Green Bay Packers Free Agency: Wish List for Replenishing Defensive Line

Matt SmithContributor IIIJune 12, 2011

Green Bay Packers Free Agency: Wish List for Replenishing Defensive Line

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    ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 15:  A.J. Hawk #50 of the Green Bay Packers calls a play in the defensive huddle to teammates including Clay Matthews #52 and B.J. Raji #90 against the Atlanta Falcons during their 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Georgia Dome on
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Though the Packers boast admirable depth and have a solid rotation on the defensive line, at either defensive end spot their doesn't seem like a legitimate starter.

    One of the end spots will most likely be taken by second-year player Mike Neal. Neal was a second-round pick out of Purdue but missed his first season after showing incredible promise.

    In this year's free agent market (hopefully free agency comes back soon), there are many suitable 4-3 defensive linemen.

    But the Packers run a 3-4 defense. So who exactly would be suitable for them?

Cullen Jenkins, DE, Packers

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    CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 23:  Cullen Jenkins #77 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a sack of quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears in the first half in the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Yes, I know that Cullen Jenkins is most likely not going to be a Packer next season. But this is a wish list, right?

    If he would choose to come back, Jenkins would be a much welcomed re-addition.

    Though Jenkins only had 18 tackles last season, he still put up seven sacks in 11 games.

    He is a bit injury-prone, as in 2008 Jenkins missed most of the season.

    But any pass rusher to take pressure off of Clay Matthews would be more than welcome here in Green Bay. 

Brandon Mebane, DT, Seahawks

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    SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 02:  Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane #92 of the Seattle Seahawks takes the field against the St. Louis Rams prior to their game at Qwest Field on January 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Though Mebane didn't put up eye-popping stats, he's still a young player worth a solid investment. 

    Talks about Mebane to Denver seem to be the most likely, but he would also be a welcome addition to the Packers line.

    Mebane is a better anchor against the run and has not had much success rushing to passer in his last two seasons.

    At 26, Mebane would be another youthful player on a youthful team. 

Marcus Spears, DE, Cowboys

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    ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9:  Marcus Spears #96 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium on January 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Ge
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    In 2005, the Cowboys had the luxury of selecting twice in the first round.

    They thought that by choosing DeMarcus Ware they would have a great linebacker. He turned out much better than expected.

    And with their second pick, No. 20 overall, the Cowboys thought they could add to their defensive line with Marcus Spears.

    He didn't turn out so well. So why is he on this list?

    Spears never unlocked his potential in Dallas, though after two season it seemed like he was going to break out.

    The former first-rounder is a solid defender against the run but isn't particularly strong against the pass.

    Spears would be brought in as a backup who could hopefully experience a renaissance at Lambeau.

Shaun Ellis, DE, Jets

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Defensive end Shaun Ellis #92 of the New York Jets rushes the passer against Bobby Eldridge #81 of the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis,
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Ellis has spent his entire 11-year career with the Jets and may not want to leave their so soon.

    The free agent Jet is old at 34 years of age, and time is running out to win a championship.

    That said, who better to join then the Packers? They just won the Super Bowl and are one of the preseason favorites.

    The Packers have an abundance of young talent who could use another veteran to help in their development.

    Ellis proved that he still has something left in the tank by recording 36 tackles and 4.5 sacks.

    By signing him to a one-year contract, the Packers get both a legitimate starter and a veteran on a young team.

Barry Cofield, DT, Giants

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 12: Matt Moore #3 of the Carolina Panthers is sacked by Barry Cofield #96 of the New York Giants during the NFL season opener at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Chris
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Word has it that Cofield wants to stay with the Giants, but this is a wish list. Besides, it wouldn't be the first time an athlete has flipped on a decision.

    But with Marvin Austin drafted in the second round, it looks like the Giants may not want to give him the extra money.

    A defensive tackle in the Giants 4-3 scheme, he would shift to the 3-4 end spot.

    Cofield is young enough at age 27 to warrant a multi-year contract and should become a starter if picked up.