FOX Sports Wisconsin’s Paul Imig gives an in-depth statistical analysis and film study of every Packers player in his annual offseason checkup. Check every weekday through mid-April for his latest report.
Ryan Pickett, defensive lineman
Season stats: 17 games (546 snaps; 48.0 percent of total defensive snaps); 24 tackles, one tackle for loss, zero sacks, five quarterback hurries, two batted passes, zero missed tackles, zero forced fumbles, 19 stops (solo tackles that resulted in offensive failure)
ProFootballFocus.com season rating: minus-1.2 (ranked No. 11 out of Packers’ 26 qualifying defensive players; ranked No. 3 out of 7 defensive linemen)
Best game: Week 12 tie vs. Minnesota (played 55 of 81 defensive snaps; two tackles, one quarterback hurry, two stops; 2.2 PFF rating)
Worst game: Week 15 win at Dallas (played 34 of 74 snaps; two tackles, zero quarterback hurries; minus-3.6 PFF rating)
Expectations at the start of the season: Medium
Expectations were … Met
Looking live: Ryan Pickett was the oldest player on the Packers roster during the 2013 season, turning 34 years old leading into the Week 6 game. Pickett didn’t feel old, though. "I feel like I can play another three or four years, easily," Pickett told FOXSportsWisconsin.com during minicamp in June 2013. "It depends on how my body feels. If my body starts feeling bad, then I’ll call it quits. But I feel great." Defensive coordinator Dom Capers still had confidence in Pickett. "I don’t know how long he can go; If he can play like he did last year (in 2012), he’ll certainly have a role," Capers said at the time. Despite those claims, Pickett was sidelined throughout the offseason training activities (OTAs) and minicamp practices due to a hamstring pull. However, Pickett reported to training camp in good health and remained that way the entire time, only missing one practice while attending to a family emergency. Aside from staying healthy, Pickett didn’t do anything noteworthy in practices, not being mentioned once in FOXSportsWisconsin.com’s Training Camp Report series. But as a veteran, Pickett wasn’t expected to put in the same level of work as the team’s young defensive linemen. "You make sure you don’t over-rep them in practice when they’re older," defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said on Aug. 15, 2013.
Upon further review: Pickett entered the 2013 season coming off of what the Packers’ coaching staff believed was his best year with Green Bay. He had a chance to repeat that level of play, too, at least in the opinion of the coaches, due to his conditioning. "Every year the past couple years, he’s come into camp better and better so he’s not working on getting into shape, he’s already in shape," Trgovac said. Though Pickett was solid in 2013, it was a step back from what he did the previous season. His tackles were way down (from 57 tackles in 2012 to 24 tackles this past season), with his 2013 total being the lowest since his rookie year in 2001 with the St. Louis Rams. Part of that decline in box-score production was related to him seeming to be a step slower than what he had been in recent years. Pickett had a different take on it. "There’s no stat for (some of what I do)," he said. "But teams notice it. Coaches notice it. So, it’s all right. I love it." It was a contract year for Pickett, and with his stated desire to play 3-4 more seasons, he was certainly motivated to give it his all. Pickett stayed healthy all season, an impressive task for a player of his age who was on the field for 48 percent of the defensive snaps.
Overall 2013 grade: B-minus
Status for 2014: Fifteen percent chance of being on the Packers’ active roster to begin the 2014 season. With the re-signing of B.J. Raji and the free-agent addition of Letroy Guion this offseason, there may not be a spot (or a role) for Pickett in 2014. He proved that he can still play, but as an unrestricted free agent, Pickett will likely end up doing so elsewhere. The Packers have Mike Daniels, Jerel Worthy, Josh Boyd and Datone Jones (plus the re-signing of Mike Neal to be a part of the "elephant position") on the defensive line, as well as the signing of Julius Peppers and the aforementioned Raji and Guion. That’s seven (or eight with Neal) defensive linemen right there, and the 2014 draft hasn’t even happened yet. That’s why it’s more a matter of numbers and available roles with Pickett than it is about his ability to still get the job done.