(Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
The main competition: Clay Matthews, Brady Poppinga, and Jeremy Thompson.
Aaron Kampman is expected to man the LOLB spot in the new 3-4 defense, allowing a wide open competition for playing time at ROLB.
Many expect Clay Matthews to immediately assume the opening in the linebacking core. Green Bay's front office obviously loves the skill set, work ethic, and attitude that he provides, judging by the infamous draft day trade that Ted Thompson executed.
It will be fascinating to see where Matthews comfort with the 3-4 lies when training camp roles around. Whether he starts or not, Matthews is expected to be a major influence on both defense and special teams.
Brady Poppinga hasn't done anything Earth shattering since becoming a member of the starting unit. I would go so far as to say that oftentimes he has been the weakest link on defense.
His coverage skills are subpar, and despite his reputation coming out of college, his pass rushing ability has not translated to the NFL.
But he is a strong run defender and, physically, he seems to be a good fit for the 3-4. How fast will he adapt to it, though, after years in the 4-3?
Jeremy Thompson is the wild card of the bunch. He is expected to be Aaron Kampman's backup at LOLB, but will be given every opportunity to enter the ROLB competition.
Coming out of college, Thompson flashed the type of skills that fit the 3-4 very well. So, he may have been miscast as a defensive end last season when he looked physically overmatched at times. With the opportunity to work in space a new player could emerge.