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Ty Summers a Versatile Addition to the Defense

The Packers have a pretty remarkable history of drafting difference-makers in the late rounds of the draft. Day three is where Green Bay not only adds depth to the roster, but has been able to find some long-term starting talent, too. 

The team’s seventh round pick this year, inside linebacker Ty Summers, could be another name on a late day three list that includes names like Donald Driver, Scott Wells, James Starks, and Mason Crosby, just to name a few. 

Summers played all four years of his collegiate career at Texas Christian University, where he had a whopping 167 solo tackles, 317 total tackles, with 22.5 for a loss and 10.5 sacks. He also had two interceptions and nine passes defensed with one forced fumble. 

It should surprise no one that Summers posted an elite relative athletic score (RAS) of 9.88 before the draft. If there’s one thing Brian Gutekunst has developed a reputation for, it’s targeting freak athletes. What better round to take a chance on an athletic prospect than in the seventh? It’s low risk, high reward. 

Normally, 6-1, 241lb linebackers don’t run a 4.52 40-yard dash. But Summers isn’t a normal inside linebacker. He brings the perfect blend of speed and athleticism to pair alongside defensive mainstay Blake Martinez. When the Packers need to bring speed to the middle of their defense, Summers pairs well opposite second-year ILB Oren Burks. 

What makes Summers’ story unique is his high school career as a dual-threat quarterback. He had 36 rushing touchdowns his senior year before transitioning to the defensive side of the ball in college. TCU already had their quarterbacks on the roster, but they gave Summers a chance to play linebacker. 

That transition worked out well for him, and in 2016, Summers ranked first in the Big 12 in assisted tackles with 62.

Inside linebackers are often considered the quarterbacks of the defense, something that gives Summers an advantage in both picking up the defensive playbook, and understanding what opposing offenses are going to do. His high football IQ will translate well going from a solid college defense to a Mike Pettine scheme. 

Pettine will have plenty of options for utilizing Summers in his defense, with an inside linebacker that can go sideline-to-sideline against the run, get after the quarterback in certain blitz packages, and drop into coverage against the pass. He’s about as versatile as they come. 

Summers’ experience in a Big 12 defense will pay dividends as he gets acclimated to the speed of the NFL. To start, it’s likely he’ll find a spot on the 53-man roster as mainly a special teams ace. 

Behind Martinez and Burks, the inside linebackers competition is pretty wide open. James Crawford is the only other name returning to the lineup for his second season in Green Bay, and Crawford is another player looking to carve out a role beyond his special teams contributions. 

While it’s important to temper expectations of a seventh-round draft pick their rookie season, Summers boosts an impressive high school and collegiate resume. If he can showcase his elite athleticism during training camp and the preseason, the Packers will have no choice but to keep him on the 53. Whether he starts on special teams or as a rotational player on defense, he’s a versatile new addition to a Pettine-led defense.

Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and a podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieLawler.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (39) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lphill's picture

I like this pick, he makes the 53 , special teams then starts next to Martinez over Burks.

Rak47's picture

Let's not get carried away with a 7th round pick whom 32 teams passed on multiple times despite his athletic ability and production that every team was aware of. Like all prospects he has untapped potential and judging from his draft status needs some work in developing that potential. I think he will make the team as a special teamer and continue to develop enough under Olivadotti to the point where he can contribute on defense as well. If he develops really fast then that may come into play in Gutes determination of whether to ink Martinez or not.

Nick Perry's picture

"I think he will make the team as a special teamer and continue to develop enough under Olivadotti to the point where he can contribute on defense as well."

I think you hit it on the head here...The Packers NOW actually have an ILB coach. One of the absolute best things to come from the McCarthy firing was the house cleaning of most of the Asst. Coaches who continued to be employed by McCarthy no matter how bad the position played year after year.

I understand a coach needs someone to actually work with, but Moss should have been gone years ago. I also believe under this new HC and GM position coaches won't be given a pass year after year for terrible play at the position they coach.

Turophile's picture

I'm guessing he is Jake Ryan 2. Sure he is faster, but I really doubt if he is as instinctive. The best thing Ty has going for him is the lack of depth at that position, which gives him an increased chance.

If he can become a reasonable 2 down ILB I'd be happy, I don't expect that, but it's up to him to prove me wrong.

GBPDAN1's picture

I like this pick too as it occurred in the 7th rd so we don't have much to lose if he doesn't pan out. I also like this pick because we don't have much depth at ILB.

However, he was drafted in the 7th rd and if the Packers didn't pick him, he could have went undrafted. You would think we were talking about a high draft pick based on this article as it only conveys the positives about this player , which is off season optimism. But the reality is no other NFL GM thought to much of him or they would have drafted him.

We may have found a sleeper and I most certainly hope that we have, but I'm going to be cautious about my optimism as there is a reason he went in the 7th, a round that has a 1or 2 point draft position value . This article didn't touch much on this fact as it didn't speak of any shortcomings regarding this player.

I really hope this kid proves that he can play on a NFL defense. I will be pulling for him ( and all of our rookies)

PS; This is what I'm seeing a lot of regarding Summers pre draft evaluations;

"BEST TRAIT - Defending Inside Run

WORST TRAIT - Coverage

RED FLAGS - 2017 - high ankle sprain, 2018 - high ankle sprain, 2014 - torn labrum, 2015 - torn labrum.

A four-year starter for Gary Patterson at TCU, Summers profiles as a MIKE linebacker at the next level where his sound processing skills against the run, tackling skills and physicality playing into the line of scrimmage are maximized. Despite strong athletic testing, Summers isn’t the most natural space player and he lacks comfort in coverage. With that said, he has been an effective blitzer and edge rusher which gives him some value on passing downs. Summers has some restrictions and his injury history is alarming, but he has "a chance" to make an impact in base defense and special teams at the next level.

Round Grade - Late Day Three "

Another Jake Ryan?? (Who's no longer on the team).

Dzehren's picture


KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Have watched his videos and looks good, however do not know much about him. Like all draft choices hope he succeeds. However, do not care whether it is Ty, Owen, Crawford, or Curtis Bolton becomes the man. Just want at least one of them to become the real deal.

dobber's picture

Cookie for you!

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Make it an oatmeal and raisin please! :)

nostradanus's picture

Captain America, the best nickname on the team has impressive physical and mental attributes and should excel on special teams year one!
Let’s hope they got the steal of the draft in the seventh!
Go Pack!

PatrickGB's picture

I just wonder why he dropped to the seventh if he looked so promising? My guess is that despite his RAS he is relatively raw as an ILB. Burks looked lost last year and is supposed to be focusing on the mental aspect of his game this year. And he was a higher pick. I expect that Summers will take a while. STs is his best chance this year.

dobber's picture

Most of what I read about him is that while he tests well, he struggles when he doesn't get to attack the ball. He's not a natural in coverage and, as one site says, his reactions in coverage are a tick or two slow. Does that mean he won't be a good player? Not necessarily, but he sounds like a run-down ILB and a blitzer on passing downs.

stockholder's picture

I read he had injuries. Slowed him down. Love this pick. Why is it that Burks got compared to Thomas. And Captain America is compared to Desmond Bishop. Keeping fingers crossed, he can be more Reliable.

Coldworld's picture

The coverage issue is a strong theme in coverage of Summers, along with his playing below his timed speed. He was a seventh rounder for that reason.

That said, as a former QB, he had a stiff learning curve and there is reason to believe that he may develop better recognition and coverage skills. If he can we got a steal, but I have doubts about it happening this year.

In the meantime, Crawford, a former safety, flashed coverage in OTAs. He may be a more natural initial back up for the Burks projected role with Summers in the Martinez role.

Handsback's picture

Patterson is one (if not the best) defensive coaches in college football. He is also the HC at TCU and the Big 12 doesn't have a lot of players on defense that are stars. Summers wasn't considered a star by anybody. He was an athlete that played ILB. Doesn't mean he can't continue to learn, and get better, just means he's a great athletic football player that has a chance to grow into a pro player. Just remember, it may take awhile.

Lare's picture

It's one thing to do well in college football, it's entirely different to do well in the NFL. I suspect a year in the training program and Pettine's system will do wonders for Ty Summers.

greengold's picture

Ty Summers was a complete steal by Gutekunst in the 7th Round.

Trust me, this guy will make game winning plays for us this season and beyond. What a gem. He had more tackles, more INTs, more PDs than either of Devin White or Devin Bush, and he's 2-3" taller than both, with incredible coverage abilities, and nearly the same speed. Only he and Rashan Gary had both RAS and SPARQ ratings in the ELITE level from our last draft. This guy knows how to play and he definitely loves the game.

Anybody enamored with Devin Bush's highlight reel? Well, check out Summers'. The guy is a wrecking crew, and hits with the exact same ferocity and speed.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

GG, I was in "wait and see" mode until you totally pumped me up. Now, because of you, I love this guy and am on the Summers bandwagon.

murf7777's picture

Watch the Iowa state game and not just highlights of his career and you will see multiple missed tackles, being washed out and blocked by TE. He actually looked better in coverage which isn’t suppose to be his strong suit. Anyways this film will bring you back down to earth and realize why he was a 7th round draft pick. With his athletic ability you never know but if he can make a splash on ST’s this year and make the roster it’s a win.

RWood832's picture


Hopefully this Ty will follow the coaches instructions, especially on a critical Special Teams play.

JakeDickerson's picture

Pump the brakes. He’s a 7th round pick. Yes he has a lot of athletic ability, but he’s known to be a liability in coverage. White and Bush play in the SEC and BIG10 respectively, those leagues don’t throw the ball like the BIG12, not even close.
I hope he becomes a star, but I see him as a special teams player this year. Don’t think he can crack a rotation with Martinez, Burks, and Crawford.

39 ford's picture

What if G.T. takes a flier as a running Quarterback?

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Remember Kendall Donnerson the 7th round draft choice also taken in the 7th round last year and how much he played? Remember how incredibly high his RAS score was? Without looking it up it was as high or higher than Ty's as I recall.

Be excited and hope for the best but keep your optimism in reasonable check.

Sean-Luc Shanahan's picture

Kendall donnerson also wasn’t nearly as productive as ty summers in college

Coldworld's picture

Summers was productive in certain situations. I agree Donnerson was even more of a project, but that doesn’t mean Summers isn’t a project as well.

dobber's picture

It spoke volumes about where he was in his development that they activated Donnerson from the PS for the last 4 games and he never played. Playing the long game with him.

Rak47's picture

Donnerson had the 11th highest RAS in 2018 with a score of 9.89, Gary had the 3rd highest RAS in 2019 with a score of 9.95, and Summers has the 38th highest RAS in 2019 at 9.71. All three scores are extremely high.

KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Thank you! Donnerson and Ty play the same position. Be fun watching them battle it out. Some say Ty has more production while Donnerson has an extra year of experience in the defense and special teams.

Sean-Luc Shanahan's picture

What I want to know is how he fell to the 7th round? He was really productive and is extremely athletic? Why wasn’t he drafted higher?

TXCHEESE's picture

Not expecting anything earth shattering from him this year. If he becomes a solid ST performer and can rotate in on D every now and then, he will have fulfilled anything anyone should expect from a 7th rounder. We have to remember what a jump in competition these guys are making. To paraphrase a Yogiism, this game is half physical and 90 percent mental.

Jack Vainisi's picture

ILB is the weakest position group going into camp. Martinez is OK (I think he's overrated by some) but ALL others are unproven in the NFL. They will be fortunate to find a competent companion for Martinez and even more fortunate to also find one, let alone two, competent backups. Yet there is enough physical potential in that group to meet their needs. Having better players around them should lessen the ILB's overall burden. So I'm cautiously optimistic.

fthisJack's picture

Martinez is way better than OK!

Guam's picture

As I was reading this article, the names Aundray Bruce and Vernon Gholston popped into my mind. Wonderful athletes, workout warriors who scored highly on all the measurables and were very highly drafted; but were busts as football players.

I have high hopes for Ty Summers but great athletes do not always make great football players. Lets see what TC brings.

Coldworld's picture

It’s the old adage that you can’t teach athleticism. Athletes have a chance to succeed. If they have both athleticism and a record of premier achievement they go in the first round. If an athlete is taken in the seventh, it means there is a gamble on the ability of a team to unlock the raw talent.

4thand1's picture

Would you like to tie we up with your ties, Ty ?

LambeauPlain's picture

Ty has only been playing ILB since college. That he made a fast transition is impressive and is likely due to his smarts and athletic ability.

He has a huge upside and he is still learning the position. That he is currently more adept at the run vs pass game is not surprising and makes sense. Pass pro is more complex and depends on read and react. His instincts need to improve and if they out.

Olivadotti has a fun project to work on. Thank goodness his coach is no longer Moss.

Southside's picture

Ty Summers was actually one of my favorite draft choices. There was also a need at inside linebacker for the Packers. The main thing with him is he has to stay healthy. Lots of potential. I hope he makes the team and sees some time on the field. That would be beneficial to the Packers.

Point Packer's picture

Lets be honest, this guy has an uphill battle to climb to even make the 53 let alone the PS. Not buying it till I see it.

blue eyes's picture

Wish in one hand and poo in the other. How many inside linebackers drafted in the 7th have ever became a solid-elite starters?
I hear crickets, lower your expectations a little people.

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