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Packers by position: Linebackers

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packers Fan Forum' started by AmishMafia, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    OLB

    Current ZaDarius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashaan Gary, and Kyler Fackrell

    I don't think Fackrell is going to be a big target for teams in free agency. They are going to realize that the Packers went and signed 2 big time FAs instead of relying on Fackrell to contribute after his 'breakout' year. I would try to resign him for a reasonable amount. But if he draws big interest, we cannot put big money here. If we sign him, we can stand pat. If we don't we will need to add a low level FA or, more likely, look in the middle to late rounds to acquire some depth.


    Za'Darius Smith: A top 3 FA signing by the Packers. Only Reggie and Woodson are in the discussion. His production on the field is only 1/2 of it. He is also the unquestioned leader of the defense and that has had a big positive impact.

    Preston Smith: Forms one of the best starting pass rush tandems in the NFL. Preston is a better athlete than Za'Darius and early it looked like he was the better player. But Z has something special about him on the field at times. Together they are difficult for teams to contend with. Fantastic FA signing for a high character guy.

    Rashaan Gary: 2 sacks as a highly touted rookie. Hopefully he follows Z around and just mimics everything he does. Whatever that special something that Z has, Gary is lacking.

    Kyler Fackrell: Our unsung hero. He does a decent job and is just overshadowed by the rest of the Smiths. I think he is above average and I hope that isn't enough to get some big money in free agency. Resign 4 years $22M if possible.


    FAs
    Yannick Ngakoue - Strong pass rush but poor in the run game. Will get a big contract but not really earn it.
    Shaquil Barrett - Breakout monster year. Will get a huge contract and will never come close to those numbers again.
    Dupree - played much better this season. The light came on for him, but I suspect the light was the realization of a potential big contract.
    Kyle Van Noy - A good all around player. Maybe the only bargain in this group.

    Possible Draft targets

    4th
    Darrell Taylor - Tenessee 6'4" 255 - had a break out year in 18. Expected to be a 2nd round level prospect going into the season, but then started poorly in 2019. Towards the end of the season he was playing much better. Injury issue? Will likely improve his status at the combine and other workouts.

    Curtis Weaver - Boise State 6'3" 266# - Lunch pail guy with limited upside. But he plays well and practices hard. Had 13.5 sacks. Will be a reliable back up at the least, maybe becomes a solid pro.

    Bradly Anae Utah 6'3" 260- Good skills and relentless. Disappears at times and relies on athleticism too much. Will need to work on skills and bulk up a bit.

    Bottom Line

    I can't see us doing much of anything to exciting here.

    We should resign Fack if we can get him at a bargain. But I probably let him walk to a much bigger deal elsewhere. I would look to add some depth in the 4th or later rounds. A developmental type or at least someone who can fill in for a few plays per game.




    ILB
    Martinez, Summers,

    The weakest part of our team. This is the most important position to upgrade. Again with the cynergy. If we improve the ILB, then a hole is plugged and the Smith brothers become that much more effective.

    Blake Martinez: I thought most of the defensive issues in the NFCCG could be traced to Martinez. He would hesitate and let the play come to him, giving plenty of time for a OG or TE or the water boy to get on him with a block. On one play, Clark collapsed the left gap and a wide gap opened on the right. Maritnez went left, only to have the RB shoot through the huge hole on the right. Not sure what he was thinking or saw. Anyway, clearly, SF's game plan was to exploit Martinez and they were very successful. I think the biggest thing he is missing is just the attitude. We need a guy in the middle of the defense who is an emotional leader on the field. Z does that, but I think we need an aggressive guy in the middle. Do not resign.

    Summers: An ascending young player. Will need to improve in a bunch of areas, but didn't see enough of him to know what we have. Keep around and see if he develops, otherwise he is good for special teams.

    Burk: No idea what we have in him either. Spent a 3rd on him and his potential is intriguing.

    Raven Greene: Not sure if I should put him here or at safety. Seems to be a hybrid and played as a ILB. Missed most of the season with an injury, tough to know where he is at.

    Cannot rely on any of these guys, need to improve through the draft or free agents.

    Free Agents
    Nick Kwiatkoski - My top choice for players to target. Good all around player. He is boardering on being an impact player, and he may get there. Buried on the depth chart behind Danny Lavathan and Roquon Smith, he hasn't played much till Lavathan got injured this season. He played as well as anyone on the Bears underachieving defense. He wasn't asked to blitz much, so there may be some hidden potential there. But he was good in coverage and run support.

    Joe Schobert - good player, but not balanced. Somebody we should strongly consider. Got better each season. Is better in coverage than pass rush and his run stopping is average at best.

    Cory Littleton - excellent in coverage. A bit below average in run defense. Helped out by having a good DL in front of him.


    Draft
    First Round
    Kenneth Murray: The only impact guy. Plays fast and is physical at the POA, the only impact playmaker in the draft at ILB. I suspect he will be gone in the middle of the first. If we want him, we may have to trade up and that wouldn't be a bad plan if we miss in FA.

    2nd round

    Anfernee Jennings : Big player at 6'3" 260, but still plays fast. Equally good against pass and run. Not as quick as I want, but he would be a significant upgrade. Maybe the first round pick - but I don't think that is a value pick.

    3rd -4th round
    Jordyn Brooks - good player. Nothing too exciting. Maybe a step above Martinez with the potential for a bit more. Already better in pass protection.

    Zach Baun - plays OLB. Someone here suggested he can play ILB. Not going to pretend I can tell one way or the other. This would be a wildcard but can always be kept for OLB.

    Krys Barnes - bigger guy who is aggressive. Best thing he brings to the team may be an attitude.


    Not a great draft for ILBs. There are 2 at the top, that I think can help as rookies. There seems to be some good solid guys, who are all on the slow side. The draft doesn't line up to well for us in regards to ILB. Murray is worth our 1st, but will be gone. The others are not worth a 1st, but will likely be gone by our 2nd. Hate to reach for a guy. I'm sure our scouting staff will find someone smaller school prospects for later in the draft. Keep your eye on anyone who has a high RAS.


    Although the Draft sucks, there are some good ILBs available in free agency. I don't believe it is a matter of a lack of talent for the defense. I think we have one hole at ILB and SF was able to exploit.

    Bottom Line

    I would not wait to see if we can find someone in the draft.

    I would pull the trigger on one of the free agents. I go after Kwiatkoski. I pay him more than I should, it is that big of a need. If I miss on Kwiatoski, I go after Schobert and finally Littleton. Failing all three, I grab Murray in the draft even if I need to trade up. Not sure where he is going - would expect him to be gone 16 - 20ish.
     
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  2. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    Kwiatkoski is interesting. I have seen flashes, but I really don't know enough about him to say it's a good or bad idea.

    Littleton's run defense gets dinged, but I think there's more to it. He was the only off-ball linebacker on the field for the Rams most of the time. That's a big ask for a 228 lb guy. In theory, his coverage ability would allow him to replace the Greene/Campbell role in the defense, not Martinez. Thus he could play next to a real linebacker and not have the same run responsibilities that he had in LA. He's one of the better tacklers in the league.
     
  3. RicFlairoftheNFL

    RicFlairoftheNFL Cheesehead

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    Ok if you're talking Linebackers you're talking my language and I like some of what you are saying here.

    1.) Schobert is a UW guy so local fans will know him, intriguing to bring him in. I think if we can get him in at a good price that's a smart move. I haven't seen him much since his days at UW so I don't know if he can step in and start, or step in as a depth player.

    2.) Zach Baun another UW product, I've seen and done mocks where he has gone late 1, early 2, he will not be there in round 3-4 as you seem to have him.

    3.) Kenneth Murray admittedly I'm intrigued by him. Watched 2 OU games, Bedlam and the Semi...seemed to disappear and rely on teammates to win the game.

    4.) Jennings at his size shouldn't he be on OLB in a 3-4? I mean I've heard of bigger ILB but wow 260?

    5.) Burks I think we know about at this point. There's a reason he was playing on the punt team late in the season after not being on the field most of the rest of the year. I'd guess right now Summers is the primary back up and Burks is the #2 backup and maybe even #3 when Bolton is healthy. I think he played his last snap in Green Bay.

    6.) Summers biggest issue seems to be tackling. He knows where the ball is going, he can get there (Something we see Martinez struggle with) he can cover (Something Martinez struggles with) but when he gets to the runner it looks like Bo Jackson on Brian Bosworth. I'd like to see him come in 5 pounds bigger with the same speed, and better knowledge of angles and leverage.

    We don't necessarily agree on alot but I like how you think about fixing this problem.
     
  4. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    Ty Summers was subbed out on passing downs in college.

    I've seen more than one person say he has cover skills and I have no idea where it comes from.
     
  5. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    I haven't given up on Burks yet. It doesnt look promising, but it isnt time to write him off either.

    Bryce Paup had a very modest first year. His 3rd year he hit his stride. Cullen Jenkins got cut 2 years in a row before making the team in year 3.

    But he hasnt shown much of anything to rely on any development there. Keep him, but he should be option #4.
     
  6. RicFlairoftheNFL

    RicFlairoftheNFL Cheesehead

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    Bryce Paup couldn't get on the field until Tim Harris left.

    Thing is Burks has shown an ability to get dinged and not be on the field, and when he has gotten 7 or 8 snaps in his career he's not shown an aptitude to play.
     
  7. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    The Packers just need to find a linebacker who excels at something. The defense has been hamstrung by Martinez because he doesn't have a defined strength to match up to.

    He's a not a great run defender, nor is he a very capable cover man. So if you put a thumper next to him, you're going to get picked apart in the passing game. And if you put a safety next to him, you're going to get run all over. That's an oversimplification, but essentially that's the problem.

    If the Packers can find a guy who excels against the run OR the pass, they'd be in better shape. They could play off said player with someone who complements their skill set.

    This is why I'm not crazy about the Schobert idea the more I look into him. He seems like an improved version of Martinez, but with the same basic limitations-- not a very good run stopping LB, and while better in coverage than Martinez, still not the guy you want to be your main coverage asset at the 2nd level.

    Cory Littleton appeals to me for this reason. His coverage ability could push a DB off the field, and you could play him next to a rookie with more downhill skills-- or even B.J. Goodson.
     
  8. gopkrs

    gopkrs Cheesehead

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    Summers has shown me less than nothing except a few plays on special teams. Bolton deserves a look.
     
  9. Mondio

    Mondio Cheesehead

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    FOr what he is, is actually pretty decent I think. He can at least fight thru a block or fight for position and put a hit on a ball carrier.
     
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  10. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    A very interesting take. I always lean towards all around good players so no one thing can be exploited.

    I'm going to have to ponder this.
     
  11. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    Maybe . . .

    Kevin Pierre-Louis

    He is a wildcard at ILB. He has not played very much in his career. He has always been behind studs. Bobby Wagner, KJ Wright, DannyTrevathan and Roquan Smith. In KC he got busted for pot.

    The guy is off the charts athletic.

    https://www.mockdraftable.com/player/kevin-pierrelouis?position=ILB


    Code:
    40 Yard Dash 4.51s 97
    Vertical Jump 39" 96
    Broad Jump 128" 99
    3-Cone Drill 6.92s 83
    20 Yard Shuttle 4.02s 95
    
    Curious to see how he would fit in our system.
     
  12. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    Absolutely with you that ideally you want all around good players. But those are so difficult to find, that landing someone who excels in one area and who you can protect in another is usually the preferred alternative.
     
  13. FaninColorado

    FaninColorado Cheesehead

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    The problem with releasing Martinez is that our current defense would then need to find two starters from FA and the draft. Murray and/or Queen would be a great draft pick, but the chances are looking worse and worse for either of them dropping to us. The FA selections in my opinion are going to have the same problem Martinez has... no interior defensive lineman to provide cover for.

    In my opinion, we'd be better off keeping Martinez and adding a Littleton type in FA or trying to get Queen or Murray in the first round while also adding a Leonard Williams, DJ Reader, or Michael Pierce type interior D-Lineman to help out Clark. The interior D-Line needs as much help as the inside LB position. Martinez is a solid ILB, but needs help protecting him so he can actually do his job. The game against Seattle he looked very good because he was attacking the ball.
     
  14. Pokerbrat2000

    Pokerbrat2000 Opinions are like A-holes, we all have one.

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    I'm just starting to look at the draft. Obviously, you never really know what the Packers "should do" until after Free agency. Of course, I didn't expect them to draft Gary last year after signing the Smith Brothers either.

    I really like what I see out of Murray so far. The guy looks quick, instinctive and strong. Not sure how he will due in pass coverage, but it appears he would be an upgrade over Martinez. Will he be there at #30? I have seen him mocked anywhere from 17-35, so a lot of it depend on how much movement of other guys happens between now and after the combine and pro days.

    Chad Reuter seems to think he will be there for the Packers.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap30...d-2020-nfl-mock-draft-10-dolphins-pass-on-tua
     
  15. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    I don't really know anything about him, but 260 isn't the end of the world. 3-4 OLBs tend to be bigger because a lot of their job description (and thus desirable traits) lines up with 4-3 DE. So things like length/height are a good thing.

    A 260 ILB, assuming he as sufficient lateral quickness, is not a big deal. Unusual in the modern game, but not a problem.
     
  16. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Don't everybody? They just happen to be hard to find or simply not available. There may not be 10 true 3-down ILBs or MLBs in the league right now who are good at everything.
     
  17. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Queen shows pretty well in coverage. Good speed. Decent play anticipation. At something like 6'1", 230 lbs. he's more like that oversized safety / hybrid ILB type. Not very physical at the point of attack, but I like the way he uses his hands to get off some blocks. Seems to reads the hole pretty well.

    I'm less impressed with Phillips. He chops a lot of steps and frequently can't find a direct line to play. I'm not seeing good play speed, probably as a result of the above. To me, he looks like a slow processer with difficulty in the read-and-react department. Whether off-the-ball or edge, LBs who do a lot of step-chopping and slow processing have high bust potential at the next level.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  18. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    I meant I would find a guy that is a 6 in run defense, 6 in pass defense, and a 6 in pass rush. As opposed to a guy who is a 9 in one of those and 4 in the others. Dante said he would prefer a guy who excels in one even if they lag in others.
     
  19. Calvin

    Calvin Cheesehead

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    Why would you want to keep a terrible LB in Martinez? Keeping him would mean paying him starters money which means he would be the starter again which means the great Rodgers might as well retire. He is not good at anything. Solid, yes on the bench as a backup of a backup.
    What is he good at?

    He literally has no instincts. If you pause the tape on many plays after the RB get the ball, you will find Martinez still in the crouch position as if the ball wasn't snapped. He cant shed a block, not good in pass coverage, not good against the run. Never seen him predict a play. He often skips to the ball, watch the tape. Him at ILB has been a complete disaster.

    Like the Frozen movie, Let him go, good luck elsewhere.
     
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  20. Dantés

    Dantés Gute Loot

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    Martinez is a free agent. So it's not a question of whether to keep him or release him, but whether to pay him or let him walk. The latter is clearly the better idea. Whether it's him or a different option, the Packers are going to have to pay up. It would make more sense to pay up for a better player.

    And while it's true that at times last year the iDL didn't play as well as we need them to, it didn't help the run defense at all that Martinez is completely helpless when he has to face blocks AND that his coverage deficiencies mean that they often had to play a DB next to him.
     
  21. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    I highly doubt a 260 pound inside linebacker would excel in coverage though.
     
  22. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    We evidently have different standards for what constitutes "good".
     
  23. FaninColorado

    FaninColorado Cheesehead

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    Right now... finding a "9" in stopping the run is my hope. We need to improve on run defense before this team can go further. The Niners, Vikings, and the Cowboys are prime examples of run first NFC teams that we will struggle with defensively.
     
  24. Pokerbrat2000

    Pokerbrat2000 Opinions are like A-holes, we all have one.

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    Interestingly enough, we actually did pretty well this year against the Cowboys and the Vikings in the way of stopping their run games. Take Delvin Cook's 75 yard run away and both games against the Vikings our run defense was decent.

    But yeah, it sucked against the 9'ers and at various times during the season.
     
  25. gopkrs

    gopkrs Cheesehead

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    What I remember about the Cowboy game was that we were way ahead and then I got real nervous. I am pretty sure they put aside their run game pretty early in the game. And I remember the Eagles ran through us and we kind of learned that our D was not as tough as we thought it was. Need to get better in the middle and at linebacker. For me, that is much more important than a tight end.
     
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