The Green Bay Packers weren’t stellar at running the ball or stopping the run in 2012, finishing 20th and 17th in the league in those two categories, respectively. In fact, their season came to a close against the thunderous hooves of Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore and the San Francisco 49ers, who basically ran at will on Green Bay in the playoffs.
Trying to find some help in the defensive front-seven has to be on the Packers’ minds, and finding an outside linebacker to compliment Clay Matthews might be where they want to look in the first round.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette summed it up nicely:
“With all the depth on the inside, the Packers aren’t likely to do much there, but after opting not to re-sign Erik Walden, who got $16 million over four years from the Colts, and oft-injured Frank Zombo, who signed with the Chiefs, there could be some interest in another outside rusher.”
The team is likely to try to find an OLB so that second-year player Nick Perry can move back to his natural position of defensive end, after struggling at the linebacker position last season. Some think that Perry could learn to thrive in the OLB slot, but with the 26th pick in the first round, Green Bay has a good shot at getting an impact linebacker who could slide in from day one.
The importance of this pick is that it needs to be someone who goes beyond just being able to blitz the quarterback or hang back in coverage. The edge linebacker for this Packers’ team needs to be solid in run defense to the point of being able to almost look like a defensive tackle when the Packers load the box.
Arthur Brown (Kansas State), Alec Ogletree (Georgia), and Khaseem Greene (Rutgers) are all possible prospects that could fall into the pick area of the Packers–any of them fitting the bill nicely for what Green Bay needs on the edge.