Green Bay Packers: Matthews, Winters, Cumby and … Engebretsen – all #52s

4 of 5
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52). Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52). Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Clay Matthews

As Ted Thompson’s defensive star, Matthews has been a superstar for the Packers since being drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, with Thompson trading back into the first round to take him.

It wasn’t easy getting Matthews in Green and Gold. Here is how Wikipedia describes the chain of events that eventually gave the Packers the 26th pick of the first round of that draft:

"On draft day, April 25, 2009, the Packers traded their 2nd round pick (41st overall, Darius Butler), their 3rd round pick (73rd overall, Derek Cox, Jacksonville Jaguars) and the 83rd overall pick acquired for Favre (Brandon Tate) to the New England Patriots for a 1st round pick (26th overall) and a 5th round pick (162nd overall, Jamon Meredith) in that year’s draft."

Most will agree that bringing Matthews to Green Bay was a great move by Thompson … maybe one of his best draft day trades.

However, there are also those who still question Matthews’ ability to stay healthy to justify the huge contract the Packers gave two years ago. His vulnerable hamstrings had been an issue early in his career, and his twice-broken thumb a couple of seasons ago only added to that concern.

In all, Matthews missed 11 games in his five seasons.

Matthews has stayed healthy the past couple of seasons and even helped the team out when he moved inside to bolster the run defense in 2014 and 2015.

The Packers are moving Matthews back to his natural position as an outside rusher this season, which should only help him to be even more productive in Dom Capers’ attacking defense.

Next: Paul Engebretsen