Green Bay Packers 2015 NFL Draft: Breaking down the outside linebacker prospects

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Clemson Tigers defensive end Vic Beasley (3) is blocked by Syracuse Orange offensive tackle Sean Hickey (60). Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 NFL Draft is closing in upon us, and in a little over a week we’ll finally get to see how this whole draft picture plays out and who the Green Bay Packers will add to their roster.

In anticipation of the draft, I put together my position-by-position rankings, taking a close look at the top prospects in this class and who Green Bay could target come draft day.

On Sunday, I broke down this year’s defensive line class and provided my pick for the Packers at the position.

Today, I’m going to do the same with the edge rushers.

Whether he is 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker, an edge rusher’s primary duty is to get after the quarterback. However, some players are better fits than others in a 3-4 defense where they’ll be asked to rush from a two-point stance, as well as drop into coverage and make plays in space.

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Projecting this group according to their fit in the Packers 3-4 defense did affect where they rank to some degree. Some players are just better fits with their hand in the dirt as 4-3 ends.

However, the primary consideration for where a player ranks still comes down to their talent and ability to make plays on the field.

Green Bay will find a place on their defense for any player if he’s talented enough, regardless if he’s the ideal fit in their system or not.

When ranking players, I like to group them into four tiers during the pre-draft process and then rank the players within those tiers.

Tier One: Potential impact players at the next level.

Tier Two: Players who could be solid starters or make contributions as a rookie.

Tier Three: Developmental prospects who have some upside but may not be ready to contribute immediately.

Tier Four: Role players who could offer depth to the roster.

Here is how I grouped the top 30 outside linebackers in this year’s draft.

Next: Who's in the Top Tier?