2014 Packers Offseason Review: Judging the Need at ILB

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

We take a look at the inside linebacker position and assess the need for the organization to add players via free agency or NFL Draft heading into the 2014 season.

The Packers will likely resign Jamari Lattimore after a promising 2013 season, which saw the third-year veteran record several starts while Brad Jones recovered from injuries throughout the season. The team is unlikely to resign Rob Francois after suffering an achilles tendon rupture early in the season.

With A.J. Hawk entering his ninth season, and Brad Jones' inability to stay healthy, the team needs to look at adding a long-term option via the NFL Draft in 2014. As I mentioned earlier, there is a bevy of talent in this year's class. The organization needs to start moving toward athletic linebackers that can be plus-players in pass coverage, and not liabilities.

Hawk has the instincts and hard-nosed physicality to be an excellent run stopper, but has limited athleticism. If the team can pair him with an athletic linebacker with decent pass coverage skills, it would help make Hawk a more productive player. Simply put, I do not think Brad Jones is the answer at inside linebacker. He seemed out of place, and lacked aggressiveness when he was on the field.

I believe Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington will make the 53-man roster in 2014, which leaves space for one more linebacker if the team parts ways with Francois. While I don't think inside linebacker is a position of dire need for the Packers, they need to start looking for long-term answers and not short-term band-aids.

Need Rating: 5/10

Josh VanDyke covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He is also currently a sports writer for MLive.com.

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