The Green Bay Packers will field one of the youngest teams in modern NFL history this season, which means they may make room for a few veterans to bolster key positions.
Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report on Saturday, September 2, suggested the Packers do so on a defensive line that is short on veteran leadership.
That’s especially true on the interior, where Kenny Clark is being supported by a slew of young guys. Devonte Wyatt and T.J. Slaton will be called upon to take on a huge share of the snaps after Dean Lowry and Jarran Reed left in free agency … [and] the Packers will be counting on a pair of rookie Day 3 picks in Colby Wooden and Karl Brooks behind them.
Wooden and Brooks may be able to grow into those roles, but it would be nice to have a veteran like Matthew Ioannidis. The 29-year-old remains unsigned despite starting 13 games for the Carolina Panthers last season.
Matthew Ioannidis Strong Against Both Run, Pass in 2022
Ioannidis played for the Panthers for just one year after spending the first six seasons of his NFL career as a member of the Washington Commanders, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2016 draft.
The defensive tackle has appeared in 86 career games, including 53 starts. Ioannidis was effective against both the run and the pass last season, earning an above average player grade of 66.4 from Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Over the course of his career, Ioannidis has produced 212 tackles, 25.5 sacks and three forced fumbles, per Pro Football Reference. His skill set earned him a three-year, $21.75 contract with Washington in April 2019.
Packers’ Devonte Wyatt Poised for Breakout Campaign in Second NFL Season
The Packers’ defensive line is young, but has the chance be effective this season even without an addition like Ioannidis. The primary reason for that is Wyatt, who finished 2022 strong and is poised for a breakout campaign.
“Nobody [on the Packers] seems to have made a bigger jump from Year 1 to Year 2 than the 2022 first-round pick,” Matt Schneidman of The Athletic wrote on August 14. “He barely played 20 percent of the defensive snaps as a rookie but is in line for a much bigger role this season alongside Kenny Clark and T.J. Slaton. Wyatt has often been in the backfield during team drills and has picked up right where he left off at the end of his rookie season.”
Over Green Bay’s final four games of 2022, Wyatt tallied five tackles, three QB hits and 1.5 sacks, per Pro Football Reference.
“I feel a lot more comfortable, a lot more confident with plays. I hit the rookie wall about the beginning of (last) year, but it’s gone now. Now it’s just time to take that next step,” Wyatt told Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com during an August 3 interview. “Just trying to prove my point. Just letting them know I’m here this year. I’m not here to play (around). I have a point to prove.”