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Report: Packers Interested in 49ers DL Ricky Jean-Francois

The Green Bay Packers have identified a weakness on the defensive line, and general manager Ted Thompson reportedly won't look past free agency to fix it.

In addition to having interest in free-agent defensive linemen Chris Canty and Cullen Jenkins, the Packers are also reported to be looking into Ricky Jean-Francois of the San Francisco 49ers.

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported the interest.

"A source said the Packers have expressed interest in Jean-Francois, who would become an unrestricted free agent March 12 if he isn't re-signed by the 49ers," McGinn wrote.

A seventh-round pick of the 49ers in 2009, Jean-Francois has developed into a trusted backup for San Francisco at all three defensive line positions. He has 49 career tackles and three sacks over 51 games (five starts).

The Packers likely need help at the position because of Jerel Worthy, who is recovering from ACL surgery and might not be ready for the start of the 2013 season.

At 6-3 and 295 pounds, Jean-Francois would represent more of a run-stuffing defensive end than a pocket-collapser. While McGinn had Jean-Francois down for 18 pressures last season, Pro Football Focus gave him credit for just two sacks and two hurries (four quarterback disruptions) over 328 snaps. He graded out at -3.8 on pass rushing but +4.2 in run defense.

"Solid in-line run defender," a personnel executive told McGinn. "Average pass rusher. He'd add good 3-4 defensive end depth and potential base-down starter as a five-technique 'dirty work' player. I'd prefer him more in the rotation than as a (starter)."

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Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Evan's picture

I like the idea of bringing anyone from the 49ers defense over to us, even if it's just a rotational d-lineman.

Captain Lou's picture

I think there are other players out there who are of similar quality as Jean-Francois, but have better length. Chris Canty, Isreal Odonije, Kevin Vickerson. None of these guys would be too expensive either. Why not go for one of them?

Rocky70's picture

Worthy, Neal, Wilson, Daniels, Pickett & even Raji. Now throw in either Jenkins, Canty or Jean-Francois.

Looks like TT is cornering the market on rotational D-Linemen. How about a change of pace like a possible impact lineman from somewhere?

It's getting easier & easier to connect the dots in GB. Look at 45 points, 579 yards with 323 on the ground. --- Then look at the DL.

Evan's picture

"How about a change of pace like a possible impact lineman from somewhere?"

Who do you suggest?

Rocky70's picture

That's TT's job. --- He gets paid millions to improve the Pack. --- It's obvious he has a brain-lock when it come to the DL & OL.

ArodMoney's picture

No Way!

Rocky70's picture

TT drafted the following DL in his 8 drafts in GB. Who do you like?

Montgomery, Tollefson, Jolly, Harrell, Thompson, Wynn, Raji, Wilson, Neal, Guy, Elmore. Throw in Worthy & Daniels.

ArodMoney's picture

Oh I was saying no way because he commented the same thing as I did.

Of those guys I like Raji and Neal. I wouldn't pay Raji big bucks. I'd give him a contract like Pickett got. I think Neal should get a chance at more snaps.

Of free agents I like Jean-Francois, Desmond Bryant, Sammie Lee Hill, and Chris Canty.

ArodMoney's picture

And I thought Worthy had potential to be a nice nose tackle before he got hurt.

Rocky70's picture

Understand. TT will probably draft high & bring in 1 FA. --- He's got to hit on one of these D-Linemen eventually.

ArodMoney's picture

Any suggestions?

PackerBacker's picture

I was over on the SF websites the week before the playoff game and everyone on their side was bashing "RJF" as the worst lineman in the group and barely worthy of the rotational job he has.
Don't know how much that's worth, but he doesn't seem to have a lot of respect over that way.

ArodMoney's picture

Would love to see this. Jean-Francois would be able to make their base D much stouter against the run. It would also mean Raji wouldn't have to play so many snaps.

I still think they take a Dlineman first 3 rounds though.

Stroh's picture

As ive stated the packers need atough physical run stuffing 34 DE. Exactly what Canty and Francois are. Would be great to get a JJ Watt but there aren't any in this draft. Either Canty or Francois would help the D by playing physical run D. Of the 2 I prefer Canty but both provide what we need in run D and physicality.

Brooklyn81's picture

Margus Hunt

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

I don't see the lanky and lean Hunt being what Stroh described. Just my opinion.

Stroh's picture

Exactly. Hunt is far more jared allen than richard seymour. He's a 43 DE not a 34 DE.

madmanJack's picture

all i know is that Hunt has enormous upside having only played football for 4 years. he could easily add 20 pounds on his frame and play DE in the 3-4.

Stroh's picture

Hunt is about as big as he's gonna get. I have a Ex Science degree and studied body types and was a S and Conditiong Specialist. I've watched film of Hunt and he has a smallish frame. He is also 25 yrs old and has been training in a competitive environment his entire life. From my perspective Hunt is a mature physically developed, fully grown man. For those reasons, I seriously doubt Hunt has much growth potential at this point. Hes very likely to be near or at his physical max development. In my professional opinion, Hunt is Jared Allen (6'6 270) and a 43 DE, much more than he is Richard Seymour (6'6 310) a 34 DE. From watching film, his sack come on edge rushes. Are you gonna take Matthews or Perry out to put him in? I'm not... We need a tough physical run stuffing 34 DE, that might be able to help interior pass rush. Hunt should go to a 43 D and play DE, at that position he has some ability, as a 34 DE/DT I don't see the fit.

kurtMc's picture

Agree, we need a pocket guy, someone who's going to get after the QB. Skip this turd and focus elsewhere.

TT might as well hang a "Wanted, D Lineman" on Lambeau. I just hope he can make the right selection.

Anyone know who scouts these D line guys, or is it all video?

Stroh's picture

I've watched quite a bit of tape on him. He's an edge rusher and should go to a 43 D, to be an edge rusher. THats where all his sacks came from. He did nothing rushing inside. He has some explosiveness in his game, so as an edge rusher he could do well. As a 34 DE, taking on run blocking he's very soft and gets thrown around too easily. Not a 34 DE in my professional opinion.

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