Predicting the Packers Draft: Inside Linebacker

Inside linebacker hasn’t been a huge priority for the Packers in the draft for about a decade, and that shows in the kind of player the Packers have put on the field.

Green Bay’s 3-4 scheme doesn’t ask for a lot from its inside linebackers, but the Packers do look for a pretty specific skill set and body type when it comes to their inside linebackers, and it plays a big part in who they pick at the position.

What do the Packers look for in the draft at inside linebacker?

Surprising no one who has seen the Packers’ inside linebackers play over the last few seasons, this position is basically in line with the league average.

The similarity between what the Packers have drafted and an average linebacker league-wide should show you exactly how little priority Green Bay gives to this position.

What’s the best round to select an inside linebacker?

Inside linebackers are the defensive counterpart of the running back on offense: you can find a pretty good one anywhere in the first five rounds or so, and if you choose not to draft one at all, you’re still basically getting a mid-round value.

2016 Pro Football Focus grades by round selected - ILB

What rounds have the Packers drafted inside linebackers?

Highest pick: A.J. Hawk, 2006
The highest pick of the Ted Thompson era, Hawk was the fifth overall selection in the 2006 draft.

Biggest disappointment: A.J. Hawk, 2006
Hawk was a fine player, but he was doomed by the expectations that come with being such a high draft pick. He never lived up to his pre-draft hype.

Best value: Desmond Bishop, 2007
It took him three years to crack the starting lineup, but when he did it paid off big for Green Bay. Bishop was a key player during the Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl run, more than paying off the price of the sixth round pick used to bring him to Green Bay.

Who might the Packers draft at inside linebacker?

The Packers probably like their current inside linebackers a lot more than their fans, given how few resources they’ve devoted at the position. Still, there are intriguing options if they’d choose to go this route in the draft, particularly towards the middle rounds.

Of those middle round picks, Kendell Beckwith of LSU is more or less a prototypical Packers inside linebacker and is expected to be available somewhere between the third and fifth round.

High end inside linebackers

  • Raekwon McMillan - Ohio State

Mid round inside linebackers

  • Anthony Walker Jr. - Northwestern
  • Ben Gedeon - Michigan
  • Kendall Beckwith - LSU

Late-round or undrafted inside linebackers

  • Brooks Ellis - Arkansas
  • Harvey Langi - BYU