This year the Green Bay Packers will have a lot of familiar faces in the defensive line room. They will be anchored by star nose tackle: Kenny Clark, and looking to fit in the pieces around him. With no major signings or draft picks expended, they will be relying on in house growth and development.
Let’s take a look at the defensive line heading into training camp.
Adams will look to earn more consistent playing time in his fourth year with the Packers. Adams was selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft, after an impressive senior year at Auburn in which he earned AP Second Team All-American honors. His best season with the Packers came in 2018, when he played in all 16 games, had 26 tackles, 1.5 sacks, six tackles for a loss, and forced one fumble.
His 2019 season came with regression as he only logged 11 total tackles in 14 games. Adams is in the final year of his rookie contract and will be looking to make an impact for either an extension or new deal on the open market. With Kenny Clark being the starting nose tackle in the base 3-4 defense, Adams will play rotational snaps and have to earn his playing time throughout the season.
Clark has established himself as an elite nose tackle and impressive anchor to the Packers defense. Clark is entering his fifth year with the Packers and is a likely extension candidate as he has proved his merit as a first-round pick. The 2019 Pro-Bowler accounted for 62 tackles, six sacks, and one forced fumble last season.
Clark’s value as a reliable and strong presence is clear. He has recorded over 50 tackles in his last three seasons and played in 13 or more games each of his seasons in the NFL. Clark is the best down lineman the Packers have to offer and will be asked to continue his productivity and leadership on the defensive line.
Hester provides the Packers depth at the nose tackle position, as he enters his fourth year in the NFL. Originally drafted by Oakland in the seventh round of the 2017 draft, Hester has bounced around in the league with Washington, Philadelphia, and now Green Bay. Hester has been consistent throughout his career, playing in at least 12 games each season. The Packers will seek the same consistency from Hester, providing rotational snaps and injury protection.
Keke enters his second year with the Packers looking to build on an intriguing freshman season. Despite being drafted in the fifth round out of Texas A&M, he carved out playing time in both the regular season and postseason. He totaled 10 regular-season tackles while playing in 14 games, and made three tackles in the Packers two postseason appearances. For 2020, Keke projects as a depth defensive end, who will likely get a chance to play meaningful snaps in what is an important developmental season.
Lancaster will start his third training camp attempting to seize a starting role next to Kenny Clark on the defensive line. His first camp invite was extended after he went undrafted out of Northwestern. Since signing with the Packers, he has proved to be a steal, providing meaningful production upfront. In 2019, he played in all 16 games, making 30 tackles, 1.5 sacks, as well as forcing and recovering a fumble. Lancaster looks to build on solid production throughout his early career, as the Packers will be relying on him becoming more than a rotational end.
Lowry begins his fifth year in Green Bay projecting as a starter next to Kenny Clark and likely Tyler Lancaster. Lowry was a fourth round draft pick from Northwestern in 2016 and has been an incredibly consistent presence on the defensive line. He has played in every regular-season game in each of the last three seasons and only missed a single game his rookie year. His statistical production has risen each year, and in 2019 he totaled 47 tackles, an interception, and a fumble recovery.
The Packers will look for an increase in sack production in 2020, as he failed to complete any last year. Next to Clark, Lowry is the surest bet on Green Bay’s defensive line, and they will be looking for increased production should the line be a positive unit on defense.
Previlon is an undrafted free agent signing out of Rutgers. As a senior, he started all 12 games and earned an honorable mention for the All-Big Ten team. Across 36 career games, he recorded 71 tackles and four sacks. Scouts have lauded him for his length and athleticism at the nose tackle position. Previlon will be on the fringe of the roster and could be a strong candidate for the practice squad.