Packers: Kyler Fackrell departure creates competition at linebacker

Jonathan Garvin (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jonathan Garvin (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Kyler Fackrell’s departure has created competition for the Packers at outside linebacker.

Backup pass rusher Kyler Fackrell departed in free agency, joining Green Bay Packers teammate Blake Martinez by signing with the New York Giants. For the Packers, this creates competition at training camp for a backup spot at outside linebacker.

After a dominant first season with the Packers, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith will be the team’s two starters at edge rusher. Second-year Rashan Gary will now move into the top backup spot held by Fackrell and he should see more playing time.

Outside of the top three, there is some uncertainty ahead of training camp.

Competition for fourth spot at outside linebacker

With the Smith Bros. and Gary as the top three pass rushers on the depth chart, who will step up as the fourth option at outside linebacker?

That’s where Fackrell’s departure has created an opportunity. Entering training camp, that spot is up for grabs.

So, who will be competing for the fourth spot?

Tim Williams was claimed off waivers by the Packers last season then signed to the practice squad. He has an opportunity to secure a spot on the initial 53-man roster.

A player to watch will be rookie Jonathan Garvin, who the Packers selected in the seventh round of April’s draft. With no rookie minicamp or OTAs, it won’t be an easy task for Garvin to win the competition and secure a spot on the 53 just yet. But he could be signed to the practice squad as he develops his game.

Other players to watch will be Randy Ramsey, Tipa Galeai, and Greg Roberts.

And there’s always the possibility Green Bay could bring back Clay Matthews, who remains a free agent after spending the 2019 season with the Los Angeles Rams. Matthews made eight sacks and 11 quarterback hits last year.

Competition is good, and the Packers will have a tough decision to make at the fourth edge rusher spot.