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NFL Scouting Combine: Inside Linebackers

Earlier I wrote about a few of the outside linebackers at the NFL combine. Now I've moved onto the inside linebackers. The Green Bay Packers have too many inside linebackers if everyone is healthy. But last season proved that depth is a good thing, and there should be a roster spot or two available if they want to add someone.

Illinois's Martez Wilson. No inside linebacker was projected to have a first round grade coming into the NFL combine. If anyone has one now, it's Wilson. Wes Bunting noted that he could be an ideal inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. I'd like to see an inside linebacker who's really good in coverage, so that he only had one INT during his career at Illinois is noteworthy. However, he's one of the biggest inside prospects at 6'4", 250 lbs., and he just ran a 4.49 in the 40. That's crazy fast for a guy at his size. 

Michigan State's Greg Jones. He's coming off a fantastic college career, but he got some flak for staying for his senior season. I've read that he had a down year because his tackles decreased from 153 to 105, but he also forced 3 fumbles and had 2 INTs last season. He looked fluid running his drills at the combine, and I expect he'll make a good pro. He'll probably wind up going in the mid to late 2nd round. He's only a possibility for the Packers if they trade out of the 1st round for a later pick in the 2nd round.

Oregon's Casey Matthews. Who hasn't thought about having the Brothers Matthews in the Packers starting lineup? He's only got a 5th round grade, but I'm a believer after watching him closely in the National Championship game. The Packers aren't going to use their 1st or 2nd round pick on him, but they could use the 3rd or 4th round supplemental pick it's expected they'll receive for losing DE Aaron Kampman in free agency. I would have loved to seen him at the combine, but he injured his shoulder during the bench press drill. He'd definitely like to play in Green Bay, but he's not sure about "playing in the shadow" of his brother. He'd be a pick for the future as there would be at least three or four guys ahead of him in 2011.

I don't expect the Packers will use their first round draft choice on a potential middle linebacker, but I certainly didn't expect them to trade up for LB Clay Matthews in 2009 either.