Ranking the Packers’ 2015 Draft Needs

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Philadelphia Eagles running back Bryce Brown (34) runs with the ball as Green Bay Packers linebacker Brad Jones (59). Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The following is a look ahead to what the Green Bay Packers‘ top draft needs could be going into the 2015 offseason. The piece also highlights draft prospects to watch in the upcoming College Bowl games that meet each Packers roster need.



Last year, I put inside linebacker as the Packers’ third greatest need going into the 2014 NFL Draft, and after not making a single move in the offseason to address the position, the Packers continue to have issues in the middle of their defense.

Green Bay Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) tackles Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22). Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay currently ranks 22nd in run defense (120.5 ypg), and that’s after posting a near shutout against Tampa Bay on Sunday. Much of their failings in run defense can be blamed on the disappointing play of the defensive line, but Green Bay has also lacked punch at inside linebacker for some time now and could use a physical presence between the tackles.

According to Pro Football Focus, out of the 60 inside linebackers they have graded this season Green Bay’s Jamari Lattimore (29th), Sam Barrington (32nd), and A.J. Hawk (53rd) all rank in the bottom half in the league.

In fact, Hawk is the lowest graded (-11.9) player on the Packers defense this season and has been a major liability against the run. Barrington has taken over a majority of Hawk’s snaps in nickel defense because he’s more athletic and aggressive.

It appears Hawk’s time in Green Bay is coming to a close. Brad Jones has also lost his starting job and may be released as well after this season.

Addressing inside linebacker should be Green Bay’s top priority this offseason.

Prospects to watch in CFB Bowl games:

  Denzel Perryman (Miami) in Independence Bowl on Dec. 27th

  Benardrick McKinney (Mississippi State) in Orange Bowl on Dec. 31st

  Kris Frost (Auburn) in Outback Bowl on Jan. 1st

  Eric Kendricks (UCLA) in Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2nd