Inside Linebackers (7)
In a league that is prioritizing speed and agility over power and strength at the inside linebacker position, the Packers appear to be joining the rest of the league, getting smaller and quicker to help on passing downs. With one starter set in stone and two others locked into the roster, they have a few intriguing options to fill out the bottom of the roster.
After leading the league in tackles last year, Martinez looks to take the next step in his career. The likely man to wear the communication helmet, Martinez to become a Pro Bowler this year.
- Natural instincts keep him around the ball.
- Good form tackler with great technique.
- High football IQ, was trusted with the communication helmet as a rookie.
- Can get caught up in the muck at the line of scrimmage.
- Inconsistent in coverage.
- Has had chances, but struggles to finish turnover plays.
Scale (If 1 is the player has absolutely no chance of making the final 53-man roster and 10 is the player is a surefire lock, where does this player rank?)-10
The only true three-down linebacker in the middle, Martinez is the player most likely to never leave the field.
A prototypical first down inside ‘backer, Ryan lost some playing time over the course of last season, but was still a key part of the special teams units and the run defense.
- Good instincts which keep him around the ball.
- Solid play strength.
- Sure tackler.
- Play speed is below average.
- Poor Coverage skills
- Inconsistent ability to disengage from blocks.
Ryan isn’t in serious danger of being released, but his playing time could be seriously cut on defense during the final year of his contract
A former safety and outside linebacker, Burks is the prototypical player for the modern NFL. His coverage skills should help him see the field right away and he can be the upgraded version of Joe Thomas.
- One of the most athletic linebackers in the draft.
- Great coverage skills.
- High character.
- Undersized, struggles in the run game.
- Lack of experience at any single position.
- Tries to do too much with his range and can stray outside his zone.
There is no chance the Packers cut a third-round pick and Burks will see the field early and often.
After spending part of last season on the practice squad, Thomas gets another shot at the team this year. A productive college player at Oklahoma, he needs to improve his speed and agility to make it.
- Good instincts and takes good angles to the ball.
- Experience on special teams
- Decent coverage skills.
- Lack of power limits his tackling.
- Below average speed for his position
- Doesn’t force turnovers.
Thomas is a solid prospect but he is too similar to Ryan and the league is gravitating away from players of Thomas’s skill set.
An uber-productive tackler at Syracuse, Bennett is looking to take a Blake Martinez role as an undrafted rookie.
- Smart, takes good angles to the ball.
- Sure tackler
- Experience at each position in the linebacking corps.
- Undersized for a 3-4 system.
- Not explosive, struggles to get off blocks cleanly.
- Doesn’t meet runners in the hole, tackles downfield more often than not.
Bennett could be a special teams player early on with his tackling ability, but he’s more likely to be a Practice Squad guy.
Another undersized, athletic linebacker in the undrafted class, Porter is a small-school, high-accolade player who needs to make an impact on special teams.
- Extremely productive, led Fairmont State in tackles for four seasons.
- Good speed to get sideline-to-sideline
- Decent coverage skills
- Productive for a small school, didn’t face top-flight competition.
- Struggles with bigger running backs and tight ends.
Porter is a good prospect as the modern linebacker, but needs a lot of work to make the jump from Fairmont State to the NFL. He could use a year on the practice squad.
Another productive college linebacker, Martini is a productive player for Notre Dame who gets a shot with the team after trying out for the squad following the draft. He’s the longest of shots.
- Durable, played in 50 games at Notre Dame
- Decent instincts.
- High effort player who doesn’t give up on plays.
- Average athleticism
- More effort than production
Martini was a solid college player, but he’s a special teamer at his best int he NFL. That’s not enough for the Packers.
*Written by Mike Wendlandt