Packers: Vince Biegel faces important offseason in second year

GREEN BAY, WI - NOVEMBER 06: Josh Jones /

The Green Bay Packers need Vince Biegel to take on a bigger role this year.

It would be unfair to judge Biegel‘s rookie season. The fourth-round pick missed the entire offseason with a foot injury, and didn’t debut until midseason.

Biegel ended up playing nine games, but just 121 defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Reference. While on the field, he made 16 tackles with zero sacks.

For the Packers’ pass rush to reach the next level, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will need young players to step up. Biegel is one of them.

While he wasn’t playing as a rookie, he was learning. The next few months will be key to his development.

Most importantly, he must stay healthy. But what can Packers fans expect from Biegel?

Shortly after he was drafted by the Packers last April, NFL Network researcher and scout Mark Dulgerian said that Biegel could become a starter in Green Bay.

“If he can stay healthy, he has the athletic traits and motor to emerge as a starter sooner rather than later,” Dulgerian said.

Considering how thin the Packers are at outside linebacker, they will be hoping he can produce early on.

Clay Matthews and Nick Perry will start, but injuries have been an issue for both players. Matthews hasn’t suited up in all 16 regular season games since 2015. Perry has never completed a full season in six years with the Packers.

When healthy, this pass-rushing combo can be effective. Even as he enters the final phase of his career, Matthews is still an effective edge rusher. He has 13.5 sacks to his name over the past two years. Perry has 18. That’s a solid starting point for Pettine to work with.

The addition of Muhammad Wilkerson along the defensive line will also boost the entire front seven. Wilkerson will provide some additional interior pressure and free up room for the linebackers.

Pettine will also be hoping an improved secondary will make life easier for the front seven. With rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, returning veteran Tramon Williams and a healthy Kevin King, the Packers can expect improvements at cornerback.

Next: Packers 53-man roster predictions following 2018 NFL Draft

While all of those factors are important, the Packers still need their young outside linebackers to step up. After investing a mid-round pick on Biegel a year ago, they need the former Wisconsin Badger to be one of them.

Now fully healthy, it’s key for Biegel to have a strong offseason.