Green Bay Packers: Ranking the top five offseason needs
4. Inside linebacker
Death, taxes and the Green Bay Packers need help at inside linebacker.
Ted Thompson passed on the opportunity to go after the Danny Trevathans and Jerrell Freemans of the world last year in free agency, both coincidentally landing in Chicago. He instead opted for Blake Martinez in the draft’s fourth round, the same time he selected Jake Ryan a year earlier.
Ryan and Martinez are solid players, but inside linebacker remains one of the weakest parts on the Green Bay roster. Opponents have picked on them in coverage, and neither is great against the run. Ryan was the Packers’ highest-graded linebacker by Pro Football Focus, but it was only good for No. 43 at the position.
The Packers would greatly benefit from adding an enforcer in the middle of the field, either through the draft or free agency. More experience at inside linebacker would make sense, or simply shifting Clay Matthews inside and drafting a rookie.
Should the Packers look at free agency, Dont’a Hightower’s name sticks out as the best option. Injuries have plagued him throughout his career, but if healthy he could make a big difference to Green Bay’s front seven.