Sports Outside the Beltway

NFL Draft 2007 – Round 1 #16 – Green Bay Packers – DT Justin Harrell

The Green Bay Packers have reached to get some help on the defensive line, taking Tennessee’s Justin Harrell with the 16th pick.

What the Experts Say: Profile:

Justin Harrell Photo Civies Player Evaluation: A hard-working lineman with a lot of physical skill, Harrell could be one of the most underrated players in this draft. His injury last season will decrease his final grade, yet he offers starting possibilities as either a two-gap lineman or as a conventional tackle.

STRENGTHS: Explosion, Intensity/Effort, Quickness off Ball

Justin Harrell Photo Vols Uni AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: Disengaging Skills, Lateral Range

Biography: Three-year starter who totaled seven tackles in three games last season, after being sidelined with a torn bicep. Awarded All-Conference honors as a junior after totaling 39/7.5/2.5.

Pos: Tough, athletic defender who plays with top effort. Gets off the snap with a quick first step, is fluid changing direction and slides off blocks to make the play. Bends his knees, gets leverage on opponents and is rarely off his feet. Flashes power on the inside, gets push in the middle of the line or holds the point. Consistently doubled by opponents.

Neg: Gets wired in blocks and is slow to shed. Makes most of his plays up the open field in a small area.


Make no mistake about it, Justin Harrell is a talented player, and staying away from a player who has problems keeping his weight down like Alan Branch makes sense considering the problems the Packers had with Grady Jackson. However, tight end is a far greater need and Greg Olsen was still on the board, so they probably could have gotten a little more bang for the buck here, especially considering QB Brett Favre does a great job of finding his tight ends.

Harrell is coming off a serious arm injury, so there’s reason to worry about his ability to stay healthy, and he isn’t a great pass-rusher, but he should immediately improve the Packers’ run defense. He has excellent lower-body strength and is virtually impossible to move once he establishes position. His ability to collapse the pocket will also make it easier for the edge rushers to get to the quarterback.

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