Packers Cut Young Defensive Lineman to Sign Ex-Browns Starter

Packers Sign Winn

Getty Defensive tackle Billy Winn #90 of the Cleveland Browns sacks quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers during the first half at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 28, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Green Bay Packers stashed a former starting defensive lineman on their practice squad Wednesday along with making a few other roster adjustments.

The Packers announced the signings of veteran Billy Winn and offensive tackle Ryan Pope along with the corresponding release of second-year defensive lineman Daylon Mack, putting their practice squad back at its 16-man capacity. One spot had previously been left open after the Packers signed rookie linebacker Krys Barnes to the active roster last Saturday.

Winn, who had worked out for the Packers on Saturday, was a sixth-round draft pick for the Cleveland Browns in 2012 and made 18 starts over his first three seasons in the league, but he hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since he tore his ACL during the 2017 preseason in Denver. He attempted a comeback during last year’s preseason before a triceps injury shut him down.

As for Pope, the second-year offensive tackle spent his rookie training camp with the Detroit Lions before getting released during 53-man roster cuts. He also had a brief stint with the San Francisco 49ers’ practice squad last September.

Mack had been an intriguing pickup for the Packers as a former fifth-round pick for the Baltimore Ravens. The 340-pound defensive lineman played just nine defensive snaps during his 2019 rookie season before landing on injured reserve in November, but his ouster from Baltimore seemed to be the byproduct of a stacked position group.

Mack was Texas A&M teammates with Packers tight end Jace Sternberger and fellow defensive lineman Kingsley Keke, who was also drafted in the fifth round in 2019.

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Packers’ D-Line Still Battered With Injuries

Depending on how injuries progress, the Packers could potentially need more defensive linemen on their game-day roster this Sunday against the Lions.

The status of star nose tackle Kenny Clark remains unknown after he dropped out of the Packers’ season opener with a groin injury. He did not participate in Wednesday’s practice and spent the session inside the team’s facility working with the rehab group, leaving in question the biggest piece of the Packers’ defensive line.

The Packers were also without backup Montravius Adams from the get-go against the Vikings. He has been getting only limited work in practice ever since spraining his toe midway through training camp last month and carried a doubtful status into Week 1 before getting ruled out in the pregame. That left the Packers with just Dean Lowry, Tyler Lancaster and Kingsley Keke to populate their defensive line for the entire second half on Sunday.

Don’t be surprised if the Packers use at least one of their game-day elevations off the practice squad to add some more depth to the position in Week 2. A new NFL rule allows teams to promote as many as two additional players from the practice squad to their active/inactive roster on game day and temporarily increase the roster limit to 55 players, which the Packers did last Sunday against the Vikings with tight end John Lovett and outside linebacker Tipa Galeai.

One option against the Lions could obviously be the newly-added Winn, but they also have undrafted rookie Willington Previlon stashed in their reserves to offer another call-up possibility. He was one of the few UDFA signings to go through training camp with the Packers and was quickly re-signed to the practice squad.

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