PFF: 5 GTHTBG – Oren Burks

5 guys that have to be good is a series that I’ve been running for a number of years.  It focuses on five Packers players that need to have good seasons for Green Bay to return to Super Bowl glory.  You won’t see Aaron Rodgers or even Davante Adams on this list.  It’s not a list of obvious guys that make a ton of money that have to play well for the team to succeed.  These are “X” Factors, like Desmond Bishop and Bryan Bulaga in 2010 that could mean another run at the Super Bowl.

Stay tuned to and of course CHTV the next few Fridays and Mondays for the rest of this series.

Here are the four three entries for 2018:

Kyle Murphy
Geronimo Allison
Kevin King
Vince Biegel

Unfortunately the 5 Guys that Have to Be Good series has been a bit of a curse.  Guys have underperformed.  Guys have gotten injured.  Frankly, guys have not been good.  That’s a large part of why there haven’t been any Super Bowl championships since 2010.  The “guys that had to be good” didn’t quite make it.

Another unfortunate part of this series is that it’s during camp, and I rarely seem to finish it before someone is very seriously injured.  The Packers have been snakebitten in recent past by season ending injuries during “fake football”.  Promising seasons were derailed by the losses of Jordy Nelson, Bryan Bulaga and now Green Bay is dealing with the loss of Jake Ryan.

Full disclosure Ryan is not as important to this season as Nelson and Bulaga were to the seasons they missed.  The Packers should see little to no difference in the ceiling of their defense, especially on money downs, losing the run defender from Michigan.

I say should because Green Bay has limited, if any depth at inside linebacker.  Blake Martinez is a known commodity.  Martinez tied for the league lead in tackles last season and was a force against the run.  His ability to shut down the passing game is in question but overall he’s a decidedly above average player.

Outside of Martinez they have an undrafted 1st and 2nd down player in Greer Martini and two converted safeties.  Those would be Ahmad Thomas (who has actually looked great) and 2018 3rd round pick Oren Burks.  On first glance, Burks was a raw linebacker prospect.  Burks graded out poorly via PFF College in 2017 after making the switch from safety, but was a team captain and an all conference selection.

Burks still struggles to get off of blocks, but the Packers drafted him to play in space and make plays when clean. He’s done that already in spades.

The issue now is that Burks, in the base defense, is a starter.  He has to play well because he’s probably going to get 500 or 600 snaps this season.  He’s going to be a key cog in the Packers defense.  He was probably already scheduled to slide into Joe Thomas’ role as the dime linebacker but that role is going to be expanded whether the like it or not.

Oren Burks has to be good.  Fortunately he’s shown the ability to take on blocks, if even just a little bit.


Ross Uglem is a writer at You can follow Ross on twitter at RossUglem



3 thoughts on “PFF: 5 GTHTBG – Oren Burks

  1. thanks Ross.. i am pretty excited about Burks upside.. i thought it would take a year for him to develop; however, it looks like he is on a fast track.. i hope he and Martinez can stay healthy for the year/their careers.

  2. No doubt that Burks is in kind of a pivotal situation. Ryan was a solid, knowledgeable player who played a lot of snaps and took part in a lot of stops….he’ll be missed. I am really hoping Burks stays healthy and plays well but I know that’s asking a lot from a rookie, even a good one.
    He’s in the base. He’s in the middle of the pass defense in the nickel.
    I think he’ll help, but I think he’ll need help. Who else are we keeping at ILB on the gameday roster?

  3. Looks like Burks has a short 2018 season, or fake news to let really bad scrubs play.

Comments are closed.