Vince Biegel: Green Bay Packers’ first fourth-rounder and what he brings to Packers News
Green Bay Packers‘ general manager Ted Thompson hasn’t taken his eyes off the defensive side of the ball this weekend as he once again helped to restock the team by selecting University of Wisconsin outside linebacker Vince Biegel.
Thompson spent all of Friday night drafting for the defense and did it again Saturday morning when he tagged Biegel with the 108th pick overall.
Today he concentrated on the linebacker position that saw the Packers re-sign Nick Perry. On the opposite side of the line, Clay Matthews is heading into his ninth NFL season with a bevy of past injury issues.
It’s not that Matthews’ career is finished, but the Packers see the end somewhere within the next few seasons and probably looked at Biegel as a possible replacement.
According the NFL.com, Biegel had a Badger team-best 16.5 tackles for loss (7.5 sacks) as a starter in 2014. He also was named third-team All-Big Ten with 66 stops, 14 for loss, and eight sacks as a junior.
“Despite being limited for multiple games, missing two with a broken foot, Biegel was a second-team All-Big Ten performer in 2016 (six TFL, four sacks),” NFL.com said.
Thompson wasn’t deterred by Biegel’s past injury issues, but it’s something that should be watched closely.
Many projected Biegel to be selected in the fifth or sixth round. Did Thompson reach for him? Possibly, but in my opinion, he’s the type of player who is such a hard worker they end up playing above what many feel are their abilities.
Biegel, like Matthews, also comes from a football family … “Rocky, his father, played linebacker in college while at BYU, and his uncle, T.D., was a fullback for the Cougars. Vince’s grandfather, Ken, played Division III ball and was a Wisconsin and national high school hall of fame coach,” NFL.com states on its web page.
Here is what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had to say about Biegel:
"“Effort-based worker bee with edge-setting hands and attitude, but a lack of power that could lead to inconsistency in play. Biegel’s football character is off-the-charts and he can be counted on to put the effort into improving in areas that need work. He lacks individual rush talent but could be a good fit for teams utilizing exotic rush packages. Average NFL ceiling but has the demeanor and traits of a potential special teams demon.”"
We can only begin to imagine what Biegel’s ceiling might be once he gets on the field with coaches and has a chance to learn from guys like Matthews and Perry.
So, what will Biegel bring to the Green and Gold?
Here are his strengths as put forward by NFL.com:
"“Voted team captain. Known for intensity and all-out love for the sport. Instinctive. Diagnoses zone blocks quickly and darts through gaps into backfield to muddy backside cutback lanes. Works to keep outside shoulder uncovered for contain responsibilities against the run. Emotional leader for the Badgers. Wrap-up tackler looking to thud. Flashes desired pursuit speed to perimeter. First-strike specialist at point of attack. Lands hands first and immediate arm extension provides leverage against much bigger blockers. Adequate hip flexibility and change of direction to mirror play-action roll-outs. Good run-pass recognition. Was asked to peel off and cover in space. Squeezes receivers from zone. Posted productive rush totals over sophomore and junior seasons.”"
But like all college football players, there are also weaknesses in Biegel’s game. Here’s how NFL.com describes those weaknesses:
"“Undersized, and it often shows up on tape. Needs to increase play strength and add more bulk to his frame. Gets jostled around by tackles if he loses with his hands. Poor contact balance to fight through redirect blocks and can get shoved to turf. Average three-step burst upfield. Duck-foot rusher missing twitch and athleticism to bend the edge. Attempts to activate spin counter, but he’s missing footwork to bring it home. “Take-on” anchor and power versus lead blockers is below average. Quick to stack, slow to shuck.”"
To start, Biegel, if he makes the team, could be one of those athletic linebackers who make the team because of their ability to play special teams. That would be a good start for the former Badger. During his time on special teams, coaches and fellow players could be coaching up this guy. He’s got the drive and the attitude and could step in and play once the team feels he’s ready.
Will that be in his rookie year?
Probably not, but this is a developmental player who could fit nicely into Ted Thompson’s “draft and develop” philosophy.
Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history
In all, this is an excellent fit for the Packers who continue to build a defense that was hacked apart at times in 2016. It’s pretty clear that Ted Thompson is doing everything he can to be sure that doesn’t happen again.