Will A 4 Down ILB Emerge?

benardrick mckinney 2The Packers have made clear their intention of finding an answer at inside linebacker with the release of AJ Hawk along with that of Brad Jones. While this does leave Sam Barrington, it sure does make it seem like TT and the Packers brass are ready to gather a group of ILB’s together and see if one or two of these guys can become a stud.

Free Agency

Free agency will offer plenty of chances for the Packers to do their due dilligence and even though it is not Thompson’s MO, I would not be at all surprised if he doesn’t pick up a possible solution in free agency. Here’s the problem…while there are a LOT of free agent ILB’s available, none of them are much of an upgrade from AJ and AJ was the consummate Packer.

The Packers could sign Jamari Lattimore or resign AJ and be just as well off as they would be with any of the other free agents available. So I think while they may bring somebody in…it won’t be an answer. So where does the answer lie?

Existing Players

So if I really thought that the Packers had existing players (other than Barrington) already on the sam barringtonteam that could be 4 down difference makers…well…I would have expected to see them on the field already. Sam Barrington showed that he could play…and he was on the field. A lot of fans like Carl Bradford but he has not shown much. He will have to take a big leap next year and will be fortunate that we are very thin at that position. But a sophomore slump is as likely as any great transformation into a 4 down inside linebacker. Bradford was a pass rusher that the Packers brought inside when Jones was hurt. He had a great opportunity to help the team and was not able to do it. Still listed at both ILB spots, Bradford will likely get another chance. I, for one, don’t think he’s the answer.

The Draft

Just about everyone in Packernation will be watching to see if the Packers take an inside linebacker in the first round of the 2015 draft. I think Benardrick McKinney could be on the Packers radar at that spot. But will any of the ILB that are still on the board truly be a difference maker? I am not sure. If the Packers found a stud for the middle of this defense, next year’s defense would be formidable to say the least. Even if Tramon Williams isn’t back, we will be ready to do more than just pick up where we left off if we can keep Clay Matthews on the outside and upgrade the interior.

The release of both Jones and Hawk tells me that the Packers have a plan. That plan is likely a combination of the above three but releasing those guys this early makes me think that TT is going to pursue a free agent acquisition that would free him to go best player available when the draft comes around. The Packers first priority will be signing existing players that the Packers want to keep, but if the cap allows, the Packers could find another gem like Julius Peppers.

Whatever the solution is, we need it. A stout middle makes this year’s Packers team another juggernaught. There are a lot of personnel questions that still have to be answered this year, but before we know it, the Pack will be back!


Will A 4 Down ILB Emerge? — 4 Comments

  1. Both Adrian Hubbard and Joe Thomas were on IR last year. Thomas is a true ILB, and Hubbard would be transitioning from OLB. While neither saw any playing time, I can’t help but think McCarthy and Thompson saw something they liked with both to keep them on the roster. Our ILB may not be nearly as big a problem as it appears to be.

    I agree that no one FA really stands out to me as an improvement. In the draft, only McKinney looks like he has the size and attributes to be able to play in the NFL, but his speed is a concern. And I think Borland proved last year that size is over rated. Go Pack go!

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