Pack­ers claim Odom, trade El­liott

Packer Plus - - ROSTER MOVES - MICHAEL CO­HEN MILWAUKEE JOUR­NAL SEN­TINEL AND RYAN WOOD USA TO­DAY NETWORK-WIS­CON­SIN

After months of pub­lic back­ing for their thin crop of out­side lineback­ers, the Green Bay Pack­ers are fi­nally tak­ing ac­tions that ad­mit the con­trary: a need for re­in­force­ments.

Four days after agree­ing to a con­tract with vet­eran pass rusher Ah­mad Brooks, who was re­leased by the San Francisco 49ers, gen­eral man­ager Ted Thomp­son made two moves to fur­ther over­haul the po­si­tion. First he claimed edge rusher Chris Odom off waivers from the At­lanta Fal­cons, and then he traded out­side line­backer Jay­rone El­liott to the Dal­las Cow­boys for a con­di­tional sev­en­thround pick in 2018.

With El­liott and Kyler Fack­rell serv­ing as top back­ups at out­side line­backer this off-sea­son, the Pack­ers lacked strength on the edge of their de­fen­sive front. Both are dy­namic ath­letes, but too of­ten get pushed off the ball. Adding Brooks and Odom helps for­tify the Pack­ers’ out­side line­backer ro­ta­tion not only in the pass rush, but also against the run.

Odom is a stronger edge de­fender than El­liott. At 6 foot 4 and 262 pounds, Odom out­weighs El­liott by 10 pounds. He’s spent most of his ca­reer in a three-point stance and was a de­fen­sive line­man in Fal­cons coach Dan Quinn’s 4-3 de­fense. With the Pack­ers, it won’t be the first time Odom has stood up in a two-point stance, but it will be rel­a­tively new.

“It’s some­thing I can eas­ily adapt to and get used to,” Odom said. “My play­ing style, I can set the edge on the run, and I can get after the quar­ter­back. Those two alone make a com­plete de­fen­sive end, out­side line­backer type.

“I think my strength helps, but I think it’s more than that. More than just strength. I think it’s just more good in­stincts and be­ing strong at the point of at­tack.”

If Odom stays on the 53 at least two weeks, he’ll face the Fal­cons when the Pack­ers make their first road trip of the sea­son to At­lanta. It’s sim­i­lar to last sea­son, when the Pack­ers claimed run­ning back Jhurell Press­ley after the Min­nesota Vik­ings re­leased him. The Pack­ers had a trip to Min­nesota sched­uled for Week 2, but they re­leased Press­ley one week after he was claimed.

Such is the un­pre­dictable re­al­ity for play­ers at the bot­tom of 53-man ros­ters, but Odom fig­ures to have a bet­ter chance of last­ing longer in Green Bay. The Pack­ers tracked Odom since spring and hosted him for a visit in April, two weeks be­fore the draft, where he met with as­so­ciate head coach/lineback­ers Win­ston Moss.

Odom, a high school team­mate of 2017 No. 1 pick Myles Gar­rett, even­tu­ally went un­drafted out of Arkansas State. He quickly showed his po­ten­tial this pre­sea­son. In 161 snaps he led all NFL de­fen­sive line­men with 17 tack­les. He also had two sacks and four tack­les for a loss, and one quar­ter­back hit that forced an in­ter­cep­tion.

While the body of work was im­pres­sive, Odom’s fi­nal pre­sea­son out­ing Thurs­day might have earned his spot on a 53man ros­ter. In 69 snaps against the Jack­sonville Jaguars, he fin­ished with eight tack­les, one sack and a bat­ted pass.

“I guess they be­lieved in me and liked what they saw,” Odom said. “That’s why to­day hap­pened. So I’m re­ally ex­cited to be a part of the Packer or­ga­ni­za­tion, and I can’t wait to get to work.”

The Pack­ers fi­nal­ized their deal with Brooks, sign­ing him to what a source said was a oneyear deal. He had agreed to terms with the Pack­ers Aug. 30, but the club waited un­til Sun­day for strate­gic rea­sons.

To make room for Brooks, the Pack­ers placed of­fen­sive line­man Don Bar­clay on in­jured re­serve. By car­ry­ing Bar­clay on the 53-man ros­ter for 24 hours after the cut­down Satur­day, the Pack­ers now have the option of des­ig­nat­ing him to re- turn after eight weeks. Had they put Bar­clay on in­jured re­serve Satur­day, he would have been lost for the sea­son.

The move also ex­plains why the Pack­ers kept both Justin McCray and Lucas Pa­trick, a pair of guard/cen­ters who had filled the void at backup cen­ter while Bar­clay recovered from a right an­kle in­jury. The Pack­ers ap­par­ently felt Bar­clay would need more time to recover from the in­jury he suf­fered in the ex­hi­bi­tion opener against Philadel­phia Aug. 10.

Ei­ther McCray or Pa­trick will be the backup to Corey Lins­ley in the sea­son opener against Seat­tle on Sun­day.

Dozens of play­ers around the league changed teams Sun­day in a mat­ter of min­utes, while those who went un­claimed be­gan to ne­go­ti­ate po­ten­tial prac­tice squad con­tracts with teams of their choos­ing.

Right away, the Pack­ers took a hit. The gam­bles by Thomp­son to re­lease quar­ter­back Taysom Hill and de­fen­sive tackle Brian Price came up snake eyes when both play­ers were claimed on waivers.

Hill, an un­drafted rookie from Brigham Young, is bound for New Or­leans after the Saints claimed a Pack­ers’ quar­ter­back for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year. In 2016, the Saints snagged Joe Cal­la­han on Oct. 14 after the Pack­ers re­leased him in hopes of re-sign­ing him to the prac­tice squad. Cal­la­han wound up spend­ing two weeks in New Or­leans and a month with the Cleve­land Browns be­fore ul­ti­mately re­turn­ing to the Pack­ers.

Cal­la­han, the Pack­ers’ fourth QB from camp, cleared waivers and re-signed as a mem­ber of the prac­tice squad.

In ad­di­tion to Hill, the Pack­ers also lost Price, who was claimed by the Cow­boys. Price nar­rowly missed a spot on the 53-man ros­ter after los­ing a tight po­si­tion bat­tle with three­tech­nique Chris­tian Ringo, a 2015 sixth-round draft pick. The 6-3, 318-pound Price served as Kenny Clark’s pri­mary backup at nose tackle and showed real promise as a run stop­per.

By keep­ing Ringo, the Pack­ers opted for a more pol­ished pass rusher.

Mean­while, the Pack­ers might not be fin­ished pluck­ing play­ers who have been cast off the 49ers de­fense.

The Pack­ers are host­ing de­fen­sive end Quin­ton Dial , a source said. Dial was re­leased by the 49ers on Satur­day.

Dial, at 6-5, 318 pounds, has an ideal frame to play five-tech de­fen­sive end. A fifth-round pick out Alabama in 2013, Dial was a two-year starter for the 49ers. He has 78 ca­reer tack­les and 41⁄ sacks.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Chris Odom trips up Car­di­nals run­ning back James Sum­mers dur­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion game. The Pack­ers claimed Odom after the Fal­cons re­leased him.

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