Having selected at least one linebacker in every NFL Draft since 2011, the Green Bay Packers are needing to figure out their future at that position yet again. Even after having re-signed De’Vondre Campbell this offseason, this defense needs key depth pieces in place for both now and the future.
Krys Barnes and Campbell are the two projected starters inside at this unit moving forward, and Campbell put up one of the best seasons by an LB for the Packers in a very long time. On the other hand, Barnes certainly could benefit from being pushed by someone, and that someone could come from this year’s NFL Draft.
While no clear-cut top option at this position, there is a fair share of viable options that the Packers could look into to help improve their LB room, many of which don’t require a first-round selection.
Hailing from the University of Utah Utes, Devin Lloyd profiles as an inside 4-3 option that could eventually be a part of a 3-4 defensive scheme, provided his work in passing situations improves. Looked at as more of a downhill, run stuffer at this point, Lloyd enters the NFL Draft as one of the best LB prospects this class has to offer, which doesn’t say a ton about the group.
Lloyd experienced his fair share of trench warfare in the Pac-12, turning his aggressiveness often into tackles behind the line of scrimmage. As the Packers look to maintain their recent LB success, Lloyd could be a surprise 1st-round selection for them if he ends up falling into the 20s, an unlikely outcome based on his potential and status with his positional group.
Another member hailing from Georgia’s standout defense this past year, Nakobe Dean was the recipient of the 2021 Butkus Award, handed out to the nation’s best LB.
Showcasing good instincts in both passing and rushing situations is a big part of why Dean is a fringe 1st-round option, and he plays downhill well, even if he can be a bit reckless.
Missing tackles certainly is not something you want to be included as a trait in an LB, but Dean is susceptible to having that happen, ultimately lowering his ceiling. Coverage skills are a strong aspect of his game, but his 5’11, 226 lb. frame could be seen as an issue as he is thicker but not all that tall.
Best of the Rest
Chad Muma (Wyoming), Quay Walker (Georgia), Leo Chenal (Wisconsin), JoJo Domann (Nebraska), and Christian Harris (Alabama) are options frequently seen in the next realm of prospects.
Muma looks to be the best of this next-up group, and the Wyoming prospect looks to be continuing the tradition of Wyoming LBs heading to the league, something that Logan Wilson did last draft cycle.
Great run-game instincts, a knack for making his tackles at the point of attack, and sufficient pass-coverage metrics as well, making him the most well-rounded option in this year’s class. Having made the play calls for the defense at Wyoming, Muma could very well wear the green dot at the next level, maybe even as a rookie.
While not frequently seen as an area that the Packers like to address during the draft, linebacker could be a sneaky area that they decide to invest in, potentially early, in April.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23