Packers Outside Linebackers: This is a group that had a lot of promise heading into 2o12 but after an injury to rookie Nick Perry and an underwhelming season from 2011 incumbent Erik Walden, there wasn’t nearly as much production as the defense needed nor wanted. The Green Bay Packers enter the 2013 offseason with some questions at this vital position.
(Note: Listen to the combined linebackers podcast at the end of this article:)
Where are we now:
Here are the current suspects:
Clay Matthews III (1st round)
Nick Perry (1st round)
Erik Walden (UDFA)
Dezman Moses (UDFA)
Frank Zombo (UDFA)
Jamari Lattimore (UDFA)
Matthews was, once again, the steady rock of this group. He had has second-best season, posting 13 sacks despite missing several games with a hamstring injury. Not much more can be said of Matthews other than he makes the entire Packers defense better and he has to be a top priority of the team to retain when his contract expires at the end of the 2013 season.
Perry had high expectations after being drafted in the first round. He showed some flash early in the season but was shelved after just six games due to an injured wrist ligament that required surgery. It’s hard to say what Perry’s impact would have been but the team will enter the 2013 season program with him slated to start at left outside linebacker.
Walden stepped in as the starter when Perry went down and played very marginally. He missed the first game due to a suspension for an off-field incident during the 2011 season. After that, he posted two interceptions and a handful of sacks, but he was largely ineffective in games thata mattered most. He was virtually non-existent during the playoffs and is now an unrestricted free agent. He is likely low on the Packers list of priorities to bring back, if even at all.
Moses is another undrafted free agent who made a splash during the 2012 OTA’s and training camp. He earned a roster spot and platooned with Walden and Zombo when Perry and Matthews were injured. He wasn’t very flashy and while he surely be in training camp this season, his roster spot is all but locked in.