Inside Linebackers: Here’s the eighth of a series of articles, looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (Read here for the rationale for this series, here for quarterbacks, here for running backs, here for wide receivers, here for tight ends, here for offensive tackles, here for offensive interior linemen, here for defensive ends and here for outside linebackers). This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what inside linebackers are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.
Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt. But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion. Also listed below are also two inside linebackers in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.
Statistics of inside linebackers linemen drafted by the Packers:
What the Packers are looking for: If its possible to have too much talent at a position in the NFL, the Packers epitomize it with their inside linebackers. Nick Barnett, Brandon Chillar, AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop are all starting caliber inside linebackers and their contracts live up to it. The Packers have invested over $110 million into the inside linebackers with about $30 million of that guaranteed. Needless to say, that’s quite an investment for one position.
The conundrum facing the Packers at the moment is that they like all four of their opening day inside linebackers, but they can’t afford to pay them all; of the four, AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop received big contracts after playing in the Super Bowl and are the designated starters; this leaves Brandon Chillar and Nick Barnett, who both ended up on IR, looking in from the outside. Will Barnett and/or Chillar still be with the team in 2011? Economically the answer is probably no.