It was surprising to see the Packers wait until the fourth round before addressing their need at inside linebacker last year, but they finally did by selecting Jake Ryan out of Michigan. Ryan worked hard all season and grew into his role by the end of the year.
Ryan wasn’t a player making highlight reel plays often, but he also wasn’t highlighted for making costly errors too often. His play was solid, and that’s exactly what was expected of him.
Ryan played his part on defense and will be a key part in the Packers’ rebuild of the inside linebacker position. He won’t transform the position on his own, but with a talented teammate next to him, he has the potential to become an important starter.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Ryan develops in year two. A full offseason with a chance to build on his rookie campaign will go a long way to fixing the Packers’ greatest need on defense. While it’s almost guaranteed the Packers will address the position at least once this offseason, Ryan’s development will also be critical for Clay Matthews to be moved back to outside linebacker.
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