Packers’ 330-LB Rookie Shows Off Dunking Skills in Viral Video

TJ Slaton Dunk Video

Getty Tedarrell Slaton #56 of the Florida Gators reacts against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second half of the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium on December 30, 2019 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Anyone doubting the potential of Green Bay Packers rookie defensive lineman T.J. Slaton might want to check the tape to see how throws down on the basketball court.

Slaton has confirmed his status as a freak athlete in the weeks leading up to his first NFL training camp with video evidence emerging (via Instagram) that proves the Packers’ fifth-round draft pick does, in fact, have the hops to get up and dunk a basketball. While that’s a feat worth praising for any NFL player — we know that Za’Darius Smith (6-4, 272) and Aaron Jones (5-9, 208) can’t do it — it is especially impressive given Slaton checks in at 330 pounds.

Check it out for yourself below (or on Slaton’s Instagram story before it fades):

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Will Slaton Make Impact as Rookie?

The Packers have needed a jolt for their defensive line for a few seasons now despite having a standout centerpiece in Kenny Clark and a promising up-and-comer in Kingsley Keke. Dean Lowry has failed to deliver adequate production (three sacks and 21 pressures) since signing his $20.3 million extension with the Packers in July 2019, while others such as Montravius Adams (now in New England) and Tyler Lancaster have struggled to consistently impact the game.

Slaton, however, could be their missing piece.

He was a full-time starter over his final two seasons with the Gators, amassing a combined 67 tackles with seven for a loss. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst also seemed to think Slaton could carve out a role for himself in the rotation before the end of the season, so long as he plays and practices as good as he looks on tape.

“Obviously, T.J.’s a monster,” Gutekunst said shortly after the conclusion of the 2021 NFL draft. “He’s got great size, great length. He’s really tough to dig out of that inside there. He’s one of those guys that can clog up the middle, eat up space and find the ball. If teams want to run it on us, I think specifically as we get later in the season, we have an ability to go in there and get big. And that was why we selected him.”

Will Packers Add More to D-Line?

The Packers added Slaton and former Northern Illinois and Iowa starter Jack Heflin out of the 2021 rookie class. They also have second-year Willington Previlon coming back after he spent the 2020 season on their practice squad. Otherwise, though, it will be the usual suspects for Green Bay’s defensive line when training-camp practice begins on July 28.

Barring any injuries, the Packers would seem destined to begin the 2021 season with the same starting defensive front as they had for most of last year: Lowry, Clark and Kinglsey. The last piece of the alignment missed the postseason with a concussion, but there’s been no reason to doubt he can pick up where he left off heading into his third year. As for Lowry, he restructured his contract earlier this offseason and all but guaranteed himself a roster spot for one more run.

Based on that — and the Packers landing a stud like Slaton — don’t expect any last-minute trades unless an absence or injury necessitates it.

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