August 3, 2021

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Progress required from defensive line’s returnees

2 min read
Progress required from defensive line's returnees

Lowry (6-6, 296), a member of Clark’s draft class, got a new contract before last season, started all 18 games, set a career high in tackles, including five for loss, and snagged his first career interception at a key moment in a late-season victory over Chicago.

But 11 QB pressures and no sacks did not continue his trajectory from 2018 (14 pressures, three sacks) and the defense is looking for more there.

The same can be said for Lancaster (6-3, 313), who has progressed in two years from an undrafted rookie on the practice squad to a frequent starter. Like Lowry a Northwestern product, Lancaster is still working on his pass rush (1½ sacks in two seasons) to round out his game. Whether he can be effective and productive with a larger role, or if he’s better suited as a rotational substitute, could be determined this season.

Keke (6-3, 288), a sixth-round pick from Texas A&M last year, is the one the Packers may be banking on to improve the most and take on larger responsibility. He played sparingly as a rookie but flashed at times, such as when he recorded a tackle for loss on third-and-2 in the NFC title game.

Meanwhile, Adams (6-4, 304) has reached a crossroads in his career. Lauded for a strong offseason heading into 2019, it didn’t materialize in the way of production, and his playing time dwindled as the year went along. He has yet to live up to his third-round draft status from 2017 and has the final year of his rookie contract to prove he belongs.

The two newcomers to the group are Treyvon Hester and Willington Previlon.

Hester (6-2, 304) is the free-agent pickup who’s on his fourth team in four years, having previously played one season each for Oakland, Philadelphia and Washington. Originally a seventh-round draft pick from Toledo, he’s recorded two sacks in 41 career games. With the Eagles, he also was credited with tipping Chicago kicker Cody Parkey’s game-winning field goal attempt in the 2018 NFC Wild Card playoff game.

Previlon (6-5, 287) is an undrafted rookie from Rutgers who was named honorable mention All-Big Ten and his team’s MVP last season.

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