The Green Bay Packers inked 4th-year defensive lineman Dean Lowry to a 3-year $20.345 million deal solidifying him as a staple along their defensive front.

Lowry is coming off a career year in which he recorded 44 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 3 pass breakups and 3 sacks. If this contract wasn’t a big enough vote of confidence in Lowry, the very next day the Packers, in what was a shocking move, cut Pro Bowl defensive lineman Mike Daniels.

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It will now be up to Lowry and rising star Kenny Clark to take control of the line of scrimmage for the Packers defense. GM Brian Gutekunst expressed his confidence in the duo at his Wednesday press conference saying, “Kenny and Dean, these guys are veterans now. This is their time to take some things on, those are two pillars, looking at the future, two guys who are going to anchor that defensive line.”

If Lowry is to truly be considered an anchor he must take his game to the next level in 2019. Even after an impressive 2018 season, there is plenty of room for growth.

Lowry only played on 65% of the Packers defensive snaps last year and should see that number spike now that Daniels is gone. I believe Lowry will excel in this expanded role, especially against the run. He has always done a great job of being aggressive at the point of attack and forcing offensive lineman into the backfield.

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One of, if not my favorite thing about Lowry has been his durability. He has only missed one game in his 3-year career and for a defense that has seen its fair share of injuries in the past, his health cannot be overstated.

Gutekunst alluded to Lowry’s ability to stay on the field during his press conference saying, “He’s really worked himself into being a really good NFL football player. He’s very reliable and dependable.”

As we enter training camp, all eyes will be on Lowry taking that next step and I think alongside guys like Kenny Clark, Zadarius Smith, and Rashan Gary, he’ll be in the perfect spot to do just that.