GREEN BAY – Christian Ringo grew up in Brett Favre country, shares a last name with a former Packers center in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and has been compared to one of the leaders on Green Bay’s current defensive line.
When he peruses YouTube for highlights, though, he prefers to zero in on yet another Packers star, the late Reggie White.
“I’ve definitely looked at his film,” Ringo said. “He was a lot taller than me, so I can’t do what he did.”
The Packers aren’t expecting that from the second of their three sixth-round draft picks. The defensive lineman, originally from Jackson, Miss., who came to the Packers via Louisiana-Lafayette, is listed at just 6-1, which could be a tad generous.
He does pack 298 pounds on that shorter frame, however, which has prompted the comparisons to Mike Daniels (6-0, 305).
If Ringo is another Daniels, that’ll work just fine.
“I just want to become a student of the game,” Ringo said. “There are good D-linemen here, and I want to learn as much as I can from them and stay in my lane.”
The Packers brought back veterans B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion on the defensive line for 2015, but that won’t preclude Ringo from working into the rotation.
A disruptive defender in college who racked up 11½ sacks among 20 tackles for loss last season, Ringo is aware of Green Bay’s track record of getting the so-called unheralded rookies at his position group involved quickly.
Back in 2012, Daniels was a fourth-round pick from Iowa who ended up recording at least one tackle in 12 different games (10 regular season, two playoffs). Daniels also had two sacks and two fumble recoveries by the end of his rookie season.
The following year, it was fifth-round pick Josh Boyd who was inactive on gameday for most of the first half of 2013 but became a regular down the stretch. He recorded multiple tackles in five straight games to close the season (four regular season, one playoff).
“They stress this is a very young team, and they give us hope to play as young people,” Ringo said.
That said, Ringo doesn’t plan to push the issue. Entering the NFL with the idea of making a big splash as a rookie can sometimes do more harm than good.
“You just have to keep your composure and do what you’ve been doing,” Ringo said. “It’s still football. If you press too hard, you might make a mistake and end up blowing yourself out.”
For the time being, Ringo just wants to get his feet under him. Not long ago, he was putting on 30 pounds in order to hold his own on the defensive line in the Sun Belt Conference. Now, he could find himself lining up as an inside rusher in one of Dom Capers’ sub packages.
During rookie orientation, Ringo called it “an honor” and “a dream come true” to walk into the Packers locker room and see his name above a locker, and he couldn’t be prouder to put on the same uniform Reggie White once did.
No one’s asking him to be the next White, but he’ll keep those pass-rush highlights bookmarked, just for fun.
“I tried the one where he was on the edge and he’d come with the big club and knock the man off his feet,” Ringo said. “It was so amazing. But me, I don’t know. I just have to rep that one out.”