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

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TCU Horned Frogs linebacker Paul Dawson (47) tackles Baylor Bears running back Shock Linwood (32). Jerome Miron-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.

Earlier this week, I already took a look at the defensive line and outside linebacker positions, and today, I’m going to discuss perhaps the Packers’ biggest need on their roster–inside linebacker.

Green Bay will go into the draft with a starting spot at inside linebacker up for grabs. The assumption here is that they’ll find a starting-caliber player to fill this role with one of their first picks next week.

Fortunately for the Packers, the top prospects at the position are all projected to go no earlier than the late-first round.

If they’re lucky, they’ll get the pick of the litter when they’re on the clock with their first selection.

They may even have a chance to land a top-tier linebacker in the second round if things fall their way.

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Either way, as Packers fans we’re all hoping they at least bring in somebody that can contribute immediately as a rookie and upgrade the second level of their defense.

Many see the prospects at this position differently, but I tried to rank these players according to their fit in the Packers 3-4 system, and not on their ability alone.

This made the ranking process interesting and caused some players to rise up my board, while others dropped because they’re better suited to play in a 4-3 front.

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 rank the top 25 inside linebackers of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Next: Who's in the Top Tier?