The following is the fifth installment in a series of stories that’ll examine the Packers’ roster position by position. The series continues with the defensive line.
GREEN BAY—The Packers are getting younger on the defensive line, but it wouldn’t be accurate to characterize the shift as a total youth movement.
Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly have not been brought back, but the unit still has a couple of experienced veterans, while room is being made for the youth in which the Packers have invested draft picks in recent years to become more seasoned, higher-impact players.
The Packers have two true veterans up front, but it could be more than that, depending on how much the newly acquired
The veterans who are pure linemen are
The rest of the defensive line room is filled with eight players with two or fewer NFL seasons under their belts, including four rookies. Among the four returning players, a key to the Packers’ production up front this season could hinge on whether one of the other three joins
Daniels is the rising star of the unit, having boosted his sack total from two as a rookie fourth-round pick to 6 ½ last season, plus another sack in the playoffs. He’s vocal both on and off the field and has made no secret of his desire for the defense to get meaner and nastier, taking it upon himself to lead the way.
Boyd was quiet early on last season as a rookie fifth-round pick, a gameday inactive for seven of the first nine games, while he adjusted from Mississippi State’s 4-3 to the Packers’ 3-4. Jolly’s late-season neck injury forced Boyd into action and Boyd showed promise, particularly in the Dallas game, when he recorded a tackle for loss and drew a holding penalty, both against the run.
Worthy, a second-round pick in 2012, enters his third season, but after a second year that was essentially a washout. Rehab from a knee injury suffered in Week 17 of 2012 limited Worthy to a pair of cameo appearances last season, and he sat out all of OTAs and minicamp this spring as well. He has catching up to do and rust to knock off.
North Carolina State’s