Packers: Position group rankings ahead of training camp

Green Bay Packers, Mike Daniels (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Mike Daniels (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 08: Blake Martinez
ARLINGTON, TX – OCTOBER 08: Blake Martinez /

10. Inside linebacker

Starters: Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan

In the mix: Oren Burks, Greer Martini, Marcus Porter, C.J. Johnson, Parris Bennett, Ahmad Thomas

Blake Martinez is coming off a great year, where he was tied for the NFL lead in tackles. Martinez improved his game leaps and bounds from his rookie season, and is now looking for a running mate.

Jake Ryan has been a decent running-down linebacker, while providing next to nothing in pass coverage.

Oren Burks is a rookie wild-card. Burks has the size and speed of the new-aged NFL linebacker, but is a rookie who hasn’t played a down yet. While I feel Burks will have a solid rookie year and easily take over the inside linebacker position next to Martinez, it is all just a projection right now with no NFL experience to go off of.

After Martinez and Ryan, it is a ton of unknown. They have no NFL experience, and even Martinez and Ryan are still young in their NFL careers. Of those in the undrafted pool, Ahmad Thomas is the one to keep an eye on. Thomas played safety at Oklahoma and, like Burks, has the size and speed to be a new-age NFL inside linebacker. Thomas also finished the last five weeks of 2017 on the Packers practice squad.

An injury to Martinez could be a problem for the run defense and setting the alignment. It’s difficult to know just how hard an injury here would hurt the Packers without knowing how the players behind them will play.