Packer Update

Pack can really use Harrell now

Harrell's versatility is a plus

Johnny Jolly’s suspension will hurt the Packers, but it won’t hurt Justin Harrell. In fact, the former No. 1 pick is now – provided he can stay healthy – almost a lock to make the final roster. That’s because of all the young defensive linemen who’ll be fighting for backup jobs this summer, he’s the only one who can play both end and nose tackle.

Why’s versatility so important? Because without Jolly, backup nose tackle Ryan Pickett is going to be counted on to help fill the void at left end. And without another player capable of handling the nose, the defense would be extremely vulnerable should starter B.J. Raji go down. That’s where Harrell would prove invaluable. He could replace Pickett at left end or Raji at nose tackle or he could simply move up one spot on the depth chart at both positions.

It remains to be seen whether Harrell’s body will allow him to finally make a contribution to the team. He practiced fairly consistently this spring and didn’t appear to have any problems with his back. The real test, of course, won’t come until the pads go on and the hitting begins next month. If Harrell’s back doesn’t cooperate, general manager Ted Thompson might be forced to acquire another lineman, and finding a player who can line up at both end and nose tackle is much easier said than done.

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18 Comments to "Pack can really use Harrell now"

  1. jeremiah says:

    Yeah, vonnie holliday would look real nice in a packer uni right now….

    Maybe we can trade bush for a useful body if martin and bell continue to be ST studs.

  2. ChrisY says:

    It’s hard not to root for Harrell. He’s had nothing but bad luck since his final year in college. It’d be great to see him stay healthy and make an impact this season, but I’m not holding my breath

  3. dHoward says:

    To bad we can’t donate Jolly’s back to Harrell. Or, maybe just a brain transplant. You might have a star if you combined Harrell’s attitude and devotion with Jolly’s body.

    • Bill says:

      Very true. It’s a shame that a POS like Jolly is blessed with a strong body while a seemingly good young man like Harrell can’t stop his own body from breaking down.

  4. stroh says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how Harrell handles training camp. I really hope the guy can stay healthy and contribute, as noted by others its hard not to root for the guy after all he’s been thru! Nobody least of all the Packers can count on Harrell alot. If they keep him I see them going w/ 7 DL, if they release him likely only 6. He simply MUST be available AND productive to stick this season! Good Luck Justin!!!

  5. [...] So with Jolly gone, the Packer Update is saying not is the time that the Packers can really use Justin Harrell. [...]

  6. twilliamsen says:


    The only problem is if you can switch melons and backs, Jolly still couldn’t pass a drug test

  7. PaulW says:

    I wish Harrell well, but it would be a big surprise to see him contribute. Two back surgeries for a player who weighs well over 300 pounds is a lot to overcome.

  8. Yoop says:

    Neither surgery was a major surgery, both were out patient surgeries.
    Walking the next day and running within a couple weeks. No bending or twisting for 4 or 5 weeks.

    The biggest problem was the first surgery, did not work he had a simple micro disc surgery, and that procedure was done again, so structurally his back was not changed all that much.
    In these cases they remove as little as possible to relieve any nerve impingement.
    All reports are he has not had any troubles with it and first and foremost made it through the entire off season program.
    You have to give him credit, he stayed in Green Bay the entire season and OFF season working his butt off to get on the field.
    That is a huge step for Harrell. I hope he does make it, if he can play in the regular rotation and situational packages he has the talent to make the team better.

    But I think many do not give Neal and Wilson the credit they are due and what they bring to the Packers as 3-4 DE’s. Both of these players are FAR quicker then Pickett and Jolly.
    Neal at 6-3 #295 has OLB quickness, his ten yard times are AMAZING, his ten yard time would have been #3 for OLB’s, quicker then Graham, Kindle, Hughes, Misi and Worilds and those guys are 40+ # lighter.
    Add his strength and lateral agility you have a 3-4 DE.
    And Wilson is REAL close in ability again at 290#.

    • stroh says:

      I Don’t believe that for a second!!! Worilds had THE best times in 40, 10 split and 3 cone drills and Jerry Hughes was among the top 3 in those categories… I wanna see your sources!!! If your going to make a statement like Neal would have the 3rd best 10 split for OLB you better have the link to prove it!!!

      And what are they due? They haven’t even been on an NFL field yet!!! They are due NOTHING until they prove it on the field on Sundays!!

      Making something up like the 10 split for Neal is disgraceful and dellusional, unless you can PROVE it, your making it up…

  9. Cocoman says:

    I took a few minutes to look this up and here is what I found:

    Jason Worilds, Virginia Tech (6-1¼, 254) (10-yard split: 1.58 seconds)

    Mike Neal
    Measureables: 4.89 in the 40-yard dash. … 1.70 10-yard dash. … 2.84 20-yard dash. … 4.55 20-yard shuttle. … 7.56 three-cone drill.

    Seems like yoop is not telling the truth

    • Cocoman says:

      Even more interesting is if you read the National Football Post article I linked to, Clay Mathews 10 split was 1.49. Almost a tenth faster than Worilds and the rest of the big names from this draft.

  10. Yoop says:

    I screwed up on Worilds was going to say he was the only one quicker.

    Brandon Graham. 1.61, Kindle 1.65, Hughes 1.63, Misi 1.63, Worilds, 1.56 that is very quick, Yes Mathews was 1.49 for the ten yard. What is most impressive with Matthews is a 4.18 short shuttle and 6.90 3 cone drill. That short shuttle would put him #3 for Safeties in that draft and #4 for the 3 cone drill.

    Neal 1.60 ten yard time. 4.87 40 time. as reported at

    The SOURCE

    Even if its wrong and he is 1.70 ten yard time, he is still 40 pounds heavier and less than .005 to .010 of second slower then those SAME OLB’s I outlined in the ten yard.
    That is QUICK for a big man no matter what you want to believe.

    And to just compare, Neal had a 4.87 40 time, Suh 5.03, McCoy 5.07 Odrick 5.03

    Suh 1.69 ten yard time, McCoy 1.68, Odrick 1.72,

    Broad jump Suh 8’9″ McCoy 9’6″, Odrick 8’10″ , Neal 9’5″

    Vertical Suh 35.5, McCoy 30.5 , Odrick 29″, Neal 33″

    reps @225# Suh 32, McCoy 23, Odrick 26, Neal 31.

    Twenty yard times Suh 2,81, McCoy 2.85, Odrick 2.90, Neal 2.72

    Neal is a physical specimen that stand up to and beats the TOP Dlinemen in the draft.

    The big diffference is what position they are going to play, 3-4 DE or 4-3 DE.

    The only Dlinemen I put higher as a 3-4 DE is Suh.
    none of them put it all together physically as Neal does, and with the Dline Coach the Packers have I can’t wait to see what he does in this defense.

    Just for comparison to Jolly, Jolly, 5.41 40 time, 1.89 ten yard time.

    • Michael Rodney says:

      There’s no question Neal is the total package physically, but there’s a reason why he was still around at the end of the second round. He didn’t play at a consistently high level at Purdue. If he had, he wouldn’t have made it out of the first round. The Packers might’ve gotten themselves a steal or he could wind up being just another guy. We’ll have to wait to see which it is.

    • Cocoman says:

      Thanks for all the info. I think that the comparisons to Suh, McCoy & Odrick are the really telling ones and give a good indication of Neal’s athletic ability. I too am really looking forward to seeing what he can do on the field.

  11. JimR_in_DC says:

    Did Harrell play last night? Did he do anything? I didn’t see his name show up on the stats for the game.

  12. JimR_in_DC says:

    Thanks Michael. :)

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