Green Bay Packers: Improving linebackers quickest way to turn around defense
Mississippi State Bulldogs running back LaDarius Perkins (27) advances the ball and is knocked out of bounds by Alabama Crimson Tide linebackerC.J. Mosley
(32) during the game at Davis Wade Stadium.
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports photograph
While all our attention this weekend will be on the final two NFL teams standing, we here at Lombardiave are more concerned with the Green Bay Packers and what can be done to get this team back into the elite team conversation.
Well, this morning I have some thoughts about that very question.
I know. I know … everyone is pointing toward the safety position as the team’s biggest need … and I do agree, it’s a huge need that must be addressed through the draft. I feel Ted Thompson will get that figured out.
However, when looking at the Packers drafting position and how the (blue) chips may fall when teams take their turns for that annual cattle call, I feel that linebacker might be the best pick for the Packers and I keep looking toward ILB C.J. Mosley as the best guy to give the Packers exactly what they need.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel the Packers have the players at linebacker and have done what they need to do to bolster the depth across the linebacking corps, but with the injuries that occurred at both inside and outside linebacker last season, the Packers were exposed.
Mosley is being described as a stud, an elite player who would help turn around whichever program he might be drafted into.
Why not the Packers?
Yes, we have Brad Jones (who has played both inside and out) and A.J. Hawk at the inside positions. But Jones is always getting hurt and Hawk, while steady and reliable, isn’t the superstar the Packers 3-4 defense needs long-term.
When you look at successful 3-4 defenses, you always point to the linebackers who are everywhere – you look at the linebackers who have the size and strength to fill the holes, you look at the linebackers who can drop into coverage and stay with the receivers crossing the middle, you look at the players whose names are called play after play and are always around the ball making plays.
The linebacker is the stud on the team; the tough guy who stands out as the leader.
That’s what the Packers need to bring a toughness, to bring the intimidation factor that they have been lacking the past few years. We’ve all heard about the soft label being slapped on the Packers – C.J. Mosley could help finally rid the team of that moniker.
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Yes, the Packers could go with a safety like Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or a Calvin Pryor. They could go with a defensive lineman like Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt, or even everyone’s newest darling, Aaron Donald.
But if they want to get that impact player who will bring the wood, then Mosley may be the answer. He’s the 2013 Butkus Award winner and though he skipped the Senior Bowl, it doesn’t seem to have hurt the overall impressions as to how he would fit at the next level. At 6-2, 238 pounds, he began his college career as a coverage specialist, but is said to have improved his inside game tremendously the past couple of years.
As the season progressed in his final year at Alabama, he became a tackling machine, recording double-digit tackles in four games. Over the past two seasons he recorded 108 solo tackles. He also had another 78 assists during the time span, averaging nearly 8 tackles per-game.
He was a consensus All-American first-teamer and a first team All-SEC. He’s a player’s player.
One of the questions might be whether Mosley will be available by the time the Packers select at 21 in this year’s draft. He may not be, but if he is, Ted Thompson would help the team tremendously by selecting him.
After all, one of the quickest ways to improve a defensive squad is to improve the linebacking corps.
Mosley would help the Packers do that.