But with what? We know the Packers are keeping 11 on the defensive line (one of two teams in the NFL to do so) But without a dominate tackle in the mold of Tommie Harris in the bunch, it will be interesting to see how the coaches use the talent they have. Personally, I've never understood how Colin Cole keeps his roster spot. He's nothing more than a glorified space-eater in the middle of the line, and he tends to wear down rather easily, which is perplexing as he is a part-time player. I'm looking forward to seeing the new-improved Johnny Jolly everyone is raving about and how much playing time he is given. It's one thing for the coaches to sing his praises in training camp, but quite another for them to give him quality minutes in the regular season. Then there's Ryan Pickett, an underrated player. He won't get much pressure on the quarterback, but he collapses the pocket well and is a beast against the run. Not to mention he plays hurt, something not a lot of Packer fans recognize. And of course you can not discuss the defensive line without mentioning Aaron Kampman. The man is by far the most valuable player on the defensive side of the ball for the Packers. His football intelligence is unparalleled and he's only gotten better every year he's been in the league. I hope this is the year he gets serious consideration for Defensive Player of the Year honors. Ironically the man that could make that happen is Cullen Jenkins. If Jenkins plays as well this season as he did the last four games of last year, he will drive plenty of plays Kampman's way.
And of course, there's Justin Harrell. Poor little Justin. Admitadly, I have given this kid nothing but grief since the day he was picked. And truth be told, he has not shown much in the games he's been in. But I have come to the point where I am viewing Thompson's selection of Harrell as a long-term investment. Fans don't want to hear it, but Thompson is doing what he thinks is best for the team. Packer fans should look at Minnesota and Chicago and how good their run defenses are when their starting tackles are in the game. That could be Green Bay when Harrell has finally rounded into shape. Is it exciting? No. Will he make SportsCenter every night? No. But he could anchor a brilliant defense for years to come, and that's an investment worth gambling on. So you won't read me blogging about or on the podcast talking about how Justin Harrell was a wasted pick, or how he's being coddled. He's the future, and anything we get out of him this year is a bonus.
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