Dec 31, 2014; Atlanta , GA, USA; TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Paul Dawson (47) sacks Mississippi Rebels quarterback Bo Wallace (14) during the second quarter in the 2014 Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome. Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Upgrade the ILB position
Another position the Packers must improve in the offseason is the inside linebacker position. You will not find the stats of A.J. Hawk nor Brad Jones listed here. I think their play more than merited this as being one of the top 5 things the Packers need to do in order to reach Super Bowl 50.
How does Ted Thompson bring an immediate upgrade to this position?
December 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz (right) instructs middle linebacker Brandon Spikes. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Like the tight end position this list is not very “sexy.” Rey Maualuga and Brandon Spikes top the list of veterans that could provide an upgrade on the inside. Once again, it is more likely Thompson will choose the draft route.
Benardrick McKinney and Denzel Perry are superb candidates to fill the spot. McKinney is by far one of the bigger bodies at six-foot-four in a class of talented “undersized” inside linebackers.
There are two names that would turn this position into a solid, yet playmaking position that the Packers have lacked for years.
Eric Kendricks, a redshirt senior from UCLA is a tackling machine. In his senior year he registered 139 tackles but also showed his playmaking skills. Kendricks had 8.5 tackles for-a-loss as well as 2 sacks, 2 passes broken-up, 3 interceptions and 1 forced fumble.
Paul Dawson is either a five-foot-ten or six-foot-two linebacker from TCU (depending on what site you look at). Three inches isn’t a big concern when you post 128 tackles, 18.5 for-a-loss, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 5 passes batted down and 4 interceptions as a senior.
If Ted Thompson used his first two picks on the two linebackers mentioned above, I wouldn’t be surprised.
Next: Move number 2