The 2016 NFL Draft season is now upon us, and as Green Bay Packers fans, it’s time to turn the page and look ahead to what our favorite team could do this offseason to improve their roster.
Going into the spring, the Packers have plenty of needs in their lineup to address. The obvious being inside linebacker, tight end, and upgrades at the offensive skill positions. Depending on what happens with their fourteen potential free agents, Green Bay could also have holes at defensive line, outside linebacker, and offensive line to shore up as well.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to provide an early position-by-position breakdown of the 2016 draft class with a particular focus on the positions we feel the Packers could target come April. Today’s focus will be inside linebacker, perhaps the team’s biggest need on defense for several seasons now.
Clay Matthews‘ move inside has been an admirable one, and tells us a lot about the seven-year veteran’s selfless commitment to the team. However, it’s time for the Packers to find a legitimate long-term solution at inside linebacker and move Matthews back to his original position at outside linebacker.
If I was the Packers, I would spend an early-round pick on one of the top inside linebackers in this year’s draft class. Even though I like the potential Jake Ryan showed in his rookie season, I’m not sure he’s more than just a two-down player in the NFL. He’s limited athletically and proved to be a major liability in coverage.
The Packers may also be banking on the return of Sam Barrington, but again, although I like the tenacity the former seventh-rounder plays with, he’s still relatively unproven with only eight starts under his belt and coming off a major foot injury that forced to him to miss a majority of the 2015 season.
However, I’m not the Packers and will be the first one to admit I have no idea what Ted Thompson and the Packers front office are planning on doing this spring to address the position. In the very least though, its’ sensible to assume they’ll add another player or two to the position, even if its’ not in the first two rounds.
With this in mind, here’s an early look at how the inside linebacker class is shaping up for the 2016 NFL Draft. Believe me, it’s a good one and already appears to be one of the deepest linebacking groups we’ve seen in years.
Next: Who are the top-5 ILBs?