Why the Packers should consider a reunion with edge rusher Chris Odom

Why the Packers should consider a reunion with edge rusher Chris Odom

The Packers’ roster is functionally set for training camp, but a tweak here or there wouldn’t go amiss, especially among some of their weaker positions.

Even though they added Kingsley Enagbare in this spring’s draft, the Packers’ edge rushers represent one such position. Though Rashan Gary and Preston Smith are a solid 1-2 punch, Enagbare, Jonathan Garvin, or Tipa Galeai would be the next man up, depending how you stack the depth chart.

And though each has his merits (Enagbare was fairly productive in college, Garvin did pretty well in short stints last year, Galeai is tall), the Packers could use some help on the edge, and USFL Defensive Player of the Year Chris Odom could provide it.

Odom, 27, recorded 12 ½ sacks for the Houston Gamblers in the reborn USFL’s inaugural season. At 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, he has more or less prototypical size for the position and used his physical tools to wreak havoc on opposing passers.

Odom may be a familiar name to Packers fans. In 2017, the Packers claimed Odom on waivers after he was cut by the Falcons during their final roster reduction. He logged 59 snaps on defense across seven games that year, recording six tackles.

Released the following season, Odom has been the consummate journeyman since then. He popped up with the Salt Lake City Stallions in the Alliance of American Football in 2018, rejoined the Atlanta Falcons in 2019 but was waived, then joined up with Washington for four games that season, recording two sacks. He was out of football in 2020, but traveled north of the border for a short stint with the Calgary Stampeders in 2021 before ultimately landing in the USFL for the 2022 season.

Now, just because he was good in the USFL doesn’t mean he’d contribute anything for the Packers. The level of play in the USFL isn’t great, and it’s fair to wonder if a guy coming off a full slate of games at level of professional football would have anything left in the tank for an NFL season.

But the Packers just aren’t flush with depth on the edge. The 2019 version of Kyler Fackrell that took snaps from Rashan Gary would be an upgrade to their depth chart right now. Odom dominated his competition — such as it was — and would at least give the Packers a relatively safe option near the top of their edge rusher group.

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