When the Green Bay Packers drafted defensive lineman Kingsley Keke in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, it was clear they were looking to improve their pass rush. And it looks like they were able to get Keke much lower than expected.
Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus named the steals of the draft and Keke made the cut. Here’s a look at what Renner had to say about Keke:
“Keke played a tad out of position at Texas A&M, where he took 62.2% of his snaps lined up over or outside the tackle. At 288 pounds, he realistically translates best to three-technique or interior rusher at the next level. And in that role, he dominated at the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile. He had the highest win rate and highest grade among all defensive linemen in attendance in the one-on-ones.”
Keke, who played college football at Texas A&M, earned a starting role on the defensive line in 2017 and he finished the year with 54 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He had a breakout year for the Aggies in 2018, registering 51 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and a team-high seven sacks.
Here’s a look at what Lance Zierlein of NFL.com had to say about Keke:
“Potentially polarizing prospect as some teams could struggle with his best fit in the league. With his athletic ability and functional strength, a role as base in a 4-3 scheme with the ability to reduce inside is most likely. One-gapping 3-4 defenses could target him as well, but he’ll need to add aggressiveness at the point of attack for that role. Keke could step into an early backup spot, but he possesses enough natural ability to aim for an eventual starter or designated rusher role.”
Once the pick was made, college scout Charles Walls talked about why they decided to go with KeKe.
“He’s been a good player there for a while. He’s been on my radar,” he said. “He’s a guy that school talked about for a long time as a guy to be excited about for the future. He’s been on the radar for quite a while.”
Walls went on to talk about the role Keke will play for the Packers this fall.
“I can see him bumping down as a three-tech or even sometimes in their scheme, he’ll play true nose (tackle) in their sub packages,” said Walls. “I’m truly excited about this kid. He can play anywhere.”
Keke is the final piece to the Packers revamped front seven, it started back in March when they signed edge rushers Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith. The Packers also drafted former Michigan edge rusher Rashan Gary in the first round (No. 12) and because of those moves, the Packers released edge rusher Nick Perry and they moved on from edge rusher Clay Matthews when his contract expired at the start of free agency.