Packers DL Kingsley Keke puts on 10 pounds to help against the run

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Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Kingsley Keke got bigger going into Year 3 in anticipation of a bigger role and more production in the run game in 2021.

Keke said he put on around 10 pounds this offseason, going from 293 last year to around 303 this year. He pointed to a need to get better against the run as the primary reason for getting bigger.

“Just being more consistent in the run game. Working on getting off releases. Being more strong at the point of attack. That’s why I put on a little bit more weight this year,” Keke said Monday. “Still having that explosion, being able to rush the passer. Just put on a little bit more weight so I can be stronger at the point of attack.”

Keke, who delivered a career-high four sacks and 22 pressures during his second season, said he “felt light” in 2020, but he noted the added weight was “lean weight.”

“I don’t want to look like Mark Henry out there. It’s just good lean weight so I can still be explosive,” Keke said.

A fifth-round pick in 2019, Keke broke out as a key rotational lineman in 2020, playing 414 snaps as a defensive end and interior pass-rusher. His 22 ranked fifth on the team.

While productive in the passing game, Keke wants to get better against the run so he can be on the field for all three downs. Pro Football Focus gave him below-average grades in the run game in 2020, so improving against the run will be vital to Keke emerging as a player capable of playing in all situations.

“I worked very hard this offseason to put myself in this position. Year 2 into Year 3, I can definitely make that jump,” Keke said. “Being a three-down lineman. Playing into the quarterback, playing the run. Just being an overall disruptive force for my team. Just getting out there and causing havoc.”

All offseason, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery has pointed to a big jump coming for Keke in Year 3. There’s a good chance he’ll be a starter in the three-man fronts with Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry.

“I know I have that ability to be a three-down lineman,” Keke said.

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