Unfortunately for Jerel Worthy, he didn’t get picked on his birthday in Thursday’s first round of the NFL Draft.
Instead, on Friday, the Green Bay Packers made Worthy their pick at the No. 51 spot. The Packers addressed a pressing need in a solid defensive lineman to help build a defense which ranked among the NFL’s worst last season.
“PACKER NATION!!!!!! No better place to be!!” Worthy tweeted.
“How excited is new #Packer Jerel Worthy? He’s running around the parking lot outside his draft party to come down from the emotional high,” Scout.com’s Dave Berk tweeted.
The Packers traded with the Philadelphia Eagles to move to take Worthy, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter moments before the pick.
Green Bay tied for 27th in the NFL in 2011 with 29 sacks. Worthy could form a wicked combination lined up next to 6-foot-2, 337-pound nose tackle B.J. Raji to help revamp the Green Bay defense.
Although, Detroit News’ Matt Charboneau said the Packers could be thinking of Worthy as a defensive end. The Packers had injury problem at defensive end in 2011, with Nick Collins and Cullen Jenkins both missing significant time. Green Bay runs a 3-4 base defense, which means there are three down lineman with four linebackers. Worthy would be used in a role to take up blockers and stuff the run, two of his strengths, to allow for the blitz to get the quarterback.
The former Michigan State defensive tackle was rated the sixth-best available player following the first round by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. Worthy was the sixth defensive tackle picked.
Worthy started 38 games in three seasons at MSU. He made 107 tackles, 27.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He also blocked three kicks.
He was named an All-American by all major organizations in 2011.