What Is the Packers’ Plan at Linebacker for 2024?

Packers fans hoping for sweeping changes at linebacker may be disappointed.

Off-ball linebacker was a problem spot for the Packers last season on defense, and one of the worst performing positions on the entire team. But what is Green Bay’s plan to fix it, and will any significant changes actually be made?

After a poor 2023, many have assumed De’Vondre Campbell will simply be cut loose, but that might be jumping the gun a little.

If Campbell is released before June 1, the salary cap savings will be just $2.6m, and while the team can save $10.5m with a post-June cut, any notable free agents they could sign to replace Campbell would be long gone by then.

While he certainly had a bad year, it is not the Packers’ style to give up on players quickly, especially when they have played at an All-Pro level in the not so distant past.

There seemed to be frustration from Campbell based on social media posts from last season due to the criticism he received while playing poorly through injury, whether that was with the fanbase or the coaching staff is still unknown.

If there has been a breakdown in the relationship between Campbell and the team, a split could be in the cards, but otherwise, would new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley not want to at least see Campbell in his system?

Quay Walker is another question. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that he improved in his second season, but if he did, it was hardly a significant jump.

He once again flashed potential due mostly to his athletic gifts; Walker looks great when he does not have to diagnose much and can just fire downhill to make a tackle, or when blitzing the quarterback.

But linebacker is a thinking man's position, and Walker still seems to have a ways to go to live up to his first round pedigree. Green Bay will hope he makes the leap in his third season under a new, hopefully better, DC.

For his part, Isaiah McDuffie has impressed during his limited playing time, but the Packers are not going to make any roster decisions based on him. If he develops into a starting caliber player, it is a bonus.

On paper, the linebacker position may need an overhaul, but with one former first round pick and one high-priced former All-Pro veteran on the roster, is it really coming?

There are options to augment the position in free agency, with the likes of Frankie Luvu, Lavonte David and Patrick Queen hitting the open market, and the potential need for a third starting linebacker in base, if Hafley shifts to a 4-3 defense, could dictate an addition.

But with other glaring needs on the roster (cough, safety, cough), and limited cap space to work with, would it be a more prudent use of resources to see if the change in DC can get more than Joe Barry did out of two clearly talented linebackers, and spend money elsewhere?

Some tweaks may be made, but do not be surprised if the linebacker room remains mostly the same in 2024.

 

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @MarkOldacres

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6 points
 

Comments (121)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:36 am

I won't be surprised.
But they should.
I'd draft at least 2.
Will they- No
But they should.

-4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:42 am

If Barry, the LB guru could not get Walker to ignite the middle, who the hell will? He's my trade candidate. All Spags talked about this week was the intelligence of his defensive squad. The same for Belichick, who passed over Walker and Jim Johnson in the classic Sporting News article regarding defensive scheming.

-3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:03 am

Mach Five:
#25 Q. Mitchell CB
#41 Powers-Johnson C/G
#58 T'vondre Sweat DT
#88 Payton Wilson LB
#89 Jonah Ellis Edge
#91 Dillon Johnson RB
#167 Jalon Carlies S
#195 Marist Liufau LB
#215 Spann-Ford TE
#242 Kimani Vidal RB
#250 Brennan Jackson Edge

Free agency for the Safety.

-4 points
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stockholder's picture

February 09, 2024 at 12:51 pm

I won't leave you thumbs -down
because this is an improvement.
My picks after the senior -bowl are;
@#25- Kamren Kinchens S #1 5-11, 205 Miami
@41 Jackson Powers-Johnson C. #1 6-3, 320 Oregon
@58 Edgerrin Cooper. LB Texas A&M
@88 Mike Sainristil CB MI
@ 91 Jarvis Brownlee CB Lou
@ 126 Dominick Puni OL Kansas.
@167 Luke McCaffrey Wr
@215 Dallas Gant. LB Toledo
@242 Jerry Jones. DB FSU
@256. Kimani Vidal. RB

-2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 03:19 pm

I like Kinchens and he may be there at #25. He is a playmaking Safety and it may be the Need pick. The Wolverine CB is a bit slight of frame. The kid from Wake Forest is a sound CB. Puni may be going higher. I believe Sweat will show up as a Pro, not a guy working the buffet line. You have to control the middle.

4 points
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stockholder's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:40 pm

The CBs are quick. Nickel. Backs all the way.
But if Alexander/Stokes stay healthy- Then depth
is all you need. Puni might go higher.
Buffalo and Indy list safety as Needs.
I'm still expecting a Buffalo trade up
and indy grabbing DeJean @15.

-1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 10, 2024 at 07:36 pm

Let them be stupid and waste their draft picks. Those picks are our future. We have no reason to waste our draft. We are close to being a good team. This draft will push us there.

I am an Iowa fan almost 50 years and I love Dejean. But is he head and shoulders better than T J Tampa, Ennis Rakestraw, D J James, Khyree Jackson, Cam Hart, Max Melton? My point is we need to let the draft come to us, not to turn it from 11 swings at the plate into 8.

If a top player at A POSITION OF NEED becomes available, players like DeJean, Powers Johnson, Wiggins or Mckinstry, Fuaga, to name some that are at the top of our board. Then you grab them and don't look back. Even picking @ #25 I expect that pick to play and contribute.

Otherwise, you work the phones and look for a partner to trade back with. 6 picks in the first 90 is better than 5. That would address every need we have in order: CB, Saftey, O-line, ILB, RB and Edge. With probably no worse than top 5 players at each pick.

By the way Buffalo is desperate, they are $50 million over the cap right now. We should sign A J Epenesa-Edge from them. He is a young Preston Smith for less money.

2 points
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HarryHodag's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:37 am

Salary cap. Patrick Queen likely isn't going anywhere but his asking price will be too high.

I've fallen out of love with free agency. When a team bombs on a rookie it's relatively inexpensive. When a team bombs on a free agent you have a much tougher scenario.

Just because a player excelled in one defensive system does not mean that player will excel in another. A couple of young players from the draft will be much better long term. A trade is a possibility. I would dangle Christian Watson in exchange for a young safety or linebacker.

-4 points
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stockholder's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:51 am

I wouldn't dangle anyone.
Expect a Trade up if the LBs stay the same.
You saw what he paid for Savage.

-3 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

February 09, 2024 at 07:41 am

I absolutely HATE it when they trade up. Despite a few successes, the costs have been too high virtually every time, when there is no guarantee that whoever they traded up for wouldn't have dropped to them anyway.
I was super angry when they traded up for Savage, who I was "meh" on, and then the guy I really wanted, Juan Thornhill, was available at their original spot. Thornhill only went on to the All-Rookie team and started for the Super Bowl Champion Chiefs that year.
>:-(

4 points
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GregC's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:07 am

Clay Matthews? Jordan Love?

5 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

February 09, 2024 at 05:30 pm

That’s the two successes, but both may have dropped.
Now list the failures.

1 points
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GregC's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:48 pm

Those are the two good ones that more than cancel out all of the bad ones.

-1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 10, 2024 at 07:39 pm

Wow, two? Thats it?

1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:09 pm

Actually the trade up for Love was not that bad compared to most trades. I don't remember Matthews.

Two types of teams trade up, Good Teams with not many needs, and Desperate Teams who need a QB badly. Which one do you think New Orleans was when they gave us their next year #1? The guy they picked didn't work out. We still have needs but we are not desperate.

I think we might be able to take advantage of some QB needy team this year that needs a QB and trades for our #25. Nix, Penix, and McCarthy could all be available @ #25. The Giants are too far back to get one of the top 3. We could take both of their 2nds. New England might pick The Ohio State WR @ #3. We could take their 2nd and 3rd rounders and maybe a 5th for them to move back up to #25.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:19 am

Thornhill was the guy. Burns and Sweat in rd one, so it goes...

2 points
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stockholder's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:40 am

True- Very True - Both were top
rated, for their position

1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:10 am

WOW! PackEyed, Thornhill was my favorite too in that draft. Savages 40 time got him picked in the first round. WE made a big mistake there. Someone always does.

I agree also on hating the trade up scenario as there is no guarantee that this is really "The Guy". Its a familiar scenario and one GB should take advantage of this year if none of the top CBs or OTs fall to us @ #25. We should move back to early 2nd round, (maybe with the Giants who need a QB and have 2 second round picks to trade) where we can still get a great CB like T J Tampa-Ia ST. Or my favorite Khyree Jackson-Oregon by way of Alabama. Both are big, fast, and physical, and we can get them in the second while filling another major need with a premium pick or 2.

I think we can fill all of our needs by gaining another 2nd or 3rd rounder by moving back. the LB hole could be filled in those rounds when Payton Wilson, Junior Colson, or Cedric Gray should come off the board.

Maybe the FA ILB move to make is to sign Josey Jewell-Broncos and cut or trade Campbell after June 1st saving the $10 million. Jewell was the 10th ranked ILB this last year and is slated to make $7 million a year on his next contract. He is smart, fast, can cover, and has had 100 tackles last 2 years.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:50 am

They have the ammo to move on DeJean, or Q. Mitchell. This DC is a secondary guy like Pete Carroll, he knows what he wants in the third tier. If an ILB cannot fill downhill and plug, move on and get better.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:52 am

Mitchell still has to test well.
Being from such a small school.
Some are against two OL taken early.
But. thats exactly what they should do.
(If There are No LB changes coming. )
The OL has the most injuries in the NFL now.
Protecting Love is priority #1.

5 points
6
1
jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:08 am

The MAC produces as many NFL players as the 'big schools." He will likely move to the middle along with DeJean.
I would move up for either guy. All they have is Jaire. K.C. is starting two All-Pro CBs on Sunday. Spags will show the Way...

-2 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:57 am

I wouldn't move up at all. The CB draft is pretty loaded. Mitchell, Wiggins, Arnold, Dejean, Rakestraw, Cool-Aid. They can take the highest on their board in round 1 then get a highly rated S in 2.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 10, 2024 at 12:17 am

I want the shut-down guy to pair with Jaire. They need a more physical presence in this secondary. The bigger CBs for the perimeter direct the WRs to the boundaries away from the open zones in the middle. Caelen Carson from Wake, Cam Hart, Khyree Jackson and others.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

February 10, 2024 at 07:09 am

I'll take the safeties before the CBs.
Alexander is not that big CB.
If he traded up for Watson..
He could trade up for both safeties.

-3 points
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3
golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 01:09 pm

Why do you want to move up and waste a premium pick that would have filled another hole?
I don't get the whole lets waste 2 picks to get another Darnell Savage or Stokes. Stupid and poor draft strategy.

You also could throw a blanket over the top 10 CBs and close your eyes to pick one and still get a good one. In the second round.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 03:25 pm

If they feel these guys are the real deal, Gutedkunst has shown the propensity to go get 'em. There will be a bigger rush for DBs in this draft than O line.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

February 10, 2024 at 07:13 am

@25 -Kamren Kinchens S Miami
@41? - Tyler Nubin S Minn. We traded 2 2nds for Watson

-3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 10, 2024 at 01:20 pm

Nubin will not fall that far down the list. Another target is Cole Bishop. The Utah defense is well-coached.

-1 points
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1
fthisJack's picture

February 11, 2024 at 06:10 am

i believe both of these safeties will be available with their first pick in the second round....do NOT trade up for a safety!

1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

February 10, 2024 at 09:38 pm

Yet another reason to prioritize O line this year even if it means not getting the DBs and LBs of your dreams until '25.

Keep the QB clean.

0 points
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stockholder's picture

February 10, 2024 at 07:35 am

Golfpacker1 - The problem with the Top CBs is this.
You'll have to trade up for them.
And the Best available are from Missouri @25 -50.
Missouri played a Cover 3, quarters and underneath zones
They were not asked to play press or single coverage often.

-1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

February 10, 2024 at 01:22 pm

Time to watch the Film. Missouri an attacking defense, but I want press/man coverage. Forget Barry-ball.

0 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 10, 2024 at 07:52 pm

T J Tampa-Iowa State is a stud, so is Khyree Jackson-Oregon. Both are over 6'2 200 lbs and run 4.4s. Those are guys that will be available in the second round.

Brian Branch, the top-rated Safety in the 2023 draft went off the board @ #45. There is a strong chance Kinchens and Nubin will still be there @ #41. Current team draft needs only have 3 teams with Safety as their top need.

If somebody we absolutely love isn't there @ #25 we should try to find a trade partner that wants to waste their picks to move up.

2 points
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stockholder's picture

February 11, 2024 at 07:25 am

The packers have always taken guys that can
SWIVAL their hips. Lately it's about the 40 Time.
If it's about versatility. Lassiter from Georgia
would be my choice. Both he and DeJean could
play anywhere.

As far as S being there. -
It has always been about the Demand.
If both safeties are lower.
I prefer they take them both.

Which brings me to a Trade up.
Which IMO Gutey will Do.
And forget about stacking a position
with the BPA.

-1 points
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2
Leatherhead's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:39 am

I think it's easy to make big mistakes in FA and so you have to be careful.

Gutekunst's M.O. has been to fill immediate needs with free agents and use the draft to improve the future of the team. When he started running the show , he went out and got Amos, and drafted Savage, and he brought in Smith and Smith and drafted Gary.

Regardless of what happens with Campbell, he's on the books for $9M in signing bonus and another $2M in deferrals. The actual cost of having Campbell on the team next year is about $11M in addition to that.

Can we replace Campbell for $11M? Not with Queen, that's for sure.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

5 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:25 am

They can replace Campbell with a rookie. It's a different system and Campbell hasn't exactly been lights out in other systems before he got to Green Bay. Just like Savage take their, save what you can and move on. To continue to over pay players because he's still counting towards the cap is craziness.

1 points
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Tater's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:28 am

But is Campbell worth 11M?

1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 01:13 pm

Oh, oh, I know the answer to this one. Campbell is worth whatever he gets paid. Just like you and me.

-2 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 11, 2024 at 06:16 am

The answer to that is NO he is not worth it. He would be taking up a valuable roster spot and maybe only playing if there are injuries. Draft his replacement.

0 points
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0
T7Steve's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:40 am

Need those guys and a couple more. Can't play hurt and still try to protect the middle of the field. Maybe they can get some overlap with some of the outside LBs, but I don't know which ones or if there's even one on the roster.

All I know for sure is, that I hope with the new DC, guys like P. Smith aren't covering guys like Jefferson anymore.

10 points
10
0
porupack's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:48 am

Yup, there isn't enough to warrant giving up on Walker and Campbell. Both showed they have enough talent. If you are correct, that diagnostics is their weakness, then coaches make their money by working with each player's strength, and shoring up weaknesses. That either coach that skill up, or they bring in a 3rd LB that serves the role of field general. The team (and fans) already conceded that Barry was the prime culprit of poor defensive performance, so once that decision to bring in a coaching coach, let him work with your existing talent and give it a shot. As Gute seems to do, he doubles down on a position: draft at least one LB in the top 3 rounds, and bring in a modest price FA if they are very good at diagnosis; bring back Blake Martinez for example to organize Campbell and Walker.

0 points
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2
T7Steve's picture

February 09, 2024 at 07:22 am

Blake retired last season. He was great at tackling, not so great at coverage.

6 points
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Gmann22's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:05 am

I appreciate what Campbell did for this team. With his play in 2021 he helped the organization see the importance of the ILB position when there had not put as much stock in during past years. (See the drafting Quay the following draft). With that being said, the last 2 seasons he's not played well, been hurt and clearly looks slow and stiff. Can't see keeping him with that salary.

2 points
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Turophile's picture

February 10, 2024 at 11:42 am

De'Vondre Campbell hasn't played well for a couple of years. He looks like he is toasted.

Higher level options in the draft include Edgerrin Cooper (many sites have him as the top option now) with a round 2 pick, probably the first second rounder at #41, I've heard hints about character concerns but have no idea what that is.

There is Trotter (late 2nd, maybe even early 3rd), Colson and Wilson (3rd) and Gray, Eichenberg and Liufau in the 4th. At one time Eichenberg was seen as a late 2nd rounder on several sites, but has slipped over time.

I suspect the Packers get one of these options (Trotter, if there at 58, might be the best value option - he is somewhat undersized, but very talented). Wilson is talented and looks good but has an injury history to evaluate.

There are many other positions besides linebacker, up for consideration for the 5 day 1 and 2 picks, like IOL, S, CB, RB and even Edge (some may want to add OT to that). I cannot see the first round pick being a LB, but after that it could be literally any of the 4 day 2 picks, or one in round 4. The Packers have targeted round 4 for linebackers before, like Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez.

1 points
1
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golfpacker1's picture

February 11, 2024 at 04:35 pm

With the first 3 picks I would love to see a top 7 CB like T J Tampa, a top 3 interior Olineman like Cooper Beebe, And a top 2 Safety, choose between Kinchens and Nubin.
4th and 5th picks are RB and ILB. That would be a great start for GB.

1 points
1
0
GregC's picture

February 09, 2024 at 07:33 am

I suppose the linebackers were one of the worst performing positions on the team, but kind of like the safeties, they weren't horrible. Let's remember that this defense played pretty darn well in the last four games, including in the playoffs against two high-powered offenses. I actually thought Campbell played well at the end of the season, though he may not be worth bringing back because of age and injury risk. Walker might do better in a new scheme, and McDuffie could be a pretty good starter. So if the base defense is 4-3, they probably need at least one more quality linebacker just to fill the other starting position, and at least one more solid backup or developmental player. None of the OLBs project as 4-3 linebackers, so there's no help there.

It's hard to tell what this is going to look like with the new DC. There will probably be at least one new linebacker (by free agency or the draft) and maybe two. But I agree with the author that we won't see an overhaul of the position.

3 points
3
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

February 10, 2024 at 09:45 pm

Onemegwu might surprise everybody.

0 points
0
0
Guam's picture

February 09, 2024 at 07:33 am

I wouldn't be surprised to see the Packers invest a day two pick and a day three pick on linebackers. Campbell is getting older and the player group is a bit thin, so reinforcements should be coming soon. That said, I expect the first game starters to be Walker and Campbell.

Despite Barry's shortcomings as a DC, he is supposedly a pretty good linebacker's coach. Which makes Walker's limited diagnostic skills a bit concerning. He should have progressed more rapidly with good coaching. We will see what season three brings.

5 points
6
1
Razer's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:07 am

I agree with the Joe Barry perspective. Tough to make an aggressive downhill defense when you are weak at LB and Safety and thin at CB. By the end of the season Barry was getting the most "chicken salad" out of some of these guys.

New DC and positional coaches will need some better football players if we hope to see a top 10 defense

1 points
1
0
NickPerry's picture

February 09, 2024 at 07:48 am

Hopefully the light comes on for Walker in 2024. I'm STOKED about this new Defensive Coaching staff the Packers are putting together and I think some of the changes to coaches who stayed and then some of the new hires, will make BIG differences in not just Walkers progress but Wyatt and others too.

They have 5 picks in the 1st 100. I think you have to address the LB position, CB, and Safety for sure, depending what they do in FA. Hopefully they can add a Safety in FA and then use one of their first three picks to draft one too.

I can't wait until the combine, draft, free agency, AND September of 2024.

GPG!

4 points
5
1
PackEyedOptimist's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:00 am

A guy I'm interested in is Malik Mustapha S at Wake Forest. 5-9 210 4.35
He's an elite athlete, but he's gotten beat deep sometimes.
He's predicted to go in round 5-6.
I'm certain he could develop into a special teams star, but he plays very aggressively, and I think could have some poor-man's Roquan Smith type ability if put at LB if he added some weight.

1 points
2
1
jannes bjornson's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:12 am

The entire Wake Forest secondary was impressive.

2 points
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0
dobber's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:29 am

Everybody gets beat deep. The game is schemed around chunk plays and taking advantage of rules that favor throwing the football and getting WR clean releases.

0 points
0
0
golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 01:14 pm

Kitan Oladapo-Oregon State is a good one too. He is bigger @ 6'2 219lbs and 4.5. Probably a late 4th or 5th rounder. Mustapha probably a 6th. We could use either.

4 points
4
0
PackEyedOptimist's picture

February 09, 2024 at 07:53 am

Campbell remains a savvy vet; he looked physically slow after his injuries, but I think Walker played better when Campbell was paired with him. IF he is mended AND not a distraction in the locker room AND he doesn't demand too much $, then I think they should re-sign Campbell.

It will be Walker's third year; that's usually a big one for LB improvement (or NOT).

I've picked ILB Payton Wilson at 88 in most of my mock drafts, but he could easily go before that. I've also taken S/LB James Williams at that slot when Wilson is gone, because those are the two dynamic athletes that I think fit best in this new defense. Williams played safety at Miami, and at 6'5" 215 ran a 4.45 40, but he has been putting on weight to switch to LB in the pros. I think he has some poor-man's Brian Urlacher to him; Urlacher played rover safety/LB in college as well.

3 points
3
0
Guam's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:55 am

Campbell still has three years remaining on his contract - he is not a free agent that needs to be signed. They can cut him and recoup about $2.6 million in cap, but otherwise he is signed for 2024 plus two more years. His cap hit this year is about $14.2 million with scheduled cap hits of $12.5 million in 2025 and 2026.

4 points
4
0
golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:14 pm

Williams was up to 230lbs @ the Senior Bowl. He could be around in the 4th or 5th.

2 points
2
0
SicSemperTyrannis's picture

February 10, 2024 at 09:50 pm

Could Payton Wilson be the hybrid LB / DB GB has been wanting, and does the new defensive coaching staff like that type of player?

0 points
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0
LambeauPlain's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:01 am

Grading the ILBs based on playing in Joe Barry's off ball prevent (the win D where they are in zone most of the time covering 4.4 WRs) is like grading the 101st Airborne on its performance based on the first week of the Battle of the Bulge.

Hafley's 4-3 will finally deploy Walker's tremendous athleticism the way he was used at Georgia. He was deployed all over the front and was a frequent blitzer.

Interestingly, when Barry made a rare blitz call for Walker...he was effective. He has great speed and strength.

I also see McDuffie getting more playing time with Hafley, who was coached by him at BC and played well.

Packers will need a few more actual backers like Walker and McDuffie...guys who can attack the ball vs waiting for it to come to them.

Campbell might play better next season with health and the new system too...but he is at the age where LBs decline quickly.

I see two LBs selected in the draft. Going to need more numbers because the OLB/edge guys will be in the DL room as DEs.

7 points
7
0
Leatherhead's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:56 am

Weren't the ILBs part of the league's #10 defense.?

In a 4-3, one way to go is having a speedy guy in the middle and tackles that can keep the blockers off him. That'd be Walker. Or, you could put Walker on the weak side.

It's going to cost us $11M to play Campbell this year.

Are you thinking that Gary and Van Ness and PSmith are DEs now, or OLBs?

If I'm trying to get my best defenders on the field , it'd be Clark and Slaton and Wyatt rotating at DT, Wooden and Brooks at one DE, VanNess and Smith at the other, Gary at strongside, Walker at weakside. At least until people got hurt and you had to move people around.

I don't think LBs are going to be a focus on this draft, but we might find an attractive alternative to Campbell for $11M in Free Agency.

-2 points
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3
LLCHESTY's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:28 am

Gary as a off ball LB?? 🙄

1 points
2
1
Coldworld's picture

February 09, 2024 at 05:07 pm

Does that mean no more Preston in coverage?

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 09, 2024 at 08:23 am

The team knows how significant Campbell’s health issues were and will have an idea of if they were misfortune or likely to recur. That assessment will drive whether he’s a part of the plan or a source of cap. In turn that will drive draft priorities at the position.

We should in any case be looking to add potential behind, especially if the scheme does in fact require more off the ball types. How early we do that will depend on who falls but also on how the team view Campbell going forward and what Hafley will be looking for from that group.

4 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:36 am

I think it pays to remember Campbell played in a few different systems before coming to Green Bay and was a journeyman. They're going to be playing with three guys around 25-30% of the time for most games, I think that 3rd guy can be a rookie or McDuffie.

0 points
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BA4Pack's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:32 am

This is not a strong ILB draft class. I wouldn’t expect big changes. Reinforcing the safety position will help the overall play of the middle of the field.

0 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:21 am

But its got some decent players that should come off the board in the 3rd round. Payton Wilson, Junior Colson, and Cedric Gray (who was a star at the Senior Bowl) would all be upgrades for GB.
Later in the draft, the Notre Dame LB, Bertrand is also good.

Get one of these 3 and sign FA Jeremy Chinn-Panthers for our Safety need, and we would have a much stronger rear seven defenders.

4 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:29 am

I think it is a strong class for off ball LBs. Lot of good cover guys in the top 100.

2 points
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PackEyedOptimist's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:36 am

I want to add this: Never count out the bottom-of-the-roster guys who you don't know much about. Think about how Rasheed Walker "came out of nowhere" this year.

On our roster in addition to Walker, Campbell, MacDuffie at ILB:

Eric Wilson: age 29, 6'1" 230# 4.55 40, Lots of NFL experience (Vikings, Eagles, Texans)

Kristian Welch: age 25, 6'3" 240# best 3-cone of LBs in his draft class, played for Ferentz at Iowa, and is a local boy from Iola in Central Wisconsin.

Aaron Mosby: age 24, 6'3" 250# 4.7 40, Lots of TFLs and forced fumbles at Fresno State

Christian Young: age 23, 6'1" 221#, 4.6 40, played safety at U of Arizona, great athlete

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:47 am

Despite the NFL having a preponderance of guys from the big conferences, there are countless examples of guys like those you listed who are making it happen on teams across the league. Also, reading people saying the draft is poor for inside linebackers drives me insane, jesus man, it only takes one. That's why we have a scouting dept, and it's why tv draft analysts don't have NFL jobs.

3 points
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GregC's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:51 am

It only takes one, but it's a lot harder to get that one when there aren't many to pick from. That's when teams reach to get their guy, or they just have to go without.

1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:26 am

Welch was not as good as Josey Jewell was @ Iowa, but he is a good athlete if given the chance to play. And he is fast with good coverage skills. Iowa players typically are sound fundamentally and not head cases.

By the way Josey Jewell is a FA too. He was the 10th best ILB last year and projected to get a contract for $7 million per year. Sign him and dump Campbell after June 1 where the savings would be $10 million.

5 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

February 10, 2024 at 09:55 pm

Add Onemegwu to that

0 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 11, 2024 at 07:09 am

Eric Wilson caught my eye when he was on the field. Core special teams guy that recovered that fumble against SF. Seemed like he was always around the ball when at LB. Love the guys hustle and focus.

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WD's picture

February 09, 2024 at 09:56 am

The Packers were able to sign free agent Campbell because no other teams seemed that interested. His first few years in the NFL he was certainly not pro bowl caliber. With GB he had an extraordinary first year. The Packers assumed he would continue to play at that level. They were wrong. He has returned to normal. Why would anyone have assumed that he would return to the high level he played in his first year here? let's face it, last year he was a major disappointment and part of the reason teams were able to run the ball over the defense. You can't blame the secondary for that. It is a reality that the great defenses have great linebackers. Look at the Bears when they lost Roquan Smith. Their defense collapsed. And, whose defense improved? It was the Ravens with Queen and Smith as the LB duo. Together the Ravens have the top defense in the league,. It is not just coincidental that the Ravens have the best duo of linebackers in the middle. This is why I think the Packers should make a strong push to sign Queen in the free agency period. Then use the draft accordingly.

1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:30 am

Queen=too much money=headcase. No Thanks. 2025 is going to be our big year potentially and the start of our run. No big ticket purchases in 2024. Maybe a couple smaller ones instead.

2 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:18 am

Sometimes you have to swing for the fence. If the money is there to sign Winfield Jr. do it. He would make the secondary 100% better. Use the draft to fill in.

2 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 01:21 pm

x

-1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 01:30 pm

you can have your own narrative but not your own facts. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De'Vondre_Campbell

Campbell has had a really good pro career. That he was available at a reasonable price doesn't reflect that he's somehow average or below. When healthy he's a damn fine linebacker. He started in a Super bowl as a rookie. He kicked ass his first year in Green Bay, a revelation. Let's not get too far over our skis.

That said, he's going to be 31, which is old for a linebacker (old for a football player, actually). He's likely gone, but he was a plenty fine player.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:13 am

Here is what I'm not understanding.

Our DC was so bad he had to be fired. Savage sucked. Campbell had a bad year. Stokes missed most of the season, Alexander missed about half of it.

How did this defense end up #10 in scoring defense? How did it go into Dallas and crush a top offense in the playoffs.?

-1 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:28 am

You imagined that happening. The Packers defense gave up 40 points every week for the last 30 years, and have never had a successful season. Every defensive coordinator played soft zone in every critical situation and every opponent rammed it down the Packers throats. Sorry man, you and your numbers and facts and all that can just take a seat. I have my narrative and I'm sticking to it.

-2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:41 am

That was a pretty good mini-rant.

It just doesn't add up. IMO, we should challenge some of our assumptions.

1 points
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jont's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:35 am

😀

-1 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:20 am

We own the Cowgirls!

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:43 am

They were bad, kind of like the idea of taking one stat and building a mountain on it. They were 20th points per drive and 27th in DVOA. Carolina is going to go 300 days where the only team they scored points on was the Packers and they scored 30.

If you really want to know why they were 10th in points look at the QBs they played. Context matters.

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 01:24 pm

Is there a more relative stat than points allowed? That's how they determine winning right, by points. You score more points than you allow and you win. That's my basic understanding of football.

-3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 09, 2024 at 02:45 pm

Not in his world. He firmly believes DVOA is more important than points. It is better, apparently, to be #10 in DVOA and #20 in Scoring Defense rather than #10 in Scoring and #20 in DVOA.

About 20 years ago, I fell in love with DVOA for a while, but after further review, I decided points matter the most. How do you keep a 30 ppg offense from scoring 30 points on you? How are you going to win with an offense that's only going to get you 20 points?

I actually may laugh my ass off if we're worse in scoring defense but better in DVOA next year. I think these expectations that everything is going to work and nobody's going to get hurt and we're going to be a lot better on defense are not founded on very much, IMO.

And of course, I'm still not understanding how if the players were no good, and the coaches were no good, we were still good at keeping guys like the Chiefs, Cowboys, 49ers, and Lions (one out of two) off the scoreboard.??? That's a puzzler. I'm still thinking about that.

-2 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

February 10, 2024 at 10:02 pm

Plenty of good players. Plenty of times JB misused them.

0 points
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LLCHESTY's picture

February 09, 2024 at 03:30 pm

It's really quite basic. They played two QBs that most likely won't be on teams next year while also playing Fields twice, Mullins, Ridder and Young. 7 games against shitty QBs will obviously lower how many points you give up.

They were also 20th in points per drive, which could be due to them being so bad against the run teams had less drives per game against them.

But you and Leatherhead go ahead and form a Barry is a hero fanclub.

6 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 04:36 pm

Actually we both saw deficiencies in Barry, probably me more than Leatherhead, but we at least acknowledge that the offense was the reason we wound up not winning the 11 and 12 games that we respectively predicted.

Score more points than the opposition, regardless of who their damn quarterback is, and you win. Also, per drive. You realize that you alternate possessions in the NFL, right? They get the ball, then you get the ball, or vice versa. Time of possession doesn't matter if they score three at the end of their drives, and you score 7. Math, Look into it.

Scoring is the ONLY thing that matters. Score. Invest in offense. Logic, look into it

-6 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 10, 2024 at 08:01 am

What if the other team doesn't score? Or if they go 3 and out more often?

I am an Iowa fan so I am offense denied. But you need all 3 areas to be sound to be a really good team.

And Barry had to go.

3 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 09, 2024 at 04:45 pm

I wonder if anyone keeps track of how many points were given up on the last drives of the 2nd and 4th qtrs. How many games did Barry's defense play pretty decent only to revert to Barry Ball during those drives, especially in games where GB held the lead late in the 4th quarter, only to relinquish that lead as the opposing team marched down the field at will to re-take the lead?

As much as some refuse to acknowledge it, it's not only how many points you give up in a game, it's when those points were given up. But some have blinders on when looking at stats. They see what they want to see in their simplistic, myopic way of defending their position.

6 points
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Coldworld's picture

February 09, 2024 at 05:17 pm

Barry Ds were also notably poor in terms of turnovers. I strongly agree with your point, but I also think one can’t look at a D without taking into account its ability to regain the ball. Barry’s teams were just not particularly good at scoring or getting the ball back for the O in favorable field positions. His best year was his first, while we still played more press.

5 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 09, 2024 at 05:37 pm

I'd love to know how many thought our "10th best scoring defense" was going to stop SF on their last possession.

Yeah, me neither. How about the Giants 8th string QB...tbh, don't even remember his name...marched down the field under similar circumstances? It's called situational football.

But the stats geeks can find solace that Barry's defense finished as the 10th best scoring defense.

Thankfully, we're moving on. Good luck to Mr. Barry in Miami.

4 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 05:54 pm

The problem in SF was the offense went to sleep in the second half. One more TD and we are beating Detroit in the championship game, and playing on Sunday.

Also, the turnovers were there in SF, the defense dropped them. One a sure pick-six.

-5 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

February 09, 2024 at 06:20 pm

No, the problem in SF is the offense handed the defense late in the game with a lead. They outplayed the #1 seed for 3+ quarters. The offense did their job up to that point. The game was on the line. The defense collapsed and let SF score without even making them break a sweat. But it's the fault of the offense for not scoring "one more TD".

You need to stop listening to and mimicking your mentor/hero and form your own opinions.

5 points
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Leatherhead's picture

February 09, 2024 at 05:57 pm

There was room for improvement. Yes. That's why we were #10, not #1.

You know, we held the 49ers below their season average. One more scoring drive and we could have won that game.

In any event, it's water under the bridge now. We'll see how the year goes. If we improve in several areas, but give up more points, is that a good trade for you?

-2 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 10, 2024 at 08:01 pm

Leather, it's great that we finished that high in that particular stat but take it with a grain of salt. We played a pretty weak schedule last year. If we do that in 2024 then that is a big deal to be proud of.

This conversation reminds me a lot of the Rodgers defenders last year. Bottom line is Barry wasn't good enough to be the Packers DC. Let's move on.

2 points
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Packerpasty's picture

February 09, 2024 at 12:11 pm

Right...when the DC has guys who are injured, who just arent playing good, thats the hand he's dealt so its all his fault?? Doesnt much matter, he's gone now, but these coaches cant do much with some of the players they have to put out there..Savate could have won a couple of games himself, Campbell at the end of the year looked like his feet were stuck in mud, JA missing half the season...

-1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 12, 2024 at 01:47 pm

The Cowboys got 32 on our D, and the 49ers got 24. We also gave up 30 to the terrible Panthers and 34 to Tampa Bay while making Baker and Bryce Young look like All Pros. Also 30 to the Lions. Top 10 scoring for us in 2023 was sketchy. Inconsistency was the reason for letting Barry go.

1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 10:43 am

The injury bug bit us bigtime on defense with the CBs and ILB/Campbell.

The Patriots made a living knowing when to keep players as well as not hanging on too long until they were worth nothing. Campbell, if in fact we can save $10 million by moving him after June 1st, he needs to go. Thats move #2 after ending Bahks's run in GB and saving $20 million. as well.

Yes, Barry did suck and needed to go. You upgrade players all the time, coaches should be no different if they are just so-so. It was time and I think he was holding the defense back. Giving up 30 to Carolina and making Baker Mayfield and Bryce Young look like Pro Bowlers was the last straw for him.

We have a new DC who is a DB savant, so maybe he can salvage and turnaround Savages career. And he probably won't be expensive. I still think we should sign a good FA Safety and Jeremy Chinn would be my choice to really make an impact on GBs defense.

2 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:01 am

Make small but significant FA signings @ ILB and S. Sign Josey Jewel-Broncos and Jeremy Chinn-Panthers and GB has significantly upgraded their defense for under $15 million.

Cut/Trade D Campbell after June 1st and save $10 million. Almost a wash.

Draft a LB and develop for future- Wilson, Colson, and Gray should be available 3rd round.

If CBs Wilson, Mitchell, or DeJean are available @ #25-run the pick up to the podium. If none are there, trade back to early 2nd round for more picks including another 2nd or high 3rd/plus another mid rounder. The second tier of CBs are close to the first tier anyway. And the best Safeties won't go in the first round either. The RBs we want will go in 3rd and 4th rounds.

Here is my dream start to the draft after a trade back:
first 2nd rounder-CB-Tampa-Ia State, Jackson-Oregon-Haddin-Tenn.
2nd pick OG-Cooper Beebe or ?
3rd pick Safety- Kinchens or Nubin
4th pick-RB- Braelon Allen, Bucky Irving, Marshawn Lloyd, Will Shipley
5th pick-LB-Wilson, Colson, Gray
WILDCARD if we get a tradeback and another 2nd or 3rd- best available Edge, OT, DT or a double @ S-RB-O-line

0 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:14 am

I think they should cut Campbell. He's 31 is signed for 3 more years. He hasn't played well the last 2 years being banged up and had some issues with the Packers last year. They save 10.5 mil on his remaining contract if they cut him. Get some new blood in the LB room with a new scheme. Bertrand from ND looked good in the senior bowl.

0 points
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Racingdad's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:44 am

Savings on Campbell gone this year is 2.6 unless designated june 1 cut than around 10 million but some carry over to twenty five . But keeping him means no cap savings also 25 million more in 25 and26 I say cut him sign cheaper fa and draft an ilb same at safety try to sign 1 outside fa than draft 1 or 2 more

1 points
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Packman60's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:44 am

I think Campbell is as good as gone. Production is falling and injuries have taken their toll. He's no longer worth the money he's scheduled to be paid. I would expect the Packers to either sign a free agent and draft another or pick one on day 2 and again on day 3. This is a position that needs re-inforcement and will require a rangy and instinctive player to man the MLB position.

1 points
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Ima Payne's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:54 am

I think Campbell is gone. He had his say and became a thorn in the side of the coaches. They will draft or free agent someone to replace him. I think we all agree an O linemen, running back possibly, safeties, maybe two and a line backer. Everything else is gravy so to speak. If they dump Stokes we need a corner.

-1 points
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Gman1976's picture

February 09, 2024 at 11:59 am

One option for Campbell is to restructure his contract. He probably would return at a reduced price.

1 points
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Packerpasty's picture

February 09, 2024 at 12:12 pm

hope he gets his speed back...painfully slow at the end of the year...

1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 10, 2024 at 08:12 am

Would you restructure if you were Campbell. He is also playing with house money at this point. Another terrible contract/boat anchor.

He will have a lot of "money for nothing, but no chicks for free."

Dump after June1st and sign Josey Jewell.

1 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 11, 2024 at 07:16 am

Taking up a valuable roster spot after his poor play the last 2 years? No thank you!

0 points
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Lphill's picture

February 09, 2024 at 02:56 pm

Savage according to NFL scouts excels playing up near the line as he did in college one scout said he was being used wrong in the defensive scheme of Barry .

0 points
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fthisJack's picture

February 11, 2024 at 07:18 am

Will that improve his tackling whiffs?

0 points
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4thand10's picture

February 09, 2024 at 04:13 pm

I’m not sure where a lot of Quay hate is coming from..he can cover and tackle and rush. I think the rest is on Barry. But Quay can do every bit of sideline to sideline, rush and cover. Since they’ll possibly be going 4-3…no doubt they’ll be drafting. They might need to figure out who plays WILL, MIKE and SAM lb. As far as Outside they’ve been trending bigger anyway…Gary, VanNess, Preston, Enegbare etc…all 260+ lbs so might as well say we have edge or what’s called DE in a 4-3. People seem to be confused here…It’s a 3-4 when you need a massive NT that eats 2 blockers not in a 4-3.

In terms of needs and in no particular order…

OG…right guard specifically
DL
RB
S
LB
and possibly CB
I’d say LB , Saftey and RB should be prioritized along with a OL.

In limited action in pre season I was impressed with Benny Sapp…seemed to pass the eye test on covering and tackling.

3 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

February 09, 2024 at 04:42 pm

Improved right guard immediately improves the play of Myers at center. Jenkins return to full health also improves/improved Myers play.

I'm not seeing DL as much as CB, need more and hopefully better defensive backs, my hunch is Nixon goes to safety (he's still under contract, right?)

-1 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

February 10, 2024 at 10:14 pm

#25 is no longer under contract.

0 points
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SicSemperTyrannis's picture

February 10, 2024 at 10:13 pm

#7 does not cover well. Everything else, yes.

0 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 11, 2024 at 04:58 pm

Don't forget Brenton Cox. He is a wild card for us. I am pretty sure he was a 5 star coming out of high school. Maybe getting paid to play has straitened his head out. I have heard nothing bad about him all year.

2 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 11, 2024 at 03:49 pm

If Enegbare isn't ready to start the year, then we at least should get a good chance to see what Cox can do. Don't forget he is a hell of an athlete and was productive in college when his head didn't get in the way. Maybe he has grown up now that he gets paid to play. If the light goes on for him he could be the steal of 2023 UFDAs. We probably add one later in draft. Austin Booker-Kansas is talented and probably a 5th rounder. Braiden McGregor-Michigan has untapped talent and will test good at the combine. They are both 6'6 260.

1 points
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4thand10's picture

February 12, 2024 at 01:35 pm

I liked what I had seen out of Cox during the pre-season…I have no clue what their plans are for him.

0 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 11, 2024 at 04:55 pm

How about we sign Bobby Wagner-Seahawks and draft one of Wilson, Colson, or Cedric Gray. Any of those 3 could start next year. Bring in Wagner to teach Walker and the new draftee how to play ILB. He "ONLY" had 183 tackles last year @ 34 years old!!! Wagner is not slowing down much. Shockingly he only made $4.5 million last year. He was the bargain of all bargains.
He is projected to make $5 million per year. Giving him a 2 year deal would be the deal of the century and think how much it could help Walker to learn from the best. And our run defense could not help but get better. We could draft another LB next year too. We won't have a ton of draft needs next year. D-line and Oline for sure. Maybe another CB.

1 points
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glblank24's picture

February 12, 2024 at 09:11 am

Campbell was playing hurt and his mobility was limited. Walker would not excel in a 4-3 as it would require more te chnical sakills that he has yet to exhibit. Van Ness is a possibility if Preston returns.

-1 points
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golfpacker1's picture

February 12, 2024 at 04:43 pm

Sign Bobby Wagner-Seahawks and watch our run defense get better fast. He played last year for $4.5 million and had 183 tackles. Thats right 1 8 3!!!!

0 points
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