From the time BJ Raji was drafted in 2009, I’ve taken a special interest in this player. Maybe because he’s from a local town here in NJ, maybe because I was hoping he would be one of the linchpins for Dom Caper’s new 3-4 defense – the next “Gravedigger.”
I wrote a profile on Raji back in May of 2009, and later talked to some people who saw him in his HS playing days. “Really nice kid from a nice family,” I heard repeatedly, followed by, not sure if he has enough “mean” in his personality to thrive in the trenches in the NFL.
I discounted those comments for the most part. Surely the Packers wouldn’t have spent a top-10 draft choice on him if the Packers didn’t think he was a potential star.
B.J. Raji made the Pro Bowl in 2011, probably based on the rep earned by his 8 sacks and strong sophomore season in 2010 (film study here). Ironically, though, he just wasn’t that good in 2011.
Raji’s 2012 season for the Packers was noticeably better than 2011, but one major thing was missing; consistency. It seemed to these non-expert eyes that as the season unfolded, Raji had some very strong performances, and some downright awful ones.
Raji terrorized the Bears (film study here) late in the season and a few weeks later was bounced around like a pinball machine by the 49ers offensive line. With those two offensive lines being on opposite ends of the talent scale, a thought crossed my mind; were’s Raji’s “good” performances all against “bad” offensive lines and vica versa?