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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Let's have a look in Bate's cupboard...Defensive Line!



by Bruce
For PackerChatters

Part 1: Bates likes Beef in the middle, so let’s start with the Biggest Body of them all:

DT Grady Jackson, 6-2 340 lbs in his dreams probably closer to 380, 31 yrs old. The GOOD NEWS is Grady is Enormous, and the BAD NEWS is Grady is Enormous. He is a prototype NFL NT who commands a double team. He has surprising quickness and can get into the backfield in a HURRY. Grady has a league wide reputation for NOT being a conditioning fanatic and wears down. He was solid last year but has a rep for dogging it and taking plays off on occasion -- something that should not be tolerated by Bates -- as good as Grady is(much better to stay on top of rotating him and keeping him hungry, esp. with the young developing talent behind him. Grady is an important contributor who fits Bates’ scheme perfectly – let’s hope that he can forget negotiations through the press and play ball like this Big man was born to do. If he ever got in shape – my God the things he could do... On a VERY POSITIVE NOTE, he stayed in GB to rehab his surgery -- which makes is conditioning outlook improve significantly.

DT Cletidus Hunt 6-4 315 lbs and only 28 yrs old has great size and strength, mixed with some quickness. Scouts say, you never know which Cletidus will show up -- he will have games where he frequently collapses the pocket and commands a double team and he will have others which he wears down and disappears. Hunt is famous for not paying enough attention to conditioning. He has the skills to rush the passer but rarely seems to pick up a sack in recent times. He is bordering on borrowed time, Bate will turn him into a full time effort player or he will turn him loose. This cat may have used up his 9 lives by not showing in this opportunity camp.

DT/DE Cullen Jenkins 6-3 295 lbs 24 yrs old was a surprising FA from Central Michigan in 2004. His non-stop motor has earned substantial playing time in the defensive line rotation and has impressed the coaching staff with his work ethics and willingness to learn. He makes up for seemingly ordinary physical tools with the kind of snap-to-whistle effort that offensive linemen dread. He’s got good quickness and an instinct in the pass rushing part of the game. That’s probably the thing, for someone his size, that is most surprising His versatility is just one thing makes him valuable, like Kenny Peterson, he has the ability to play inside or out. Bates is projecting him as a DE, and a passing down DT.

DT Donnell Washington 6-6 333 lbs 24 yr old is an interesting prospect for 2005. Similar to Lee the year before, he spent the season on the IR working out like a mad man who misses the game. Donnell has great size/speed/quickness ratio. He gets a great burst off the snap for a man his size. In college consistently beat blockers out of the snap, possesses a good bull rush, and can move the pile. Closes well when near the QB or ball carrier. He lacks experience and has a reputation for being an undisciplined player. Coming out of college was considered by some scouts a boom or bust pick. . . . The late Packers' Mark Hatley said he could play three technique, nose or power end on the line... Arm length span of 36 inches... Vertical jump 33.5 inches. I love this kid and Bates seems to be drooling over his potential.

DT James Lee 6-5 333 25 yrs old has the potential to be a great run stuffer and natural two-gap tackle. Runs very well for a man his size and will pursue. A better athlete than he looks who possesses surprising lateral quickness. Durability and stamina continue to be issues for Lee despite his hard work. He has never had to hold up for 60 snaps per game. As a pass rusher he is raw, relies on his bull rush -- though seems teachable and may surprise given his new found work-ethic. He has to shake the injury bug to survive as a DT in the NFL.

DT/DE Kenny Peterson 6-3 295 26 yrs old is a DE/DT tweener. While he is very quick and athletic, with good balance and change-of-direction speed, his size limits him inside. Coming out of college he had the reputation for being one of the strongest players in Ohio State's history; who set many weight room records. Has been dinged up in the Pros and flashes potential from time to time as a pass rusher. I would like to see him moved outside and stop this shifting -- this would allow him to get better at recognizing plays and not get caught out of position. He keeps good leverage and gets off the snap in a hurry. I think he has better potential as a pass rusher than Kampman, who gets it done by intense film study and endless pursuit and effort. Kenny's downside is he doesn't have the bulk or body type to be an every-down player and unless he makes a significant leap NOW, he will never be the type of player that takes over a game. If not, he may have used up his chances in GB.

DT Colin Cole 6-2 320 24 yr old out of Iowa is a massive man who takes up space, fits Bates scheme of big men who clog the middle, and as such will get a look see and a chance to compete. Having him back does provide some nice injury insurance in a pinch.

DT Doug Sims 6-1 350 25 yr old who played ball at Hawaii -- would be a major surprise to emerge -- probably little more than camp fodder. The best thing I can say about this kid is he is huge and hungry.

Beef in the middle and speed from DE: Bates looks to enhance and compliment KGB with ...a rush from the other side and depth to keep him fresh in 2005:

DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, 6-4 255 lbs and 27 years old is a rare athlete with great speed and power that deceives. He explodes into his blocker, then into the quarterback and has the art of the strip down to a science. While he has learned to vary his moves and is a high-effort guy, he isn't very big and can't shed very well when plays are run at him. Having to line up over the DE allowed him to be steered wide too often, and is too lean to not benefit from at least some limited rotation. Bates system was designed for speed DE's like Kabeer -- remember Jason Taylor only had 2 sacks the season before Bate turned him into an All Pro.

DE Aaron Kampman, 6-4 294 lbs is 25 years old and he is a hard working, disciplined player, who uses sound technique and doesn't get pushed around. Will pursue and make plays up and down the line. In many ways he is a classic overachiever. He will never be a player who commands a double team. And will never be a threat to sack the QB down in and down out. But is a player who has improved every season and put up the best numbers of any of the DE playing on his side in the division.

DE R-Kal Truluck, at 6-4 and 262 lbs 2004 season can only be described as disappointing. AT 30 years of age, he possess the speed and moves to be an effect pass rusher, but needs to be healthy and have help as a situational pass rusher. The Packers just resigned him, so TT must see some of what Sherman saw before trading for him. In Bates’ system he should fit as a speed rusher, but not as an early down DE.

DE Corey Williams, is 6-4 and 310 lbs of solid muscle. At only 24 years of age he is a more fluid, lateral athlete than Donnell Washington is but not quite as powerful. Corey can play both the DE and DT positions, but probably is going to concentrate at DE. He's a worker, who will give you everything he's got on every single play. He is a very gifted athlete, who actually returned punts and kickoffs in high school and was a standout in basketball. Cory has worked hard to increase his strength and is showing his hunger for playing time by studying film and being coachable.

Listed at tackle too, I expect the next two to get serious looks at rotation time and competition that will improve everyone at DE:

DT/DE Cullen Jenkins 6-3 295 lbs 24 yrs old was a surprising FA from Central Michigan in 2004. His non-stop motor has earned substantial playing time in the defensive line rotation and has impressed the coaching staff with his work ethics and willingness to learn. He makes up for seemingly ordinary physical tools with the kind of snap-to-whistle effort that offensive linemen dread. He’s got good quickness and an instinct in the pass rushing part of the game. That’s probably the thing, for someone his size, that is most surprising His versatility is just one thing makes him valuable, like Kenny Peterson, he has the ability to play inside or out.

DT/DE Kenny Peterson 6-3 295 26 yrs old is a DE/DT tweener. While he is very quick and athletic, with good balance and change-of-direction speed, his size limits him inside. Coming out of college he had the reputation for being one of the strongest players in Ohio State's history; who set many weight room records. Kenny has been dinged up in the Pros and flashes potential from time to time as a pass rusher. I would like to see him moved outside and stop this shifting -- this would allow him to get better at recognizing plays and not get caught out of position. He keeps good leverage and gets off the snap in a hurry. I think he has better potential as a pass rusher than Kampman, who gets it done by effort alone. Kenny's downside is he doesn't have the bulk or body type to be an every-down DE and will never be the type of penetrator/disruptor who takes over a game.

A young speed prospect that will be brought back for a second look is:
DE Seante Williams is 6-6 and a KGB like 252 Lbs at 23 years young.

Add to the mix...

Rookie draft choice, Mike Montgomery, who had six sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2004 when he was named first-team all-Big 12.
... and you begin to understand what Bates means when he tells the Chicken Littles that the cupboards are not bare and the sky is far from falling.


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