With the NFL Draft set for this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the Green Bay Packers have to know exactly where they need to fortify their roster most. The Packers hired Jeff Hafley to be their new defensive coordinator. Hafley announced the team would be switching from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3. With the team holding OTAs last week, the Packers finally declared who on their depth chart would be playing defensive end and who would be at defensive tackle. Here is how the Packers clarified their depth chart ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft:

The big question was which edge rushers and outside linebackers would stay at linebacker and which would be defensive ends or defensive tackles. These decisions will change the way GM Brian Gutekunst approaches the draft.

How the Packers Clarified Their Depth Chart Ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft: Defensive End

The Packers depth chart designated Rashan Gary and Preston Smith as the starting defensive ends. This comes as little surprise, and the two former outside linebackers will have to adjust to starting plays with their hands on the ground as defensive ends.

Gary played defensive line in college. His main job at Michigan was to occupy blockers and help free up his teammates to make plays. Smith also played defensive line in college and will be familiar with playing there although it has been a decade since he played at Mississippi State.

The top backups at defensive end on the team’s depth chart include 2023 first-round pick Lukas Van Ness, who also played defensive line at Iowa and Kingsley Enagbare. Enagbare will likely start training camp on the PUP list as he suffered a serious injury during the Packers playoff win over Dallas.

Other players at this position include second-year man Brenton Cox, Desline Alexandre, Deandre Johnson, Keshawn Banks, Arron Mosby, and Kenneth Odumegwu. Mosby may be the biggest surprise at defensive end as he was previously listed as an inside linebacker on the depth chart last season.

Packers Depth Chart: Defensive Tackle

The Packers presently list six players as interior defensive linemen. Kenny Clark will be one starter with Devonte Wyatt and T.J. Slaton likely to be the top two candidates for the other starting spot as of now. Backups include second-year men Karl Brooks and Colby Wooden along with 2022 seventh-round pick Jonathan Ford.

The big question is how Wooden and Brooks will do if they are asked to play defensive tackle. Wooden is 6’4” and 273 pounds which is light for a modern-day defensive tackle. Brooks seems to have a more appropriate size for a defensive lineman at 6’3” and 296 pounds. Ford is a big man at 6’5” and 338 pounds but he has yet to play in a regular season game. The Auburn alum spent the last two seasons on the practice squad.

How the Packers Clarified Their Depth Chart Ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft: Linebackers

The Packers will need three starting linebackers in Hafley’s new scheme. Because they play a lot of nickel formations, the third starter may only be on the field for roughly 20 percent of the plays.

The team’s top three players on the present depth chart include Quay Walker, Isaiah McDuffie, and Eric Wilson. Walker is an experienced starter and former first round pick entering his third NFL season. McDuffie served as a backup but filled in admirably when injuries struck and started eight games in 2023. McDuffie played for Hafley at Boston College. Wilson gives the team experience but is more of a special teams player rather than a starter.

The backups on the roster are inexperienced and require reinforcements. Kristian Welch is a special teams ace who rarely plays defense. In fact, he didn’t take a single snap on defense last season. The other player on the roster at linebacker is Chrisitan Young who has yet to take a snap in a regular season NFL game.

The Impact of this Depth Chart on the Packers Draft

Now that the Packers have their depth chart established with which players will be at defensive end, defensive tackle, and linebacker, Gutekunst can concentrate on fortifying those areas he feels need more talent and depth.

This depth chart will impact the decisions the Packers make during all three days of the 2024 NFL Draft. We’ll see exactly how over the next few days.



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