Has Green Bay fixed its defense?

After the draft and free agency, is the Packers defense better?

Originally Published: May 8, 2012
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Hargrove, Perry, WorthyGetty, US Presswire, US PresswireThe Packers are counting on (L-R) Anthony Hargrove, Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy to bring a new dimension to their pass rush.

Last season, two of the most explosive offensive teams in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots, statistically were also the worst two defensive teams in the league. Obviously, both organizations have realized that ultimate success will not come until they fix that side of the ball and both took major strides in the draft, using their first six picks on defensive players.

Focusing on defense in the draft is the first step toward rebuilding, but did both teams get enough impact players to fix their defenses? Matt Williamson took a look at the Patriots' D last week, so I'll turn my attention to the Packers' today.

Let's look at how the draft will impact Green Bay in 2012 on all three levels of its defense.

Defensive line

On this 3-4 defensive line, the only guy who played at a high level was NT B.J. Raji, who was in the Pro Bowl as a run defender. He had only three sacks and this defensive line applied very little pressure on opposing QBs -- though to be fair, the design of this defense is for the pressure to come off the edge with the OLBs. When DE Cullen Jenkins left for Philadelphia in free agency, the Packers never replaced his versatility and pass-rushing skills, and none of the other players stepped up and gave them good production.

They worked to upgrade this unit in free agency by signing DE Anthony Hargrove from Seattle, who has a terrific work ethic, but now he is going to miss eight games as a result of the Saints' scandal -- and who knows what his overall impact will be when he comes back.


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Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.