The Packers have been waiting all season for their top pick, B.J. Raji, to live up to his first round status. While their other first round pick, Clay Matthews Jr., has been excellent, Raji has battled injury and the rustiness resulting from his hold out. He missed the first two games of the year due to that ankle injury and has seen only limited playing time since. However, he may finally get his chance to show his improvement this week.
Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, and Cullen Jenkins will remain the defensive line starters, but as the season progresses, look for the Packers to use a deeper rotation to keep those guys fresh. Raji will play a larger role.
After looking slow and weak in his first two games, big B.J. had a great game against Cleveland, registering two solo tackles and a great push against the Browns’ line. Then he looked solid against the Vikings despite a fine worthy facemask penaly.
Raji discussed his improvement this week, “Yeah, and now I’m really starting to understand the defense. I’ve been more spectating and watching and learning than playing. So now, I’m getting my chance, and hopefully, I take advantage of it.” He also thinks that he has most of his power back.
Let’s hope that this $18 million man will prove that he was worth the holdout as he gets more significant playing time.