Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 3/6/13
Today is the 39th day of FOX Sports Wisconsin Packers writer Paul Imig's offseason evaluations of every player on Green Bay's roster. Click here for all of Paul's previous evaluations and come back every day through mid-March for Paul's in-depth film and statistical analysis. Coming up soon: Today: NT B.J. Raji Friday, March 8: QB Aaron Rodgers Saturday, March 9: WR Jeremy Ross Sunday, March 10: OT Derek SherrodMonday, March 11: CB Sam Shields Tuesday, March 12: G Josh Sitton B.J. RAJI, DEFENSIVE LINE Season stats: 16 games (14 regular season, two postseason), 26 tackles, four missed tackles, 20 stops, 25 QB hurries, two batted passes, zero forced fumbles, four penalties committed Best game: Week 16 win over Tennessee (one tackle, one stop, one batted pass, three QB hurries; played 34 of 60 defensive snaps; season-best 4.9 PFF rating) Worst game: Divisional-round loss at San Francisco (zero tackles, one QB hurry; played 69 of 80 defensive snaps; season-worst minus-3.8 PFF rating) ProFootballFocus.com season rating: 6.5 (No. 6 out of 23 among Packers defense; best among Packers defensive linemen) Expectations at the start of the season: High Expectations were ... Met Looking live: Raji, the ninth overall pick in the 2009 draft, is widely viewed as one of the Packers' best players, and with good reason. Raji entered training camp in great shape -- at least for someone who weighs 337 pounds -- after spending much of his offseason training and working out with a boxing coach. Raji commented in August 2012 that learning to box was a good reminder that playing on the defensive line really is about violence. "It's OK to have good technique, Raji said, but if you don't execute it with the proper violence and velocity that you need, it's hard in this league. Raji had been over-worked the previous two seasons, playing 85 percent of snaps in 2010 and 79 percent of snaps in 2011. The boxing workouts would have helped Raji better get through that amount of on-field work, but it didn't factor in as much from an an endurance perspective with his snaps decreasing to 68 percent in 2012. Raji has stayed healthy throughout the vast majority of his NFL career thus far (not missing a single game in either 2010 or 2011), but he did suffer an ankle injury this past season that kept him out of Weeks 6 and 7. Upon further review: Raji was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2011, but, even though he didn't make it to Hawaii again in 2012, he was a much better player this past season. Interestingly, ProFootballFocus.com rated Raji as the NFL's worst -- yes, worst -- defensive tackle nose tackle in 2011. The decreased snaps in 2012 certainly helped Raji save his energy. Part of the reason for the Packers drafting defensive linemen Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels was to give Raji more breaks. His boxing workouts likely helped as well, but Raji got better as the season progressed. Early in the season, Raji was not as disruptive in the run game as Green Bay needed him to be. Then, over the final four regular season games, Raji became an absolute force against the run. It was among his best, most consistent work ever in defending the run. As a pass-rusher, Raji has yet to regain his stride from 2010 when he racked up 6.5 sacks. This past season, Raji didn't record any sacks for the first time in his career. He did produce a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks (25 hurries) but none of them paid off with a sack. Overall 2012 grade: B-minus Status for 2013: 100 percent chance of being on the Packers' active roster next season. It's coming up on decision time for Green Bay's front office to figure out just how much Raji is worth in his next contract. Along with Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers, Raji will be signing an extension with the Packers sometime in the coming year. Raji has yet to put together another season as good as the one he had in 2010, but without him, Green Bay's defense would take a significant step in the wrong direction. Worthy may miss significant time in 2013 after undergoing knee surgery, and Ryan Pickett -- the oldest player currently on the team at 33 years old -- will eventually lose a step. That means there will be a lot of responsibility on Raji to really perform at a high level next season. Follow Paul Imig on Twitter.
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