Clark had another stellar season in 2021, becoming the first defensive tackle for Green Bay in 55 years to be selected for multiple Pro Bowls after recording 48 tackles (six for a loss), 13 quarterback hits and four sacks. in 16 starts.
Ironman in his own right, Lowry had a career-high 42 tackles and five sacks in 17 starts. His 86 consecutive games played is the longest streak among any active D-line player in the NFL.
Both veterans were critical to first-year success under Barry, ranking ninth in total defense (328.2 yards per game) and 11th against the run (109.1 ypg).
Beyond Clark and Lowry, Green Bay’s D-line is young after the organization parted ways with former 2018 draft pick Kingsley Keke in January. However, the Packers like what they’ve seen so far from 2021 fifth-round pick TJ Slaton.
A raw but uniquely gifted athlete from the University of Florida, the 6-foot-4, 330-pound defensive lineman went from diving basketballs to stuffing running backs as a rookie. Thrown into the fire due to injuries, Slaton responded with 23 tackles and a sack deep in the Green Bay defense.
“The times he did it well, you could see the line of scrimmage move the other way,” Montgomery said of Slaton. “When he attacks and pushes back the line of scrimmage and uses his hands and gets out of the blocks, he’s quite dominant. He’s a big man, athletic, he’s lean, so if we can keep doing that consistently, I think we will have a very good player on our hands.”
Rounding out the defensive line is Jack Heflin, who had nine tackles and three quarterback hits in the 2021 preseason to make the initial 53-player roster as an undrafted rookie for Iowa.
The 6-foot-3, 304-pound defensive lineman has only seen action in four regular season games, recording one tackle. Heflin signed a term contract with the Packers on January 26 after finishing the season with the team’s practice squad.
With just five defensive linemen on the roster, it’s likely general manager Brian Gutekunst will look to add to the position in the NFL Draft next week. The Packers haven’t drafted a defensive lineman until the fifth round since 2017.