Packer Position of Interest: Outside Linebacker

Colby Lanham@Colby1226Correspondent IMay 2, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 03:  Linebacker Brad Jones #59 of the Green Bay Packers on the field against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NFL Draft ended with Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson making surprising moves.

One surprising move Thompson made was by not making a move at all in acquiring an outside linebacker to generate pass-rush opposite Clay Matthews. He instead opted for offensive linemen, but did not see to acquire a linebacker to at least push Brad Jones and Brady Poppinga in training camp.

Outside linebacker looks to be a big question this year in comparison to the cornerback position (See "The Green Bay Packers Didn't Draft a Corner: Why Pack Can Wait").

Several questions shall present themselves during the course of training camp and the preseason, with the first being whether Jones will progress through a full 16-game season as a starter at outside linebacker?

He showed promise and potential early, actually faring much better than Aaron Kampman. Jones adjusted better to the new 3-4 defense, but he is quickly criticized for disappearing in big games against elite quarterbacks, and not having enough skill to become a legitimate threat rushing the QB.

Thompson has obviously shown his confidence in Jones and depth in the outside linebacker corps by not drafting or adding a veteran in free agency.

The Packers have signed several undrafted free agents to their roster, but whether they make the roster is always a long shot. They also have intriguing prospects in Cyril Obiozor, who managed to make the practice squad, and was later promoted to the active roster later in the season after Kampman's injury.

Outside linebacker is to be watched closely on the defensive side of the ball opposite Matthews. Look for different attempts at pass rushing by way of Nick Barnett moving at times, and even Brandon Chillar, and possibly Desmond Bishop, to get looks.

Of course, the free agent rookies will also be tested to see if they can crack the roster.

We shall see if Thompson's instinct to not draft/sign an outside linebacker will pay dividends this training camp season.


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