Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy is one target for the Green Bay Packers at the NFL Scouting Combine.
With the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine starting over the weekend, the Green Bay Packers got a good look at a number of prospects they could be interested in when the draft rolls around. However, it's Monday and Tuesday at the combine that should be of most interest to the Packers.
That's because defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs all work out on those days and those are easily the biggest positions of need for Green Bay this offseason. Just because these positions haven't worked out yet doesn't mean that the Packers haven't been busy getting key information for them.
Today, we're going to take you through the latest rumors and news concerning the Packers coming from this year's combine.
Few general managers are as respected in the league as much as Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers. He also happens to be greatly loved by the fans of the Packers.
One of the main reasons for this is due to the fact that no one really ever knows what Thompson is thinking. He rarely shows his cards before he needs to and is one of the premier GMs at evaluating talent and making business decisions.
Thompson spoke at this year's combine, and the biggest takeaway was that nothing has really changed. One of Thompson's favorite answers during his press conference, according to Vic Ketchman of Packers.com, was, "I'm not going to tell you what our real answer is."
That lone answer basically sums up how Thompson handles his business. Sure, he'll give you an answer to the question you ask, but it's unlikely that it's how he or the team really feels or thinks.
While not everyone appreciates the way Thompson works, it's one of the many reasons he's so loved in Green Bay. In fact, the day Thompson stops being his sneaky self is probably the day he'll no longer be the GM for the Packers.
Most would agree that the Green Bay Packers handled their backup quarterback situation poorly last year. After releasing numerous candidates before the start of the regular season, the Packers were stuck with quarterbacks Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn when Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury.
This year, the Packers have no desire to run into that situation again. Green Bay has been watching the quarterbacks closely at the combine. In fact, head coach Mike McCarthy had this to say about potential NFL draft quarterbacks, according to Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel:
I think we definitely need four, so I'm hopeful that we can get a young guy in the draft. That's something we're looking at and maybe taking even a harder look this year — well, that's not true, we've always taken a hard look.
One player who has met with the Packers and could be an intriguing prospect is San Jose State's David Fales. He's an intriguing prospect because he has all the tools you want in a quarterback, but he needs to learn to display them on a more consistent basis.
He's also familiar with an uptempo offense, which is definitely a positive for the Packers. It's unlikely that Green Bay will draft a quarterback anytime before day three. If Fales is still on the board, don't be surprised if he becomes the Packers' "young guy".
Few colleges pump out NFL offensive linemen like the Wisconsin Badgers do. Despite being in the same state as the Green Bay Packers, rarely have the Packers drafted a former Wisconsin lineman.
That could all change this year. The Packers were reportedly eyeing Ryan Groy, a guard for the Badgers, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Groy is a late-round prospect who spent some time talking to the Packers offensive line coach at the combine.
While he played mostly guard at Wisconsin, Groy feels confident playing any position across the offensive line. He told Demovsky, "I feel very comfortable at guard [and] center, and I told them if need be I can play tackle. I’m not afraid to go out there. I’m not afraid to play it."
With center Evan Dietrich-Smith a free agent this offseason, the Packers could potentially be looking at Groy as his replacement. They could also be looking to add depth across the offensive line if they decide to re-sign Dietrich-Smith.
One of the biggest positions of need for the 2014 season for the Green Bay Packers is a pass-rusher opposite outside linebacker Clay Matthews. That player could ultimately be BYU's Kyle Van Noy, a likely early-round pick in this year's draft.
Van Noy has all the tools the Packers could want at outside linebacker and he's ready to make an impact from day one. He was asked at the combine whether the Packers have specifically shown interest in him and his answer was a simple, "Yes, they have," according to Vic Ketchman of Packers.com.
What ultimately makes Van Noy so attractive to the Packers is his versatility. Yes, he can get consistent pressure on the quarterback, but he's also got the ability to stop the run.
The only question surrounding Van Noy is whether he's worth a first-round pick, because he might not be available late in the second round. However, if the Packers fall in love with what he does at the combine, they may be willing to spend the 21st pick on him.
Another name the Green Bay Packers have been interested in at the NFL combine is Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith. Much like BYU's Kyle Van Noy, Smith brings an elite ability to rush the quarterback to the field.
Smith totaled 15 sacks last year as a defensive end, but he'll likely need to switch to a 3-4 outside linebacker in order to compete in the NFL. That's just fine for the Packers, who desperately need to add pass-rushing talent.
The Packers have shown interest in Smith, according to Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel. Smith was rather confident at the combine saying that he thinks he's one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers available in this year's draft.
The best part about Smith is that he'll likely be available in the middle rounds of this year's draft. As long as the Packers are convinced that he could truly make the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker, then they shouldn't think twice about drafting him in the third or fourth round.
One of the most popular names connected to the Green Bay Packers' first-round pick is defensive tackle Louis Nix III from Notre Dame. He's a special talent with his size and athleticism and he'd fill one of the biggest needs the Packers have heading into the 2014 season.
Nix was one of the more colorful personalities at this year's combine. He said that he had a formal interview set up with the Packers, according to Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
What makes Nix so attractive for the Packers is that he could likely play either defensive tackle or defensive end much like B.J. Raji did for Green Bay. Drafting him would allow the Packers to pass on re-signing Raji and use their cap space on bringing in some other big-name free agents.
The only question surrounding Nix is a knee injury that limited him this past season. When asked about how his knee was, Nix said, "It's fantastic."
Don't be surprised if Nix ultimately becomes the Packers' pick in the first round when May rolls around.