary, how does this apply to the Packers?
Maybe we can someday see Gary get double digit sacks before he retires (fingers crossed).
Alexander was great his first year, Eric Stokes regressed his 2nd year.
Are any of these 3 round picks developing anytime soon? (yawn).
If you bring up Royce Newman, i’ll have Kato bitch slap you.
Please, don’t bring up a 2020 first round pick, he hasn’t done a damn thing in the NFL so far, but get splinters in his ass.
I think you must not get the Packer games out west.
But hey, good luck to your vikings.