Dean Lowry is a Freak Athlete

Dean Lowry is an athletic marvel, but maybe not in the way you'd expect.

Rookie Dean Lowry has already made a positive impression in his first three practices.

Rookie Dean Lowry has already made a positive impression in his first three practices.

Gary wrote up a terrific piece earlier this week on Lowry's background, and he included an interesting note: "Only fellow defensive linemen DeForest Buckner and Chris Jones compared physically to Lowry at the combine. The 49ers selected Buckner seventh overall; Jones went 37th overall to the Chiefs."

This merits deeper exploration. Buckner was considered a generational prospect at defensive end, in part because of his prodigious size and athleticism.

Chris Jones is also extraordinarily large, even for a defensive tackle. But neither one quite has the athletic mix that Lowry has, especially considering how the Packers may use him.

Lowry is considered a more or less prototypical 3-4 defensive end, given his combination of size and weight. His arms are a little shorter than you'd generally like, but overall, he's right there. However, as a defensive end, he may not be anything special.

The website Mockdraftable tracks the physical data of incoming NFL players and compares it by position, ranking each specific measurable by percentile. This gives us a good look at how a player compares physically to others at his position.

For example, here's Lowry's physical stats among defensive ends:

As you can see, Lowry is only exceptional among defensive ends in height and weight. But if we run the comparison differently, a potentially interesting role emerges for the rookie lineman.

Take a look at how he compares to defensive tackles:

This leads me to believe the Packers may see Lowry more as an interior rusher than someone they'd count on as a stalwart defensive end.

The concerns about his arm length will always be there, but Lowry is an excellent athlete, and would have ranked among the very best at his position athletically had he been slotted with other defensive tackles at the combine. He's not just a "try hard" guy, and hopefully he'll be able to put that athleticism to good use on the field this fall.