A Worth(y)while Draft Pick: Packers Nickel and DTs
It’s no secret that I think A.J. Hawk is one of the most overrated players on our roster. Michigan bias aside (Go Blue), I don’t think he’s performed to the caliber of expectations or a first round draft pick.
In 2009, The Pack shifted their 4-3 defense to 3-4, moving Hawk from weakside to the inside. The defensive problems don’t rest soley on Hawk, but he’s a prime example of what happens when this type of shift is made and draft picks don’t reflect said change the next year.
Hawk’s stats last year in regular season were: 84 tackles (53 solo, 31 assist); 1.5 sacks and 0 INTs. As someone told me, yes, it takes around 5 years to make the full transition when switching defense from 4-3 to 3-4.
But, come on man. Did you not see our defense last year?
We all knew going into the draft that our pass rush (or lack of) needed major work and a revival. Many were stoked for the Perry pick – I don’t think he fits into Capers 3-4 defense, but he is definitely an athletic pass rusher. We’re pretty weak at outside linebacker opposite of Matthews, and he should be ahead of Walton and Zombo for the position.
I was more impressed with Jerel Worthy, especially after reading about the first few weeks of training camp.
Why? Let’s break it down.
6’2, 309 pounds, the kid can actually burst right off the line with his speed. That’s not easy for someone 300+ pounds. His stats at Michigan State last season were as follows: 30 tackles (10½ for loss) and 3½ sacks. The Packers play a lot of nickel, so they had Worthy line up next to Raji in the nickel package. Worthy is an interior pass-rusher, and will fill the void left by Neal’s suspension for the first four games.
I expect our signing of free agent Anthony Hargrove to give Worthy competition – if we were a typical 3-4 defense. The Pack 3-4 push their linemen to not double team but to penetrate the opposing offense.
Lots of reports pre-and-post draft point to the fact that Worthy is too short to make an impact as a defensive starter, but Jenkins was only 6’2. Think back to last season: we had a gaping hole without Jenkins, whether we wanted to admit it or not. College defensive tackles that can rack up 12 sacks, along with 27.5 tackles for loss, are rare.
So, what do you think? I know you all love Hawk, but think Worthy will start? What about Perry?
Go Pack Go.