Packers (still) need more from Kyler Fackrell, Montravius Adams

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- This isn't normally something that would come across as a breaking news alert but when Kyler Fackrell and Montravius Adams won reps in the 1-on-1 pass rushing drill during the first padded practice of training camp, those who have Green Bay Packers news alerts programed for notifications probably were inundated.

That's because for Fackrell, the win was just his second in his three NFL camps; in his first two years, he compiled just a dismal 1-30 record in the drill.

For Adams, it was his first win of his two-year career because it was his first rep. The defensive tackle didn't make it to the first padded practice last year as a rookie because of a foot injury.

The Packers haven't gotten much out of the pair of former third-round picks but after relatively decent starts to camp this year, there's at least some hope that Fackrell and Adams could finally help this defense.

Despite playing 447 snaps last season, Fackrell didn't make the jump that coach Mike McCarthy often talks about with second-year players. Perhaps the third year is the charm.

For Adams, who didn't make his NFL debut until Week 3 and then after that didn't play again until Week 9, any jump he makes in Year 2 should be seen as an improvement after playing only 66 snaps all of last season.

"Really with that it's really the second- or the third-[year jump]," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, with the emphasis on the word "or."

"When a guy doesn't make that jump the second year, you go 'Whoa.' But it's really in the second year of his development not as far as just his timeline of this is his second year here. Really when I look at a player in his rookie season, it's where is he at in his development and how high is his ceiling. So whether it takes two years, two and a half years, that's really what you're looking for. And the other part of that is how many opportunities did he get."

When former general manager Ted Thompson drafted Fackrell at No. 88 overall in 2016, it was a bit of an odd pick. Fackrell was halfway to his 25th birthday on draft day. Meanwhile, the Packers' first-round pick that same year, Kenny Clark, was only 20 years old. Given the importance of an outside linebacker to the pass rush in a 3-4 defense, it's remarkable to think that Fackrell is one of only two players at his position the Packers have taken in the past three drafts. The other, rookie Kendall Donnerson, was a seventh-round pick.

It's why Fackrell could be an important figure in new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's scheme. Pettine doesn't have much in the way of experienced edge players behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, and everyone knows their injury histories. With Perry on the PUP list while recovering from offseason ankle surgery, Fackrell has lined up with the starters at times.

"I think the amount of effort that these guys play with, in order for them to be fresh, especially in those critical situations late in the game, they're not going to play every single," Fackrell said. "If I can be somebody who can step in and there's not much of a noticeable drop off and I'm able to produce and get in there and play hard, play fast, I think that makes our position group better and it makes our team better."

That's also why it was perhaps an encouraging sign to see Fackrell not only win his first rep in the 1-on-1 drill but do it against All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.

Fackrell said the light went on for him late last season against the Ravens. It was such a brutal loss -- 23-0 at home on Nov. 19 -- that hardly anyone noticed when he recorded a career-high seven tackles, including a sack and two other tackles for loss.

"I think that game was kind of where I was finally able to feel like I got some production," Fackrell said. "I was kind of able to carry that forward."

For Adams, playing time might be harder to come by even though he's finally healthy. The 93rd pick in the 2017 draft broke his foot last summer in either the first or second practice of camp; he says he felt pain during the first session but still came back out for Day 2 before he reported an issue. He then underwent surgery to have a screw inserted into his left foot and missed the rest of camp.

The defensive line looks like one of the Packers' deepest positions given the return of Mike Daniels, the emergence of Clark and Dean Lowry plus the addition of free-agent Muhammad Wilkerson. Perhaps Pettine will utilize three linemen more often than Dom Capers did, which could give Adams a better shot.

Adams quickly made his mark in the same 1-on-1 pass-rushing drill as Fackrell; surprisingly, the Packers haven't done that drill since the first padded practice. Adams won all three of his reps but none came against one of the projected starting offensive linemen.

There's not much else to go on with Adams, who recorded merely one solo tackle in his 66 snaps last season.

"To be honest, it felt like it wasn't mine; it was like I was out there on another foot that I never played on," Adams said of last season. "So really it was trying to get used to it. No excuse for my season because if the coaches are going to give me a chance then I need to go out there and do what I need to do. It was just different."