Green Bay Packer fans must have been wondering if general manager Ted Thompson was ever going to select an inside linebacker. Well they got their answer in round 4 of the 2015 NFL Draft when Thompson selected Michigan linebacker Jake Ryan.
And even though the pick may have come later than expected, it was the perfect time for the Packers to select Ryan, who is an ideal inside linebacker for Green Bay.
It was clear after the Packers picked defensive back in the first and second rounds, that the secondary is a higher priority and that’s because generally it’s harder to find good cover guys than linebackers. But Green Bay needed depth and another player to contribute right away at inside linebacker and Ryan is someone, who can do just that.
The Michigan standout notched over 100 tackles last season and posted 14.5 TFL. He also had two sacks and two forced fumbles. He also had 4.5 sacks as a sophomore and 3.5 sacks as a freshmen when he played outside as an edge rusher.
Ryan is solid in coverage especially in zone and is a talented blitzing up the middle. Playing inside, he’s a poor mans Clay Matthews. He can do well against the run and adds a pressure element in the middle that no other inside backer outside of Matthews has on the Green Bay roster.
The question will be can Ryan start next season? The answer is potentially yes but Carl Bradford will have something to say about it. I believe Green Bay wants Matthews outside more so ideally Bradford or Ryan would lock up the starting spot next to Sam Barrington. Or if they both play well, they could share time, with Matthews taking a few snaps inside per game as well.
That’s the ideal scenario for the Packers but even if Ryan doesn’t start right away, my prediction is that he will see snaps on defense next year and will contribute in a meaningful way.
Packers fans have been waiting for their inside linebacker and after three days and four rounds, Thompson delivered one in Ryan. Now we will just have too see if he was worth the wait.