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Where does Wynn fit into defensive line equation?

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Where does Wynn fit into defensive line equation?

At first blush, the drafting of Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson seemed like insurance against both Cullen Jenkins and Johnny Jolly heading into the last year of their respective contracts, not to mention Jolly's legal troubles.

But upon closer inspection, what does the drafting of two rookie defensive linemen have to say about second-year pro Jarius Wynn?

Wynn is coming off a rookie season in which he played in 11 games collecting a total of five tackles. He showed some pass rush potential late in training camp in exhibition-game action during 2009, but it didn't carry over into the regular season.

At a listed weight of 285 pounds, Wynn is a little on the small size for a 3-4 defensive end. His size deficiency became especially apparent when he was rendered ineffective as an interior pass rusher in nickel situations.

Fast forward to April 2010 when the Packers drafted two defensive linemen, both with bigger frames than Wynn. Neal is listed at 294 pounds and Wilson at 290. Neal, especially, is known for his weightlifter's physique and ability to anchor at the point of attack. Wilson, meanwhile, is a noted collegiate pass rusher.

At a position where the Packers are likely to keep six, maybe seven players, Wynn looks to have a war ahead of him to nail down a roster spot during training camp this season.

Assured of roster spots are Jenkins, Neal, Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji. Jolly would also seem to be a good bet depending on the outcome of his trial. That leaves Wynn duking it out with Wilson, Justin Harrell, Anthony Toribio, Aleric Mullins and Ronald Talley for one or maybe two jobs.

Justin Harrell is going to be given every opportunity to prove himself during training camp this season, and if he can stay healthy, he'll be a tough cut based on first-round potential alone.

As usual, any injuries that happen to crop up will play a large role in determining who makes the 53-man roster, but the drafting of two rookies at Wynn's position did the Georgia product no favors. And it's enough to evidence to make one wonder how much confidence the coaching staff has in him.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Alex Tallitsch's picture

Our caller on Cheesehead Radio was convinced that Wynn was going to surprise this year. I think Jolly's fate may rest on Wynn more than anything.

PresidentRaygun's picture

Wynn's going to surprise? Is there any reasoning behind that? I just don't see it happening. I'd be shocked if Harrell does anything, either.

nerdmann's picture

Wynn seemed to me to be one of those guys who could really use an offseason to build themselves up into an NFL player.
Either way, I like our depth at the position. Keep whoever the best guys are, and we'll be solid.

PackersThad's picture

I really want to see both rookies AND Harrell make it through final cuts. I think if we want a good rotation, we need STOUT players, and I don't think Wynn is one of them. I think Wynn is a good 4-3 DT...if a 4-3 team in training camp needs another body, maybe we could get a 6th or 7th for him....or maybe another Tony Moll like trade...

The point is this. I think C.J. and Mike Neal are going to be good backups along with Harrell. I hope those three are kept on the team along with Jenk, Grease, Raji, and Jolly (if there is no suspension), if not then maybe Toribio. I don't see a space for Wynn. He was a microcosm of a d-line that was stout against the run, but mediocre against the pass

PackersRS's picture

Wynn was very explosive in preseason, but he was severely underweight for a 3-4 DE. He actually weighted 275 coming out of college.

I think he's much like C.J. Wilson, that they liked his potential a lot, thus gambled on him. C.J. is a more finished product, as far as body goes, though.

Hey, we can never have too many good DL. Even in a 3-4.

ZeroTolerence's picture

It would be a shame to get nothing out of Harrell.

retiredgrampa's picture

Harrell and Wynn BOTH have major incentives to step up...they know the result if they don't. If July ever ends, we'll find out if they've got what it takes. (I'll always pull for Harrell until it's decided one way or the other. He could add so much to the mix, IMO.)

JohnRehor's picture

Wynn=this year's Mike Montgomery. Undersized for a 3-4. If he gets cut, I'd be interested in seeing him in a 4-3.

nerdmann's picture

Wasn't he supposed to be adding some weight this offseason?

Oppy's picture

For what it's worth, Justin Harrell arguably has more raw potential and talent than any other D-lineman on the roster. He is truly only held back by his.. back. If Harrell has finally put his back.. behind him.. (ugh, this isn't intentional!) he could, and should, be a surprise for a lot of bitter Packers fans.

Wynn may be a prime candidate for practice squad this year if he can't out perform CJ Wilson..Don't think anyone else is lining up to steal him from us... Hell, maybe they try to transition Wynn to OLB? Elephant? That would free him up to be a rusher they think he could be and negate his lack of adequate size on the line. Who knows.

aussiepacker's picture

Harrell is a first round pick so if he can get healthy you would have to think the talent is there, So i wish him all the best. Is Wynn able to be put on the practice squad? He did play in 11 games last year.

Mike E's picture

Well Wynn has done more than the rookies at this point, so don't count him out yet. Has he played in more games than Harrell at this point? Given how much the Packers like to rotate their d-line during games (and how effective it is) I would be surprised if Wynn is not on the team at the end of the year. I have a feeling the d-line of this season will not be the d-line a year from now.

packeraaron's picture

Agreed he got valuable playing time last year. That said, he looked pretty pedestrian in his limited action. Here's hoping the offseason program helps some.

aussiepacker's picture

Is he able to be put on the practice squad?

Brian Carriveau's picture

I don't think so, being that he played in 11 games last year. I think the threshold is 9 games.

Oppy's picture

That's a shame for the Packers- if he isn't quite up to full speed in comparison to his competition.

Oh well, here's to the best man (well, men) winning their jobs!

CSS's picture

Does anybody know what Wynn's actual weight is as of OTA's? What's his condition? He's had one-year in the NFL training room, I'm curious as to the results.

He was a developmental guy to begin with. Georgia never ran a 3-4 and I'm pretty sure the kid only started 7 total games at Georgia with only 2 years of collegiate elibgability as a byproduct of attending junior college. Sounds like he has a high ceiling, I'll be curious to here what he looks like when he shows up for camp.

Also, I'm cheering for every kid on the roster but why do most sound as though C.J. Wilson is somewhat of a roster lock? I watched him play several games and was impressed, but every team passed over him many times in the draft. Who knows? He's playing with a chip on his shoulder but don't underestimate the difficulty of transitioning into the NFL as a defensive lineman let along a 3-4 defensive end.

It's an awefully short list of impact 1st round defensive line draft picks to have any impact in their 1st year in the NFL. Seems to me Wynn has the advantage, provided he's worked in the offseason.

Last thing: Over half of the league is now transitioning to the 3-4 defense, and over half of those teams are completely devoid of talent to execute it, especially on the defensive line. This year, YOU WON'T be able to hide developmental guys on your practice squad. Their on your roster or they're poached by another team.

CSS's picture

Meant to say, "It's an awefully short list of 1st round defensive line picks to have any impact in their 1st year, let alone a 6th round draft pick."

Oppy's picture

Great point about the need for 3-4 type d-linemen across the league. Perhaps the Packers take what they can get for our over-abundance of DE's and hold onto and covet our young NT's, hoping to develop the likes of Mullins and Toribio into acceptable starting level talent at the nose- those guys are the primary building block of a 3-4 defense. You won't be successful without a solid NT, and perhaps the Packers will hold those guys with the intent to trade them down the line when their talents and the league need make them most valuable. ?

nerdmann's picture

That is a good point. Maybe we can get something for Wynn. Like a CB.

andrew's picture

we really dont need a cb.. we have so many going in to camp right now.. and tons of young cbs are on our roster.. i know for a fact you wont see a trade for a corner TT has faith in the young ones he has in the lineup.. and even if al harris does not recover you will be seeing one of our young corners get the job i guarantee it

Ron LC's picture

What the Wynn situation demonstrates more than anything else is TT's strategy of player development. Bring in players at key positions and sort out the wheat from the chaf. It's kind of a bottom up strategy. The key to its' success is keeping a solid front line group in place until one of the new guys shows they can move up.

So, at this point I'd say its' wide open for everyone on the Dline except Jenkins, BJ, Pickett, and probably Neal because of the position he was drafted. The rest will have to earn the other spots, including Harrell. I wish him well,but a persistent back problem over 4 years is not a good bet to heal.

Tarynfor12's picture

Why would anyone think J Harrells back can endure a season.He keeps hurting it every year in CAMP.Can he be put on the PS and get some thing for him,ANYTHING?There is no up-side in keeping him.

Also RonLC,I agree with your thought of TT's mindset and I agree with TT.The NFL is changing and you must keep the best of the young.The physicality of the game mandates that as age comes faster than ever.

Brett Cristino's picture

I like Wynn because he gives a different look from our other Defensive Lineman. He's long and showed some potential rushing the passer, i'd like to get another look at him before I make a judgement on his potential role for 2010.

andrew's picture

i think most of the teams trying out the 3-4 wont stay in it.. its just a fad like the wildecat.. lots of teams are going to try it.. only a few teams with actually run it right.. if every team runs a 3-4 it will start to get picked apart.. with all the good quarterbacks in the league right now you better hope you run the 3-4 to perfection. coaches will just run short slants and quick passes to the runningback all game and eat away at you and then hit you deep against your weakest link in the secondary.. we have already seen it happen against the packers.. quality quarterbacks can.. and will.. pick apart 3-4 defenses as soon as the pressure doesnt get there... and i love wynns talent.. but i think he is like kampman.. he is better off on a strong 4-3 team. and you wont see him play to his potential so long as he is in the 3-4 defense

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