Starter (C-): Journeyman Ricky Jean Francois was signed last month, but the coaches would like Kenny Clark to be the starter in the middle of the D-line. Last year’s No. 1 pick had an ordinary rookie season until turning it up a notch late. The Packers need him to pick up in September where he left off in January.
Depth (B-): Francois and Letroy Guion – assuming he’s not cut between now and when his PED suspension ends in early October – give the Packers quality depth at nose tackle. The former is the more athletic of the two, while the latter is stronger at the point of attack. Youngsters Brian Price and Christian Ringo are also around. They combined for only 87 snaps last season but flashed at times during training camp.
Player to watch: The Packers haven’t gotten quality play from this position since Ryan Pickett in 2012, but Clark should put an end to that dubious streak. The former UCLA star generally held his own as a 20-year-old last season, so it’s easy to see why everyone is so excited about his potential. And while he may never be a true impact player, he should be a good to very good starter for years to come.
*Level of need: Few teams are as deep at this position as the Packers heading into the draft. That said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to add a player on day 3. Jean Francois’ deal is only for one year, Guion is about as reliable as a TV weather person and neither Price nor Ringo is guaranteed to even be around when the regular season opens in September.