This is the next in a series of articles providing an in-depth analysis of each position group on the Green Bay Packers for 2023. Today we will analyze the defensive line. The grades will be for each unit as a whole, but we will give an analysis of each player, their strengths and weaknesses and where they stand heading into the offseason. Here are the grades for the Packers defensive line in 2023. The marks are based on a combination of expectations and performance.

You can see our final grade for the quarterbacks here.

The Packers run defense finished 28th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game with 128.3 and 23rd in the league in average yards allowed per rush with 4.4.

Final Grade for the Best Player on the Packers Defensive Line

Kenny Clark continues to be the Packers best defensive lineman. The former UCLA star set a new career high with 7.5 sacks. He also made 44 total tackles, forced a pair of fumbles and knocked down three passes. Clark also recorded nine tackles for loss and 16 quarterback hits which made a consistent force at pressuring the quarterback from the interior.

Clark also supplies leadership for a young and inexperienced unit at this position. He started all 17 games for the Packers and remains one of the better players at his position.

Final Grade for the Other Starters on the Packers Defensive Line

T.J. Slaton started all 17 games as the nose tackle and made 50 tackles including two tackles for loss. Slaton did not record a sack. His primary job was to occupy blockers and to stop the run. He graded out as average in this category according to Pro Football Focus.

Former first-round pick, Devonte Wyatt struggled against the run but recorded 5.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits. Wyatt made big plays but was not always consistent. He finished the season with 36 tackles including six tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits. He also recovered one fumble.

The former Georgia star started five games and played 50 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. He has the ability to be even better in his third NFL season in 2024.

Packers Defensive Line Had Newcomers

The Packers drafted two new defensive linemen on day three of the 2023 NFL Draft, and both made the team.

In the fourth round, GM Brian Gutekunst selected Colby Wooden and in the sixth round, he added Karl Brooks.

Of the two, it was Brooks who had a better rookie season. The Bowling Green alum recorded four sacks and recovered two fumbles while playing in all 17 games. He made six tackles for loss, forced one fumble and knocked down four passes while playing 34 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

Brooks showed the ability to penetrate opposing offensive lines and disrupt plays. He also did a better job of defending the run.

Wooden recorded half a sack and made 17 tackles including one tackle for loss. He played 23 percent of the Packers defensive snaps.

Defensive line is not an easy position for rookies to learn but these two did a good job of picking things up quickly. This duo has the chance to become starters as they gain experience and improve their technique.

The Packers Other Defensive Linemen

The Packers kept 2022 seventh-round pick, Jonathan Ford on the practice squad for the second straight season. He has yet to take a snap in a regular-season NFL game.

Ford signed a futures contract so he will be back to compete for a roster spot in 2024. This will likely be his final chance to crack the 53-man roster.

Final Grade for the Packers 2023 Defensive Line

The defensive line did a better job of putting pressure on the quarterback with Clark, Wyatt, and Brooks providing consistent push. The run defense remains an issue although defensive coordinator Joe Barry sacrificed the run defense to prevent big plays in the passing game.

This unit is improving but needs to be more consistent. All the players are on the roster should be back in 2024. As long as Clark stays healthy and the young players continue to develop, there’s hope. Don’t be surprised if the Packers look for more depth here in the draft.





Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

Click here for more great Packers coverage