When taking a look at the Green Bay Packers defensive roster, you will see a plethora of talent. Za’Darius Smith, Rashan Gary, and Preston Smith make up arguably one of the best trios of pass rushers in the NFL. Cornerback, Jaire Alexander has made himself into one of the most elite cover cornerbacks in the league. At safety, the Packers have two of the best in veteran Adrian Amos and third-year player Darnell Savage Jr. Still, with all of that talent, the Packers still have room for players who can contribute. Today, we take a look at some players who could fill some holes on the Green Bay Packers defense.
Green Bay Packers Defense Looking to Fill Holes in this Year’s Training Camp
New defensive coordinator Joe Barry is walking into a good situation. Coordinators in the NFL always look better when they have the talent to work with. For Barry, he has just that.
While the Packers defense is littered with talent, it still has holes and depth to be filled. With NFL teams expected to have a “normal” training camp this season, it appears that is where Barry will find help.
Some of the players we will be highlighting aren’t very well known. However, we feel they are worth watching in training camp and have a chance to be contributors for the Packers defense in 2021.
Kabion Ento, Cornerback
This off-season, general manager Brian Gutekunst re-signed cornerback Kevin King and drafted Eric Stokes with the Packers first-round pick. Still, the depth at cornerback still needs some help. One player that could help out is Kabion Ento.
Even with entering just his third season as a pro, it has been a long journey for Ento. A former college-wide receiver, Ento was signed as an undrafted free agent prior to 2019. He spent 2019 on the Packers practice squad, allowing him a year to adjust to a new position.
With one year of cornerback under his belt, 2020 was expected to be another growth year for Ento. Unfortunately for the Packers defense and Ento, that didn’t turn out to be the case. Ento suffered a foot injury in training camp and spent 2020 on the injured reserve.
From all reports, Ento will be entering 2021 fully healthy. Even with the re-signing of King and the drafting of Stokes, Ento has the chance to provide some much-needed depth to the Packers cornerbacks.
At 6’1″, Ento has the size NFL teams covet at cornerback. While not a blazer, he does have the speed to keep up with NFL wide receivers. Those attributes should give secondary coach/pass game coordinator Jerry Gray something to work with.
Alexander, King, and Stokes should have a lock on the Packers top three cornerback spots. But behind them, there are a lot of questions. With a strong training camp, Ento could have a chance to lock up the fourth spot.
Randy Ramsey, Outside Linebacker
The Packers defense has one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. As stated previously, the Smiths and Gary make up one of the best pass-rushing trios in the NFL. Those three pass rushers are the backbone of the Packers defense.
While the Packers are locked in for the top three outside linebackers spots, they will be in search of a fourth. Most believe that 2020 seventh-round pick Jonathan Garvin has a leg up for that fourth spot. Garvin is a gifted athlete that the Packers hope can develop into a quality pass rusher. But we believe he will have some fierce competition from another player.
Randy Ramsey will be entering his third season with the Packers in 2021. After being signed as an undrafted free agent, he spent 2019 on the Packers roster. Last season, he made the roster and played in 12 games registering 11 total tackles.
While Garvin might be the better pass rusher of the two, Ramsey is the superior special teams player. The Packers are putting an emphasis on special teams under new special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton this coming season. Ramsey is a perfect fit for special teams. He has good size, at 6’3″ and 238 pounds, and has solid speed. That should translate well for punt and kickoff coverage.
To go along with his ability to line up as a pass-rushing outside linebacker and his ability to play special teams, he could also play inside in a pinch. His ability to contribute in several different areas should help him make the roster and also be a possible contributor for the Packers defense in 2021.
Tedarrell Slaton, Defensive Line
At 6’4″ and weighing 330 pounds, Tedarrell Slaton isn’t going to sneak up on too many things or people. But Slaton plays a position that the Packers sorely need help at.
The interior of the Packers defensive line is built around Kenny Clark. At only 25 years of age, Clark is already one of the better interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Along with Clark, the Packers are very high on third-year player Kingsley Keke. In just part-time playing time last season, Keke registered four sacks. They are expecting more out of him in 2021.
But behind Clark and Keke, the Packers are searching for help. Surprisingly, the Packers didn’t make Dean Lowry a cap casualty this off-season. His production the past two seasons has dropped and he hasn’t played up to what the Packers are paying him. The Packers also brought back Tyler Lancaster, which also seemed surprising. Lancaster is an effort player, gives his all, but just doesn’t bring a lot to the table. If the Packers defense had more options on the interior of the defensive line, it is doubtful that Lancaster would have been brought back.
With the depth so thin behind Clark and Keke, it seems almost crucial that Slaton has a strong training camp. Slaton is another gifted athlete but never played up to his abilities while in college. Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery will have his job cut out for him. Slaton has the tools to be a solid player, but it will be up to Montgomery to get the most out of him.
Former Packer Montravius Adams was a similar prospect. He was a high-end athlete who didn’t play up to his ability while in college. Unfortunately, the same occurred while he was with the Packers. The Packers are really banking for Slaton to be something Adams wasn’t. If they can get him to contribute, it should help with their run defense and free up Clark and Keke to cause havoc.
Packers Ready for Action
Whether or not Aaron Rodgers is starting for Green Bay come Week 1, the Packers need to be prepared for whatever the 2021 season might have in store. It could have injuries, it will definitely have ups and downs. But one thing for sure is these three players could play bigger roles than one might expect in 2021…
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images