Green Bay Packers: 3 Day 2 Draft Options at Linebacker

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 01: Malik Harrison #39 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action during the Big Ten Championship game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ohio State won 45-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 01: Malik Harrison #39 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action during the Big Ten Championship game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 1, 2018 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ohio State won 45-24. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

With linebacker being a huge need that has to be addressed this offseason, here are three Day 2 draft options for the Green Bay Packers.

With reports of Blake Martinez seeking a contract that will pay him an average annual value of $10 million or more, if there was any sort of faint possibility that he would re-sign with the Green Bay Packers, that news all about crushed it.

Sure, Martinez came with his limitations. He struggled in coverage and although he racked up big tackle numbers, many came five or six yards past the line of scrimmage. However, he was incredibly durable, he was around most plays, and he was the quarterback of this defense. So even though re-signing him doesn’t make sense, losing him still leaves a huge hole in this defense.

When it comes to addressing this need, one route that the Packers could go is via free agency. During the NFL Combine, reports surfaced that they were looking into Cory Littleton, Joe Schobert, and Nick Kwiatkoski. But something to keep in mind is that Green Bay doesn’t have the same spending power that they did a season ago and historically, linebacker isn’t a position that they’ve paid big money to. So we will just have to wait and see if anything comes from this.

The other option, of course, is the draft and I think it’s fair to consider this the more likely option. By now Green Bay Packers’ fans are familiar with Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen, either of which would be a fantastic addition.

However, there’s no guarantee that either will be available by pick No. 30 and we also don’t know if Green Bay will choose to address another position like tackle or receiver. Both are distinct possibilities, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t land a talented player on Day 2 of the draft.

So having said all of that, while many fans want Green Bay to sign a free agent or spend their first-round pick on a linebacker, just in case, let’s take a closer look at three linebacker prospects who could be available on the second day of the draft for the Packers.

Malik Harrison – Ohio State

In terms of production, Malik Harrison really came on strong during his final two years at Ohio State. In 26 games he would total 156 tackles, 25 of which were for a loss, with six sacks, and an interception. He’s a physical tackler, can plug gaps, and he certainly has the potential to be an immediate help in the Packers’ run defense.

On top of that, he’s shown that he can create pressure as a blitzer, but it’s also worth pointing out that he has some limitations when it comes to his man-coverage abilities. From an athletic standpoint, Harrison has good range and he tested very well at the combine, especially for his size. Which as we all know, is a very important aspect to GM Brian Gutekunst.

Here is what Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network had to say about Harrison in his scouting report:

"“Malik Harrison projects as a starting MIKE at the NFL level, although his impact in the passing game is going to be marginal compared to the value he brings against the run. A physical thumper in down hill situations and does a wonderful job stuffing up blocks and keying opportunities to stack/shed or shoot gaps and attack the mesh point. An early down player for most teams but with more development in zone he could see his snap share raise in time.”"

Troy Dye – Oregon

Troy Dye is going to be one of the more experienced linebackers in this class. Over his four-year career at Oregon, Dye would play in 48 games and total just under 400 tackles, 42 of which were for a loss, with 13 sacks, five interceptions, and 14 pass breakups.

Measuring in at the combine at 6’3″ – 231 pounds, Dye has good size to go along with his athleticism. Unfortunately, he didn’t test at the combine but on tape, he shows very good sideline-to-sideline range and that he has the ability to stick with running backs and tight ends in coverage.

However, an area that he must improve upon as pointed out by Crabbs and others is in his diagnosing of plays:

"“Troy Dye has the athletic profile of an impact defender at the NFL level. With his explosiveness, mobility, length and range, Dye has everything needed to be a plus starter — but he must quicken his play diagnosis and become a better defender in space to take good angles in his path to the football. Dye is currently a tick slow on seeing opportunities to attack and as a result will miss critical plays on the boundary or fail to get home when shooting gaps. Developmental starter.”"

Jordyn Brooks – Texas Tech

Similar to Dye, Jordyn Brooks has a lot of experience having appeared in 46 games at Texas Tech and during that time he came away with 360 total tackles, 32 were for a loss, and he also had 6.5 sacks along with two interceptions. And if the Green Bay Packers want to add a top athlete to the middle of their defense, well then Brooks may just be the answer.

At the combine, Brooks would post a 4.54 – 40 yard dash and at the NFL level, he is going to be at his best when he can work in space and let that athleticism take over. His ability to fly from sideline-to-sideline would certainly be a welcomed sight but when it comes to the run game, he can disappear at times because once Brooks is engaged by a blocker, he’s oftentimes taken out of the play.

Kyle Crabbs had this to say about Brooks in his scouting report:

"“Jordyn Brooks projects as a sub-package defender at the NFL level. Working Brooks into a 3-down role is likely to require him to play the WILL, where his range and short area quickness can be amplified without tasking him to address blockers with consistency. Brooks’ game is predicated around playing in space and being slippery to attack the LOS — his best value comes as a QB spy or blitz player. He’s a fairly visual defender, so giving him free roaming reps is a must for best results.”"

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Of course, these aren’t the only names to keep your eyes on. Some other linebackers that could be available to the Green Bay Packers on Day 2 or 3 of the draft include David Woodward, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Evan Weaver, and Justin Strnad.