Season in Review - Defensive Line
Another day, another position! In our sixth instalment of reviewing every player at every position, we turn our attentions to the defensive line.
Lowry was signed to a contract extension on 23rd July (3yrs/$20.3M extension portion). He is an all-out effort type of guy who makes the occasional splash play. Lowry started all 16 regular season games and played in 637 snaps (61.3% of the team’s defensive total). He notched up 47 tackles (23 solo), 2.5 tackles for a loss, 2 passes defensed, 1 interception (for 7 yards), 3 passes defensed and 1 fumble recovery. But not a single sack. Lowry committed one penalty (face mask) during the whole regular season.
Lowry will be back in 2020, but don’t be surprised to see him in competition for playing time if the Packers can pick up a free agent or draftee to add strength and depth to the defensive line.
Lancaster played in all 16 games (10 starts) and was in on 381 snaps (36.6% of the team’s defensive snaps). He notched up 30 tackles (17 solo), 1.5 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, 1 fumble recovery and 1 forced fumble. Lancaster was charged with 1 penalty (too many men on the field) during the regular season.
Lancaster is expected to return in 2020 but be challenged for playing time. It could be that his best position is on the nose (and therefore backing up Kenny Clark).
Keke was the Packers 5th round draft pick in 2019 (150th overall pick). He played in 14 games (no starts) but was in on just 94 snaps (9.0% of the team’s defensive total). He had 10 tackles (3 solo).
The Packers will be hoping for more from Keke in 2020 and its possible that he’ll challenge for a starting spot at DE.
Brown played in 4 games (no starts) and was in on just 17 defensive snaps (just 1.6% of the team’s defensive total) before being waived on 5th October. He failed to notch a single defensive statistic in those 4 games.
Simon was on the Packers' Practice Squad in 2018 and signed to a futures contract when the 2018 season ended. He was in camp with the team in 2019 and whilst he challenged for a roster spot, Simon was released on the final cut-down to 53 players (31st August). He was subsequently drafted (supplemental draft) by the Dallas Renegades of the XFL but has since been released.
Cotton was signed to the Packers Practice Squad late in 2018 and then given a futures contract for 2019. He was in training but was released on 26th July (the same day that the Packers signed fellow DL Olive Sagapolu). Cotton was later signed and released by the Tennessee Titans.
Daniels spent a very successful 7 seasons (2012-18) with the Packers, playing in 102 games (starting 72). He spent the end of the 2018 season on injured reserve and entered 2019 under some pressure because of the injury but mostly because of his salary cap number. The Packers opted to move on from him and Daniels was released on 24th July. He was quickly picked up by the Detroit Lions for whom he played 9 games in 2019.
Clark had 6 sacks, 11 tackles for a loss and 61 QB pressures as per PFF in a season where he again showed himself to be one of the best of his type (0 and 1 technique) in the league. Clark started all 16 regular season games, notched up 62 tackles (31 solo), 1 forced fumble and 1 pass defensed. He was in on 869 defensive snaps (83.6% of the team’s defensive total). According to NFL NextGen Stats, Clark had a QB pressure rate of 10.5% (23rd in the NFL). He was responsible for 5 penalties (2 defensive holding – unusual for a defensive lineman, 1 roughing the passer, 1 offside, 1 unsportsmanlike conduct). Clark unluckily failed to make the original Pro Bowl roster but was added when Aaron Donald dropped out.
PFF ranked him as the 97th best player (5th highest placed Packer) in the NFL in 2019 regardless of position. He enters the 2020 season with just the 5th year option year remaining on his contract. The Packers will surely be looking to get Clark signed to a long-term deal.
Adams played in 14 games (starting 2) and appeared in 187 snaps (18.0% of the team’s defensive total). He had 11 tackles (4 solo), 1 fumble recovery and 3 passes defensed – a contribution a little less than the team would have been hoping for. Adams appears to be one of those players who appears on the verge of a breakthrough season, but it hasn’t yet come.
He enters 2020 in the last year of his rookie contract with his career at a bit of crossroads. Perhaps being in a contract year will spur Adams on to have that breakthrough season at last.
Former Wisconsin Badger Sagapolu was signed on 26th July (when DE Eric Cotton was released). He was with the Packers through camp and the pre-season before being waived at the cut-down to the 53-man roster (31st August). Sagapolu was drafted by the Houston Roughnecks of the XFL but was subsequently signed by the Detroit Lions to their Practice Squad in December.
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