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Packers Select Florida DT Tedarrell Slaton with Fifth-Round Pick of NFL Draft

After taking care of needs at cornerback, center and receiver in the first three rounds, the Packers added a blocker in the fourth and now a massive defender.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – With the first of their fifth-round draft picks on Saturday, the Green Bay Packers selected Florida defensive tackle Tedarrell Slaton.

It’s almost as if general manager Brian Gutekunst has a checklist. After taking care of needs at cornerback, center and receiver in the first three rounds, he added a blocker in the fourth and now a massive defender to potentially bolster the team’s porous run defense. All five picks have been from Power-5 conferences.

“Oh, man, it was like surreal,” Slaton said in his Zoom. “All the waiting I was doing. I was just waiting. When they called me, it was just a rush of excitement. I just couldn’t wait to be picked. Then, when they picked me, it was just an adrenaline rush. I just can’t wait to get up there.”

At 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds Slaton ran an impressive 5.08 in his 40-yard dash. He put up 27 reps on the 225-pound bench press.

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Interestingly, since the move to a 3-4 scheme in 2009, the Packers had selected 16 defensive linemen. B.J. Raji, with a first-round pick in 2009, was the only true big guy the Packers had selected. In fact, Kenny Clark (314) was the only other linemen drafted at more than 310.

During his Zoom, he said he would like to get down to 320 pounds. He was pushing 350 in 2017.

A starter only as a senior, he had 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for losses among 37 tackles in 12 games. He drew two holding penalties.

Slaton started his Gators career on the offensive line before making the move to defense.

“I was a right tackle in high school,” he said. “Coming into college, making that switch, it was something I wanted to do. All throughout high school, I wanted to play defense. Florida gave me the opportunity to play defense and I took it and ran with it.”

He’s athletic, able to dunk and do a backflip. He had big dreams of breaking Florida’s single-season sacks record of 13 but never got within a country mile of achieving that feat. He had a career-high two sacks as a junior. He did have 19 total pressure in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus.

“T.J. is a young player that has embraced the things we’ve asked him to do,” Florida defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said in 2018. “He’s obviously a talented guy that can play multiple things for us. He’s what I consider a three-down player from the sense that he has the ability to stop the run on early downs, first and second, but he also has some pass rush ability, ability to push the pocket.”

Here’s part of the scouting report from NFL Draft Bible: The NFL is filled with many nose tackles, but few will compare in size to Slaton. He fills out his frame well and has a solid first step for a nose tackle, which allows him to win in one-on-one situations against interior offensive linemen. He possesses violent hands that make it difficult for offensive linemen to get inside his shoulders. The flash plays are what make Slaton so interesting. He isn’t a run-stopper, but rather a player who can get after the quarterback in short stints. The main concern with Slaton revolves around winning the leverage battle. He has a tendency to stand straight up once the ball is snapped, which causes him to lose ground and be taken out of the play.

The pick was No. 173 overall; they also hold No. 178.

Green Bay also possesses No. 30 (No. 214 overall) and No. 36 (No. 220) of the sixth round and No. 29 (No. 256 overall) of the seventh round.

The 2021 Packers Draft Class

First round: Georgia CB Eric Stokes

More Stokes: Blown away by more than 40 time

Second round: Ohio State C Josh Myers

More Myers: Stands tall in strong center class

Third round: Clemson WR Amari Rodgers

More Rodgers: Gutekunst loses trade but wins player he coveted

Fourth round: Ole Miss OL Royce Newman

Fifth round: Florida DT Tedarrell Slaton

Fifth round: Appalachian State CB Shemar Jean-Charles