Josh Boyd to Packers: How Does Defensive Lineman Fit with Green Bay?
Four rounds after taking UCLA defensive end Datone Jones, the Packers called on Mississippi State's Josh Boyd at No. 167 in the fifth round.
The double-dip wasn't surprising. Depth worries and looming contract statuses ensured the Packers would enter this year's draft with a priority of adding bodies to the defensive line.
At 6'3" and 310 pounds, Boyd is a wide body capable of contributing to the rotation next season.
Here's how Boyd fits in Green Bay.
Role: Rotational two-down run-stuffer
Anyone who watched even a few minutes of the Packers' playoff exit in San Francisco this past January could identify run defense as a clear weakness in Green Bay.
At least some of those struggles could be attributed to the Packers' draft in 2012, when they took two defensive linemen—Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels—who were expected to help bolster the pass rush. Neither Worthy, who struggled at times as a rookie, nor Daniels, more of a situational pass-rusher, contributed much in terms of run-stopping.
Adding a big body like Boyd will help in that area next season.
Possessing good length and functional strength in his 310-pound frame, Boyd should be a capable two-down run-stuffer for the Packers next season.
Boyd might not be much of a factor as a pass-rusher (just 8.5 career sacks in three years of starting experience), but Dom Capers can take him off the field in obvious passing downs for the likes of Daniels, Worthy (when healthy) and Mike Neal.
Double-teams in the run game shouldn't be a problem for him, as Boyd posted 32 reps of 225 pounds at the NFL combine. That power will make him capable of holding the anchor point in the base defense as a potential 5-technique or nose tackle.
While Boyd likely won't be asked to be anything more than a rotational player as a rookie, down the road expectations may rise.
The Packers have five defensive linemen who will be free agents following the 2013 season, including veteran Ryan Pickett. All five won't move on next spring, but it's reasonable to expect the Packers to lose some depth up front.
And Pickett, who will turn 34 in October, can't be counted on to play at a high level as a run-stopper forever. He could regress starting next season, and Boyd might be the one called on to replace him.
All these factors make it less than surprising that general manager Ted Thompson decided to double-dip on defensive linemen.
Jones can be the disruptive, three-down player the Packers need right now, while Boyd can fill in as a rotational player in 2013 before potentially playing a much bigger role down the road.
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