Packers 2021 post-draft position review: Inside linebackers
The Green Bay Packers seem to love drafting defensive backs in the early rounds, but they very rarely use a top pick at inside linebacker.
They have had plenty of opportunities to change that, including in this year’s draft, but have instead focused elsewhere.
Will that lead to similar results in 2021 or do the Packers have enough talent on the roster?
Currently on the roster
Krys Barnes, Kamal Martin, Isaiah McDuffie, Ty Summers, Oren Burks, De’Jon Harris, Ray Wilborn
Green Bay released Christian Kirksey only one season after signing him in free agency. The Packers drafted Isaiah McDuffie in the sixth round.
Improved from 2020?
On paper, the Packers haven’t improved. They’ve released an experienced player in Kirksey without really replacing him. McDuffie could go onto become a good player for the Packers but how many defensive snaps will he realistically play in 2021? More than likely, he’ll need to find a role on special teams early on.
Last September, the Packers kept four inside linebackers on their initial 53-man roster. Barnes was not one of them. Who would have thought back then that Barnes would end up starting 10 games for the Packers and end the season as their best inside linebacker?
After playing well last season, Barnes deserves the opportunity to be the starter again in 2021, although it’s possible the Packers will sign a veteran to replace Christian Kirksey.
A big question mark is still there at inside linebacker. This group lacks experience. Barnes started 10 games as an undrafted rookie. Kamal Martin, selected in the fifth round last year, played in 10 games.
Don’t be surprised if Green Bay adds another linebacker at some point over the summer. GM Brian Gutekunst indicated after the draft that signing a veteran was a possibility.
It would be risky not to make a move. While Barnes impressed last season and Martin has the potential to become a good starter, it’s still a big risk to not add to this group. And there’s very little experience at inside linebacker for the Packers.
If I were general manager, I’d be making it a priority to go and get a veteran inside linebacker.