With 5 picks in the first 100 of the 2024 NFL draft, the Packers had an opportunity to remake the competition at several positions on the roster. Transitioning to Jeff Haffey’s 4-3 defensive scheme meant they were going to need to focus on different skill-sets for their Linebacker room. While Edge Cooper made sense in the 2nd round, many folks were shocked to see Ty’Ron Hooper selected at pick 91. He was seen as a solidly day-3 player, often projected at the fifth round, so a 3rd round selection felt like a reach. Let’s examine what Ty’Ron will bring to Green Bay this year.

Ty’Ron Hopper: Origins 

Ty’Ron Hopper grew up in Gaffney, S.C., and started playing football early. He attended Gaffney High School, where he played Cornerback and Safety as a freshman and sophomore. After his sophomore year, in search for better exposure to area scouts, Hopper moved to Roswell, Ga.  At Roswell High School Hopper moved to Linebacker in the defense’s 3-4 scheme. As a senior, he helped Roswell win the 2018 regional championship.  That season Ty’Ron amassed 86 tackles, 6 tackles for loss and five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. For these efforts he was named a U.S. Army All-American. 

A four-star recruit, Hopper was the No. 4 outside linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class and the No. 11 recruit in Georgia. While he received some recruiting attention while still at Gaffney, his plan of increasing his profile with scouts really paid off at Roswell. There he received offers from huge football programs like Alabama, Florida, Miami, North Carolina and Tennessee. Hopper ultimately committed to Florida and was the fourth-ranked recruit in their 2019 class. The Head Coach was fired after the 2021 season, however, so Hopper transferred to Missouri in January 2022. 

Ty’Ron comes from a serious football family. He moved in with his aunt and uncle when he moved to Roswell and the three cousins he lived with were all college football players: Tyrone Hopper II played linebacker at North Carolina (2016-21) and is now a graduate assistant at Arkansas; Tyneil Hopper played tight end at Boise State (2018-22) before transferring to Michigan State (2023); Tyjai Hopper was a three-star safety in the 2024 recruiting class and signed with James Madison. (One day I’d like to get to the bottom of the significance of the name “Ty” to this family, but that’s an article for another day…)

Ty’Ron Hopper: College Years

Ty’Ron hardly saw the field his freshman year, only appearing in one game and playing a total of 3 snaps at Cornerback for the Gators.The following year, as a sophomore, Hopper logged 75 snaps across 5 games.  He made 9 tackles, 4 assists, and 8 stops while adding 3 total pressures, including one sack. Decent production given his limited usage. 

Hopper’s junior season in 2021 proved to be a turning point. That year he became a reliable part of the team, playing in 13 games and contributing on 471 snaps. He recorded 51 tackles, 11 assists, and 34 stops, along with 2 pass breakups. As a pass rusher, he demonstrated his effectiveness with 13 total pressures, including 2 sacks. After transferring to Missouri for his senior year, Hopper continued to showcase his abilities, culminating in an impressive season where he logged 54 tackles, 15 assists, and 37 stops, along with 2 pass breakups and an interception in coverage. This earned him recognition as Second Team All-SEC in 2023.

Hopper accepted his invitation to the 2024 Senior Bowl but was unable to participate.

Hopper over Wilson??

If you comb through draft coverage you’ll see praise for Hopper’s abilities as a rangy, athletic space player with terrific pursuit speed, especially from the backside. Many highlighted his dynamic blitzing potential  and quick downhill speed as clear strengths.  Ty’Ron was a regular on punt coverage in 2023 and tallied 468 special-teams snaps in his career, something Green Bay will certainly have him do.

Ty’Ron’s negatives in the draft process centered around his size and inconsistent play. Many judged him as lean and still growing into his frame, especially in his lower body. Others flagged that he looks like an inconsistent take-on player who needs to tighten his tackling form. Ty’Ron seems to lack the strength in his hands to sift through traffic in the box and sometimes will overrun his angles and create cutback opportunities for runners. 

This pick was a head-scratcher for me. Peyton Wilson, who many considered neck and neck with Edgerrin Cooper as the best Linebacker in the draft, was still on the board at pick 91 when they took Hopper.  Hopper was the 153rd ranked player on the consensus big board, which, on average, does a better job at predicting outcomes than any individual analyst. Wilson, by comparison, was player 44. If it weren’t for Wilson’s medical history and his age (24), he would have likely been seen as a first-round talent. These two factors likely removed him from Green Bay’s board. Taking player 153 at pick 91 puts the Packers out on a significant ledge. We’ll need to watch his development closely.

Next Up: Show Me

We have yet to see him play, so we will learn a lot more about the player, and I trust the Packers scout team to knows better than me. But going against consensus rarely pays off, so I’ll be closely watching Wilson’s career with the Steelers and comparing it to what Hopper does for Green Bay for the next few years. I hope they make me look foolish for my lack of faith. 

During Matt LaFleur’s five seasons as head coach, the Packers have allowed 4.7 yards per rush, worst in the NFL. They need good Linebacker play, and fast. Here’s hoping Ty’Ron can be a solution, not another in a long line of Packers causing problems in run defense.