Cory's Corner: Ted Thompson has options at inside linebacker

The Packers’ release of Nate Palmer means one of three things.

It means that Green Bay has found something in Carl Bradford. You remember him right? He’s the fourth round pick that came with high promise as a guy that could do plenty — however, the Lambeau Field PA speakers have barely belted out his name.

It could also mean that the Packers are charging hard toward drafting an inside linebacker. And since there’s a huge difference between Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland and everyone else, it could mean that general manager Ted Thompson is cooking up a draft day trade.

Finally, releasing Palmer simply means that Clay Matthews is staying put. I know that coach Mike McCarthy came out after last season and said strongly that Matthews would be moving back to outside linebacker after playing a hybrid inside and outside linebacker position. But depending on how fluid the roster is, those things can all change.

And the reason one of those three things must happen is simply because of depth. The Packers only have four dedicated inside linebackers on the roster. There’s always the worry about finding enough talent, but right now the Packers are just flat-out thin at inside linebacker.

Let’s be clear. Sam Barrington, Joe Thomas, Jake Ryan and Bradford are just guys. The guy with the highest ceiling is obviously Ryan because heading into his sophomore season he offers the most promise. And Barrington is coming off of a foot injury that forced him to miss the entire season.

Maybe Palmer didn’t fit with defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ plans. But now the pressure just got turned up on Thompson. Maybe he’s confident that he can package a third and a fourth to move up 14 or 15 spots in the first round in order to take Ragland. Remember, the Packers have three fourth rounders and two of those are compensatory picks that can’t be traded, so it makes sense if he were to trade one of those.

The Packers have nine picks and now with Palmer getting cut, you’d have to assume that at least six of those selections must be on the defensive side of the ball. Not just to make the team better with top-end talent, but also to add all-important depth, which can never be overlooked especially during a deep playoff run.

The easiest solution would be keeping Matthews at inside linebacker. That way, Thompson won’t have to reach and either trade one of his coveted draft picks or trust that one of the unknowns will step up during training camp and prove they truly belong.

The biggest darkhorse is Bradford. He was a healthy inactive for every game during his 2014 rookie season before opening eyes in last year’s second preseason game at Pittsburgh. He had five tackles — one for loss — by only playing 21 snaps from his new inside linebacker position. A scout even called him a “high-energy, high-motor guy.” Maybe the defensive coaches have cultivated something out of Bradford, because up to this point, his biggest achievement has been a preseason tackle for a 3-yard loss.

Ever since A.J. Hawk left, the Packers have been scrambling to consistently fill its inside linebacker position. If that happens this season, which path will Thompson choose?

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (81)

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Nick Perry's picture

April 12, 2016 at 06:54 am

Maybe the Packers should just leave Matthews Inside and focus on the OLB position. Matthews has already said he looked forward to calling the plays of the defense while inside. He also had excellent production inside, especially in 2014. If you recall Matthews had 2.5 sacks through 8 games playing OLB in 2014. This was with Peppers in the line-up and offenses not being able to just game plan for Matthews. The moment he moved Inside the Packers defense improved, Matthews production improved, and they improved last year too. A knock on Matthews when playing OLB is he would sometimes over pursue outside and give up some big runs. One thing is sure, Ted is going to be Ted, love it or hate it he'll do what he wants, when he wants to. The more I think about it, the more I believe Ted is going to roll with Barrington and Ryan as starters and build the O-Line, D-Line, and OLB positions with the first 4 rounds and maybe a ILB and TE.

Note... Cory's last paragraph is really scary when you think about it. A.J. Hawk? Really?? Hawk stopped being somewhat effective at least 2 years before he left GB.

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ray nichkee's picture

April 12, 2016 at 06:56 am

McCarthy said matthews will be back outside this year and he has given us no reason not to believe him.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:04 am

The other thing about Mathews playing inside more is he was more healthy playing inside. Battling 300+ OT's down after down takes a toll on his body.

I still think they are better off moving Mathews around and not making him a pure ILB or OLB.

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Nick Perry's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:22 am

Good point, Matthews has been on the field all 16 games the last 2 years for the first time since his Rookie Season. I like when offenses have to try and guess where Matthews is going to be opposed to knowing where he'll be.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 09:04 am

exactly.

That is the part that I like. When offenses have to guess where he is at. That's why I like him more at ILB then OLB. But myself I just would rather see him used in his own role. Not in a normal ILB role. Using him in a normal ILB role kind of limits his abilities.
Mathews best attribute is getting after the QB and ball carrier. So move him around, create mismatches and confusion. The attention he brings gives other guys opportunities to make plays. Let him attack!

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:24 am

"Cory's last paragraph is really scary when you think about it. A.J. Hawk? Really?? Hawk stopped being somewhat effective at least 2 years before he left GB."

As soon as I read that part, I thought, "Oh, Cory, whattarya doin' stirring up that mess...?"

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vj_ostrowski's picture

April 12, 2016 at 06:51 am

Trading up for Ragland would be a colossal waste. Anyway, I can't see Ted trading up for an ILB, one of the least important positions on the defense (note: that doesn't mean I think it's unimportant).

And besides, with Ragland's mediocre athleticism, I think there's an extremely good chance (better than 50%) that he's there anyway.

Ted is in love with big dudes in the 1st round - it's either a DL or an OT

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ray nichkee's picture

April 12, 2016 at 06:52 am

The release of palmer tells me TT has a plan.

Carl bradford is not coming out of the woodwork and taking overover.

TT is not moving up in the first round.

The only way matthews is playing inside is on speacial packages or in desperate need.

My guess is TT likes what he sees on his draft board and is confident he can with the spot with a high round pick. I'm thinking round 2.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:26 am

I wouldn't be so sure that he hasn't targeted a guy later on to fill that role...someone that he might be willing to overdraft (a la Christian Ringo or Kennard Backman) to make sure he gets. I think the Packers take a minimum of 3 LBs in this draft, with at least one being a DE-OLB conversion project.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:32 pm

@Ray

Are these just your statements or are they part of your reasoning behind TT's plan?

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ray nichkee's picture

April 13, 2016 at 08:50 pm

I have no idea what teds plan is as he has the best poker face ever. My statements were to counter cory's.

I do believe this is the year our prayers will be answered at ILB but i see a big guy or 2 drafted first. I don't think TT sees ILB as a worthy of a high draft pick unless there is huge playmaking potential. AJ hawk is a good example of a solid but not game changing starter that is only worth a 3 or 4, wasting a high 1st. Ted got burned bad but i must admit i was on the hype train back then too.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 14, 2016 at 10:01 am

I hope so too.

The more I watch other people's breakdowns of DLs the more I hope we grab at least 2 of them between Rounds 1 and 4.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 06:54 am

The ILB position has become the Safety and RB positions of the last few years.

Packers tried getting by at RB with Cedric Benson and others until they drafted Eddie Lacy. They tried getting by with MD Jennings and McMillan at Safety until they drafted Clinton-Dix.

At ILB they have been trying to get by with Nate Palmer, Sam Barrington, Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas and Clay Mathews.
Between Ryan, Barrington and Thomas they actually have a pretty good rotation of players. But they aren't difference makers. Mathews is a difference maker but I believe he is being limited when used strictly as an ILB.

They need to find a difference maker at the position.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:31 am

"At ILB they have been trying to get by with Nate Palmer, Sam Barrington, Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas and Clay Mathews."

What name is not in the conversation here? Carl Bradford. I think it's telling that a guy with his body type, his strength, and his "motor" can't even be active for special teams, much less at a position where this team is weak. Hell, even Kennard Backman was active last year...

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:58 am

At this point if Bradford offers anything its going to be a bonus.

I liked what I saw from Bradford in college. Though at this point he appears to be one of those players that just isn't going to make the leap to the pros. Maybe I'm wrong. hopefully I'm wrong. But at this point I would be surprised if he did.

That being said, sometimes it takes players a couple of years to get it. It takes time to develop. Maybe this will be the year in which he makes a big jump and surprises us all...

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Idiot Fan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 01:41 pm

"That being said, sometimes it takes players a couple of years to get it. It takes time to develop."

I totally agree, and that's why I'm not ready to declare Ryan, or even Barrington, as JAG. People like to compare Ryan to Hawk, but their games looked totally different to me. Ryan seemed a lot faster and more athletic, but was sometimes out of place and missed some tackles. Hawk was usually where he needed to be and (eventually) made his tackles, but he just wasn't that athletic or fast. But I'm sort of hopeful for Ryan because you can teach discipline, but you can't necessarily teach speed or athleticism. With another offseason from Ryan, I'm really curious to see what he looks like in camp this year.

FTR, I'm not saying that we don't need to draft any ILB. Who knows which 25 of our guys will get injured this year...

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Nick Perry's picture

April 13, 2016 at 05:44 am

I like this comment by Idiot Fan and see Ryan much the same, I LIKE Jake Ryan. Ryan does seem much more athletic and faster than Hawk and like he said, you can teach what Ryan lacks. The Packers messed around with Palmer much to long IMO and maybe started playing Ryan sooner. Sure he was a Rookie learning a complex defense but there's nothing like learning on the job. Like IF I'm really anxious and curious to see if Jake made a jump. My guess he does, just how much is the question.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 13, 2016 at 06:30 am

The thing I really like about Ryan, is that he will continue to develop. I expect him to make a jump in year 2. How big of a jump, that is the question.

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Hematite's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:00 am

This inside linebacker thing is starting to remind me of the 70's and 80's quarterback debacle.
Fortunately the position isn't as crucial when it comes to having a winning record and a shot at the playoffs..

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Horse's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:24 am

Not crucial. ~70% of D snaps are played in packages, not base. This is a growing trend around the NFL. TT and the coaches as not as hung up on position designation as lots of fans seem to be. While I expect TT to add an ILB, it's simply not a dire need for the DC or his coaches to produce an effective defense.

On the other hand, with Raji gone and Pennel suspended, I'll be shocked if they don't spend some draft capital at NT.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:29 am

I would argue that the issue is that they don't have the flexibility at ILB to be able to keep from getting had in base. They don't have the cover skills in base to be able to cover RB/TE effectively with that ILB and they don't have the ability to rush the passer/stop the run in the sub packages with that player...I might argue that even the sub package guys (Thomas) lacks the coverage ability to be truly effective.

Where is a DeAndre Levy when you need one?

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Horse's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:43 am

Probably hiding in plain sight as a hybrid S/LB. The league is changing.

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Oppy's picture

April 12, 2016 at 01:53 pm

The QB debacle of the 70's and 80's. Often talked about.

Bart Starr still manned the helm in 70, and Don Majkowski, while not great, but good, held the position in 88 and 89.

Inbetween, Lynn Dickie was a great QB (Yes, he WAS great) and he accounted for 8 seasons
- 76, 77, and 80-85.

That's more good QB play than bad during those two decades.

Really, I would only call 71-75 a "debacle". Otherwise, there were two distinct, 2 year set backs at the position. All in all, still 11 years of solid-to-great QB play during that twenty year stretch. Lynn Dickie never gets the credit he deserved.

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ray nichkee's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:41 pm

I was thinking the same.

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Amanofthenorth's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:15 pm

Amen. Those three 8-8 seasons in a row were heartbreaking when all you could dream about was just making the playoffs.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:34 am

I don't think it means that TT plans to trade up. That would be a shock, and a bad idea, at least for Ragland. It is possible that Bradford has shown something or that CM3 is staying put. Most likely IMO is that TT is content with his current ILBs if the draft doesn't fall as he hopes, and it seems possible that he doesn't think all that of highly of the ILB prospects. It wouldn't surprise me if TT thinks an OLB prospect could be moved to ILB, though that would mean a learning curve. Couple of prospect at OLB played ILB at times, IIRC.

Releasing Palmer never made any sense to me, so I would have to admit that Corey's speculation is as good as any I've seen.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:36 pm

Why would trading up for Raggland be a bad idea?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 13, 2016 at 03:12 am

Drea, JMO trading up for Ragland would be a bad idea. Unlike some, I have a higher opinion of Ragland in that I think he can cover, though just adequately. First, how many spots are we moving up? I'd guess we'd have to move 6 or more spots. Real examples:

In 2015, moving from 28 to 23 cost pick 143 (Rd 5: 3rd pick in that round - a pick we don't exactly have, so it might be our 4th, #125 (and we get a 6 or 7th back?) or our 5th, #163 at a minimum.
In 2014, moving from 27 to 20 cost pick 91 (3rd).
In 2012, moving from 27 to 21 cost pick 93 (3rd).

I don't like Ragland enough to give up our 2nd or 3rd, period.
I don't like Ragland enough to give up our 4th.
I'd consider giving up a 5th and probably would give a 6th.

Just don't think a 6th would move us more than a spot or two, and otherwise I'd be happy with Billings, Reed, Robinson, Dodd, maybe Butler, and keeping our 3rd, 4th or probably 5th. I don't see as much marginal value in Ragland over Barrington, Ryan (assumes we take an ILB later - maybe Brothers, move an OLB prospect inside or take Deion Jones type later) as I do in Billings over Guion/Pennel, or Robinson, Dodd or Butler, Jones (assumes a trade back) as 5 techniques over whoever the hell we have at DE opposite Daniels.

As always, until the draft unfolds, my opinion is tentative on this issue.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 14, 2016 at 10:18 am

Cool. I get it. I was just asking since I don't really get into where players should be drafted and all of that. Just wanted an understanding since I just watch film of guys and decide how good they are.

I get why a lot of people feel a "chaser" would be more valuable, but I think it would only come to fruition if the D Line and his ILB partner is already established to allow the "chaser" to blossom. I'm not too confident in our current D-Line and ILB partner.

On the other hand, building a tougher Defense seems more closer to reach by suring up that Mike position. Ragland (1st or 2nd... whichever round) followed by 1 DL within the next 3 rounds - I feel will set us up nicely. We all complain about tackling - every single season.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:44 am

I like this article. So many options and we do not know what is behind this decision to release Nate Palmer. But: "Maybe Palmer didn’t fit with defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ plans. But now the pressure just got turned up on Thompson."? I thought Ted Thompson is the guy who make that kind of decision - signing and releasing player(s). Because of that I'm not sure what do you thought when you wrote down that "pressure just got turned up"....

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carusotrap's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:46 am

I want somebody, somewhere to give me one legitimate reason why Clay shouldn't play ILB.

"He's a natural OLB." -- No, actually he's whatever he's playing at any given moment, and as the article points out, his production, his health, and the GB D was BETTER with him at ILB.

"He wants to be an OLB." -- So what? His paychecks are clearing, and that Lombardi Trophy looks equally good from ILB as it does from OLB.

"He's paid like an OLB." -- Well, that's Ted's problem and a dumb reason to put someone in a position at which they are less effective.

"His size is that of an OLB." -- I'll give you that one, but let's be honest, when you see CMIII dropping back to cover someone on the outside, you know the next thing you're going to see is some WR catching a back shoulder sideline pass with Clay trailing 5 years behind. He's better in pass coverage over the middle from ILB where, even if he can't break up the pass, he can make that slot receiver pay for that crossing route.

I am sick to death of the media talking about "our problems at ILB." We have one of the best athletes in the league running the D from the ILB spot. Why, why, why is everyone so determined to move our best defensive player out of that spot to OLB where he can watch opposing RBs run past him inside after he overpursues.

Just stop. In this case, the round peg fits better in the square hole, and it's time to admit that the peg may actually be square.

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Evan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:58 am

"Why, why, why is everyone so determined to move our best defensive player out of that spot to OLB where he can watch opposing RBs run past him inside after he overpursues."

Who are you yelling at? Most fans want him at ILB, or continuing his hybrid role. MM is the one saying he's going back outside.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:27 am

"Why, why, why is everyone so determined to move our best defensive player out of that spot to OLB where he can watch opposing RBs run past him inside after he overpursues."

Some people, and I'm starting to be one of them, believe that the defense improved when CMIII moved inside because Neal and Perry, better run defenders and edge setters, got more reps in his place at OLB. I think it's better stated that a lesser quality of player was replaced on the inside when Neal or Perry played more on the outside (best 4 LB on the field).

Whatever the case, CMIII has a "see ball, get ball" mentality and he has sideline-to-sideline chase ability. Put him on the outside and he can be schemed and controlled: run away from, run past, chipped with a TE, steered upfield, etc. On the inside, he's like a border collie chasing a frisbee...and he's not getting beat up.

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Evan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:54 am

Speaking of Neal...it sure has been crickets on his free agency. I see him coming back on a 1 year deal.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 09:12 am

I agree with you on that!

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Big Moe's picture

April 12, 2016 at 12:53 pm

IMO most of the teams at this point are just waiting to see how their draft falls, and then h'ell get picked up, hell as a former Packer I'm shocked the Queens didn't jump in and over pay him.

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Oppy's picture

April 12, 2016 at 01:57 pm

I hope so.

I like Mike Neal.

He may not be the sexy stat guy, but he puts in solid work and makes the defense better when he's on the field.

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Tundraboy's picture

April 13, 2016 at 08:07 pm

Totally agree. He runs himself out of plays too often now and his sideline to sideline speed is what we had lacked at ILB, for like forever. Why MM is so determined to have him go back is silly until we find someone else at ILB, and I'm not holding my breath waiting for that.

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BradHTX's picture

April 12, 2016 at 09:47 am

"In this case, the round peg fits better in the square hole, and it's time to admit that the peg may actually be square."

Kudos, Caruso. I couldn't love this comment any more than I do.

Matthews production had fallen so far at OLB; why is the coaching staff so hell-bent on moving him back there? Hmmmm... Unless it's all a smoke screen...

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:38 pm

Smokescreen? Packers? Ha...

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EdsLaces's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:01 am

If we are gonna trade up it better be for Lee not Ragland. Either way losing our 3rd and a 4th for either one is nuts. I'd take a first round big man and a Brothers or Fackrell or a Cravens over this other idea all day.

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Scott Kronn's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:02 am

I don't think they will trade up for Ragland. They need a cover/chase linebacker and there are quite a few options in the draft. Lee will be gone but 2nd thru 4th round should have S'ua Cravens, Deion Jones, Jatavious Brown, Josh Perry etc. They have enough thumpers on the roster. Need to find that faster, sideline to sideline guy that can cover. Maybe one of the Safety/backer hybrids like Cravens. If Perry can cover he would be my choice. I think they draft two of this type of backer in the 2nd thru 5th round.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:17 am

I don't think there's an ILB talent in this draft that's worth trading up for.

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holmesmd's picture

April 12, 2016 at 11:29 am

Josh a Perry from O State is a Mike, not a Will. If they trade up in r1 for a LB, it better be Lee or Jack! Jaylon Smith is the other choice but presents way too much risk in r1 & 2 IMO. The chase backer tree truly doesn't have many leaves. Raggland is not a Will. If they took him he would have to play Mike and the only other player on the roster who could play Will is CMII.

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tm_inter's picture

April 12, 2016 at 11:38 am

Scott Kronn says everything I want to say. The Packers don't need Ragland. They need a cover/chase linebacker-cum-safety type of which there are several available in this draft.

I really hope MM intended a smokescreen when he said that Clay Matthews would be moved outside for 2016. Otherwise it would be dumb for him to say that before he knew what players TT would draft for the team.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:22 am

I just don't see a trade up in round 1...especially not for an ILB. ILB is just not a marquee position in the modern NFL and the Packers have too many holes to fill to start giving away picks. Many of those holes rear their ugly heads next off-season. The restocking and reforming of the Packer roster starts in 2 weeks. If anything, they need to trade back 8-12 spots, get a guy with a first-round grade at the top of round 2, and stockpile picks in rounds 3-5.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 08:43 am

Yeah, to me they should be keep the picks they have versus trading up.

Packers have 6 picks in the first 4 rounds. I would really like to see them keep all 6 picks and take the best player available.

They really need a starting caliber ILB that can play all 3 downs. They also need a starting caliber NT, and at least another rotational DL. They could also use a good backup OL that could come in and play well if injuries strike again. They also need another OLB.
Then they could use more depth at RB, TE, S, CB.

I would like to see the Packers at the very least come away with 9 picks in the draft if not more.

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Tundraboy's picture

April 13, 2016 at 08:10 pm

Sure hope it plays out the way you suggested.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 09:14 am

I bet that Ted Thompson will draft large safety (SS) who will fill that position (chasing ILB) well to excellent. It will be in the round not later than 3rd!

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tm_inter's picture

April 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

I think so too, croatpackfan.

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AgrippaLII's picture

April 12, 2016 at 09:24 am

If they found something in Bradford...why didn't they use him late last season? Ted isn't going to trade up in the first round...period. CM3 will be moved around like he was last year...inside and outside. Ted will draft an ILB when he deems him the BPA for that pick. We don't know the particulars about why Palmer was released...and now that the Titans have claimed him off waivers it will probably be even longer before we do.

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tm_inter's picture

April 12, 2016 at 11:41 am

I think Bradford is a bust and will be released before the season starts.

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Since '61's picture

April 12, 2016 at 09:34 am

Speaking for myself I don't even try to speculate on what TT will do any longer. Last year we all expected him to take an ILB early because it was a glaring need as it remains again this season and he went with 2 DBs and a WR with his first 3 picks. Which seems to have worked out well so far. This year is similar to last season in that TT finds himself thin at the interior DL as he did at CB last year. Maybe he will take 2 NTs/DLs with his first 2 picks this year, then again who knows. As for releasing Palmer the Packers probably realized that he cannot help the team regardless of whatever else they do. They also know that he will probably be there if they need/want to bring him back. As for TTs plan for ILB or any other position we will just have to wait and see. Thanks, Since '61

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 10:05 am

Elliott? My question is why didn't he play more last year? Just about every time he was on the field he made plays. Hopefully this year he gets more playing time.

Honestly I would love it if they could find another guy that could come in and play both OLB and ILB. that way they could do more looks with Clay. A little later round guy that I think could do it is Joe Schobert.

The chase LB that I want is Jatavis Brown.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 11:40 am

Brown is small, but plays a lot bigger then his size. Also has very good speed and instincts.

In the league now, its ok to have smaller ILB's, if they are faster and can get around blockers. Brown I believe can do that.

Schobert, I think can play OLB in a limited role. He won't be a full time player there no question. But I do believe he could flex out there to provide a different look and could be an effective rusher from there.

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holmesmd's picture

April 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Bovine,
I don't think he's too small. He's a tad short to cover TE's and tall receivers in zone but the guy is built like a truck! Benched 225lbs, 33 times! That's more than most lineman!! I like the idea of a shorter Will anyway. They are tougher to spot in coverage over these massive NFL lineman. Bobby Wagner is much closer to 5'11 than 6 ft. He's pretty good. Lol. I think Brown could hold up inside and would be a solid value pick IMO.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:08 pm

That is the knock on him, and why he will get drafted lower then he should.

But in the Packers defense they could allow the Safety's to cover those TE's more and allow a guy like Brown to cover the RB's more. Typically in the Packers defense Hyde does a lot of the covering of TE's, when they are in sub packages.

I would much rather see Brown covering guys like McKinnon from Minnesota or Riddick from Detroit, then to see Jake Ryan or Sam Barrington trying to cover those guys.

The more I watch Brown, the more I am wanting him to wear Green and Gold, and the less I care about his stature.
http://draftbreakdown.com/video/jatavis-brown-vs-pittsburgh-2015/

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 13, 2016 at 06:52 am

Honestly, the more I watch and see of Brown, the more I like. I first saw him at the NFLPA bowl. He DOMINATED the 4th quarter in that game. I honestly would probably use a 2nd round pick on him. I think he is going to be very good. I get the size limitations, but I think he plays bigger then his size.

I like your list of players. A few notes/thoughts on some of the positions.

RB, there are a number of guys I like that I think could be good fits in Green Bay. Prosise, Perkins, Ervin, Aaron Green, just a number of guys that could come in and play a key role. I would really like to see the Packers find a 3rd down back. Or a change of pace RB that can be a threat in the passing game.
TE, Higbee would be good. I just personally like Jerell Adams. I think he could be a star in the league. He could be a perfect fit in Green Bay's offense.
DL, there are a lot of guys to choose from. One guy I like that will go a little later is Javon Hargrave
OLB, Spence. The biggest question is his off field stuff. He could be a tremendous pick if the Packers took him.
Correa could possibly be the ideal fit in the Packers defense.

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holmesmd's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:52 pm

Until the next one;)You do know that Bowman, Willis, Borland, and Wagner are all very close to 6 ft tall. All are Pro Bowl LB's and cover quite well. I'm not willing to acknowledge that you pass on a guy because he's an inch shorter than the players mentioned. He also can jump 3 feet off the ground and runs like a deer. You can't ever discount that athleticism based solely upon lack of height. Would you rather have the lumbering tall guys we have 5 yards behind the receiver? I'll take the fast instinctive guy who can jump and run....something we have never had in the middle except Collins who was a safety. I would be elated if we got this guy!

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:57 pm

Yeah, I agree. I would love to have him.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 12, 2016 at 07:50 pm

Too short? Same thing people said about Tyrann Mathieu.

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holmesmd's picture

April 12, 2016 at 11:50 am

Love Brown but a tad short for big receivers and TE's. Killebrew is also very good but he's not really a coverage guy, despite his alleged 4.43 forty time. Great value picks in either case but Brown fits the bill more for what GB needs at WILL. Brown benched 225, 33 times!? That's more than most lineman! He's also crazy fast, 4.43. Very productive in college and definitely an intriguing solution at Will.

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:58 pm

I'm guessing he will likely be a 2nd-3rd round pick. I don't know though.

I would love to see the Packers draft the MAC DPOY in back to back years.

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 10:21 am

"Late "chase" LB = Miles Killebrew."

Killebrew would be an interesting project, but I've seen some "experts" projecting him as early as round 3.

If Antonio Morrison out of Florida could run a little better, I like him as a late flier...

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dobber's picture

April 12, 2016 at 12:25 pm

I know...he's got a bad knee. He's been a playmaker but 5.0 is hard to overlook.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:52 pm

I'd take Antonio Morrison over Joe Thomas ANY DAY. forget that .30 in their 40-time difference.

Joe Thomas Shuttle: 4.64

Antonio Morrison Shuttle: 4.65

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holmesmd's picture

April 12, 2016 at 02:55 pm

I think Thomas may surprise some folks this year? Just a gut feeling;)

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 12, 2016 at 03:01 pm

Honestly. I like Thomas. I thought he was a really good Dime LB. I think he could as well.

Still want to find a 3 down LB though.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 12, 2016 at 03:04 pm

@Holmesmd

Lol, now when you say surprise do you mean like, getting more than 1 pass deflection in a season when he only sees the field on obvious passing downs? Or Dom will be forced to find ways to get him on the field because he's become the best coverage LB type of surprise?

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holmesmd's picture

April 12, 2016 at 05:38 pm

Surprise meaning that the guy hasn't played a lot of NFL football and should make a jump. He's not as bad as you say IMO. Dime LB's aren't really pick/ deflection machines. It's not really a stat type position. If you have your guy covered and the QB checks to another target, that doesn't show up on the stat sheet now does it? Lol. Trust the coaches. They know much more about these players than you or I ever will. Just sayin:)

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 12, 2016 at 06:09 pm

First off, I agree with your 5th sentence. But let's not act like he was out there causing QBs to make other reads, lol. Man, I wish I had those Cardinal games still on my laptop. If you have access to them, go watch the Red Zone plays where the Pack played HEAVY zone...

I do trust the coaches. I'm sure they're doing the best with what they have. But...

Don't forget those same coaches started AJ Hawk over Bishop
Don't forget those same coaches started MD Jennings for an entire season
Don't forget those same coaches played Hayward at outside CB for far too many games
Don't forget those same coaches played Raji out of position for 2

This is not a knock towards our coaches. I'm just proving that the "the coaches know more than you..." can only go so far. They're supposed to know much more than fans, but some things are obvious. Like -- Joe Thomas not being the guy. He better hope TT doesn't draft a LB that can run as fast or faster than him.

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holmesmd's picture

April 13, 2016 at 05:41 am

Ok so summarize a guy based on the Cardinals game where they sat in zone?! Ok, got it. The roster is the responsibility of the GM, not the coaches. The coaches can only play/ experiment with the bodies on the roster. All of your example say nothing about the coaches other than they were trying to put players in an ideal position to be as successful as possible. TT brought Thomas back for a reason and I think he's a decent dime LB'r and will continue to improve. I never said he was a star. I do think he can run and cover. Capers sits in stupid zone concepts way too often at critical times IMO and it drives me nuts! Can't blame the players for that. If the pass rush doesn't get home, zone defense turns into a sieve for even an average NFL QB.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 14, 2016 at 10:29 am

Come on, man. I didn't want to give a breakdown of his ENTIRE season, but I guarantee it would be something like his Cardinal games.

TT brought Thomas back because he can do what any other LB can't do - which is run. Clay isn't included because he's attacking the QB on play Thomas is in. If Sean Richardson was healthy would Joe Thomas have those snaps? Doubt it. A run a cover LB is valuable in today's NFL - Joe Thomas is not that guy. He just so happens to be one of the faster LBs on the current Packers roster. That's it.

I thought coaches play Zone when playing Man when they aren't getting the preferred results. You gotta "trust the coaches", right?

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Spock's picture

April 12, 2016 at 04:24 pm

As for "what's up with this guy (Eliott) you might find this article at Packers.com instructive:
http://www.packers.com/news-and-events/article-daily-news-story/article-...
Hopefully, that link works, I've never tried it before. Anyways, I must say that you, Cow, have been (uncharacteristically IMHO) spot on with your recent posts. I salute you for not having your usual negativity and actually contributing valuable comments here. What happened? Seriously, I've stayed away from the board previously because I've hated the back and forth venom you have had with others here. I hope you keep it up!!!

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Milwaukee mike's picture

April 12, 2016 at 11:00 pm

Hopefully this is the season tt finally gets clay some help.

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holmesmd's picture

April 13, 2016 at 10:05 am

I hope to god that this article comes to fruition and that TT gets a shot at #27!?

http://m.bleacherreport.com/articles/2607708-2016-nfl-draft-myles-jack-i...

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J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

April 14, 2016 at 12:07 am

I sure hope for the Packers' sake that Matthews play at OLB this year bucks the trendline his OLB play has tracked the past 3-4 years. 2.5 after 8 are not numbers the prototypical blue chip pass rusher hang his hat on. No hammy flare ups this year, please jeebus??

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 13, 2016 at 11:49 pm

This is a great breakdown:

https://youtu.be/jbR9nIjlVHg

I still like Ragland over a "chaser" because our D-Line will not be able to protect him. Now, where to draft Ragland is key and I honestly don't get caught up into that back and forth. For every 1st rounder in past drafts I can point out in later rounds who'd had a better career (statistically).

If TT were to get a player like Smith he would have to hit on a NT and/or DE in this draft. Mike Daniels can only do so much. I like Pennell, but we don't know how he'll play outside of his usual rotational role. Barrington would have to step it up too.

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holmesmd's picture

April 14, 2016 at 07:50 am

I'm not sure but I believe Pennel graded out quite well last year?! They will add a NT in this draft and that should help against the run and protecting our backers. I don't think you can justify ignoring the acquisition of a Will by admitting you have a weak DL! A good GM would prioritize and commit to fixing both issues.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 14, 2016 at 12:04 pm

I believe he did too -- but that was as a rotation guy. Even Datone Jones looked his best last season -- as a rotation guy. Let's see how they look with increased snaps. I'm not counting Pennell out at all. I'm high on him as well.

I'm not saying TT should ignore getting a Will, but he should prioritize getting his D-Line together FIRST. This only matter IF he and the coaches are fine with the current group and whoever they draft. I just don't feel as comfortable with our current group as I did coming into last season. Especially with the 2-4-5, where one of the 2 DTs are almost always doubled on run plays -- I just can't see a "chaser" prospering with what we have right now. I'd love it if I was wrong, though.

Like Ryan Shazier, do you think he's be better off with us or the Steelers? Honestly.

Also, can you quit yelling at me? Please. Lol

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holmesmd's picture

April 14, 2016 at 09:03 pm

I wasn't yelling at you bro. I enjoy the discussion. If I capitalize a word it's for emphasis. I don't yell :)

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