The Packers made headlines around the football world recently when they cut former pro-bowl linebacker Desmond Bishop who was picked up by the Vikings shortly thereafter. This move initially left me confused, but once I thought about it, I realized good ole’ CIA Ted is at it again. Thompson appears to have once again played the odds in his favor as the American Journal of Orthopedics past studies leave us to believe that Bishop will never be the player he once was ever again. Regardless, this leaves the Packers with a lot of unknowns in their linebacking unit.
Earlier this off season the Packers signed Brad Jones to three year contract worth 11.75 million dollars. He will start the season as one of the two inside linebackers. The other one right now is listed as A.J. Hawk. Both positions could potentially change as the season progresses. The Packers have a handful of young inside linebackers with talent looking for an opportunity. I like what I saw out of both Jamari Lattimore and Dezmon Moses last season. They figure to improve and that could spell trouble for both Jones and Hawk. The wildcard here is Terrell Manning, who is finally healthy. Manning was drafted as a high upside player who would move inside and could be a great player down the road. He battled injuries last season and looks to be healthy. I believe he eventually wins one of the starting inside linebacker positions. Nate Palmer, a 6th round draft choice in April, will provide depth. Sam Barrington a 7th round draft choice this year, will head for the practice squad.
Perhaps the single most important part in all of this is the health of Nick Perry, the Packers first round draft choice in 2012. If Perry is healthy, he has the talent and ability to be the secondary pass rusher the Packers so desperately need. If not, they have a big hole at one of the outside linebacker positions that could possibly be filled by any linebacker who will be in camp next month. However, I do believe they slide one of those other players to that outside slot such as Palmer or Moses.
There is one player I didn’t mention here. Clay Matthews. That is because the “Claymaker” is awesome and he deserves his own special post. End of story.