Clay Matthews: Packers' OLB Depth Is 'Not That Great,' Talks Team's Draft Picks

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2018

Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) reacts during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. The Packers won 27-21 in overtime. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews doesn't get a say in personnel decisions, but if he did, he may have approached the 2018 NFL draft a bit differently than the team did.

Matthews recently voiced his concern, via ESPN's Rob Demovsky, about his team's lack of depth in the linebacking corps:

"Well, I wasn't surprised with the first two picks; I'll go ahead and say that. But obviously, you look at the depth at the outside linebacker position, and it's not that great. That's not a slight to the guys who are behind Nick [Perry] and myself, but you look around the league, a lot of times they're rotating in pass-rushers.

"You can look a couple years ago when we had Mike Neal and Julius [Peppers] here, Datone [Jones] as well. We had a pretty good rotation. Sometimes I'm sure it doesn't work out the way in which [the front office wants], and obviously they only get so many picks and only have so much cap money to spend."

Green Bay made defense a priority in the draft, but not at outside linebacker. The Packers used their first two picks on cornerbacks (Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson) and their third on inside linebacker Oren Burks. It wasn't until their final pick, No. 248 overall, that they addressed the outside, taking Kendall Donnerson out of Southeast Missouri State.

It probably made Matthews scratch his head when the team traded out of the No. 14 spot with one of the draft's top edge-rushers—University of Texas-San Antonio's Marcus Davenport—still on the board. The New Orleans Saints took Davenport 14th after making a deal with Green Bay.

Matthews and Nick Perry give the Packers playmakers to lean on outside, although each is coming off injuries. The 32-year-old Matthews underwent a "cleanup" knee procedure in January, and Perry, 28, required hand surgery last year. Behind those two veterans, there's some uncertainty.

While Matthews would've liked the team to add depth, he did find a silver lining.

"At the same time, it does show their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have," Matthews said. "At some time, I'm sure it will be addressed, but for the time being, the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain."

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