Packers Rumors: Could Elvis Dumervil Be The Missing Piece?
A small but significant milestone passed this week in the NFL offseason: as of Tuesday, free agent signings no longer factor into the league’s compensatory pick formula.
While there’s no indication he’s going to do so, this means that notorious compensatory pick compiler Ted Thompson could be interested in another dip into free agency. He’s already made several uncharacteristic moves this offseason, so it’s not entirely beyond the pale to wonder if he’d be up for another one.
If he does make another signing, Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport has a suggestion: Elvis Dumervil. He notes that the Packers are probably set with their starters at outside linebacker, but that’s a perfect situation for Dumervil:
On paper, there’s a bit of a fit, but would the Packers be interested?
Linebacker depth needed
Right now, the Packers are counting on Vince Biegel, Kyler Fackrell, or Jayrone Elliot to be their next consistent pass rusher. While Fackrell and Elliot have shown some pass rushing productivity in spurts, neither have shown any indication that they can perform regularly.
Dumervil, on the other hand, has been quite consistent throughout his career in Baltimore and in Denver. As recently as 2014, Dumervil piled up 17 sacks.
Although he’s slowed down a bit the last couple seasons due to age and injury, he’s shown the ability to get to the quarterback as both a defensive end and as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Injuries and fit a concern
Dumervil’s recent injuries are worth noting. He missed half the season with a lingering foot injury, later revealed to be a partially torn Achilles tendon. That he managed to play at all is impressive, but the Packers would have to be convinced he’s all the way back before making an offer.
It’s also worth wondering how Dumervil fits with how the Packers like to deploy their outside linebackers. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers tends to rotate his pass rushers in pairs.
Last year, Clay Matthews and Nick Perry lined up together, while Julius Peppers rotated in with Datone Jones. There were occasional deviations, but that was generally how things worked.
To fit into this kind of rotation, Dumervil would have to play the run as well as the pass. His 6-0, 255 pound frame isn’t what you’d typically expect from a run defender, which could be a problem if the Packers expected him to play this way.
Past success leaves room for hope
Still, the Packers have had success with aging pass rushers before. Julius Peppers should go in Ted Thompson’s player acquisition hall of fame, and if Dumervil could perform even 80% as well as peak Peppers, he’d be a worthwhile acquisition.
If the Packers believe Dumervil can be a rotational player and want to use him that way, Dwight Freeney might be an even better comparison. Himself a small-ish end, Freeney has spent the last four years of his career working as a pass rusher for hire, doing stints with the Chargers, Cardinals, and Falcons.
He lost most of his first year in San Diego to injury, but over the past three seasons, Freeney has been remarkably productive in very little action. During that three year stretch, he never played more than 572 snaps in a single campaign, yet he’s been good for 14.5 sacks and numerous other pressures.
If Dumervil could produce like that he’d certainly be worth a look even despite those other concerns.