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2016 NFL Combine Winners and Losers: Inside Linebackers to watch include Nick Vigil

Inside Linebacker is a position that has dominated a lot of draft discussion for Green Bay fans, and we look at several players at that position whose draft stock rose or fell in Indianapolis.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers' need at inside linebacker seems to be a yearly discussion prior to the draft, and this year is no different. With the report that Mike McCarthy's goal is to move Clay Matthews back outside, the Packers are left primarily with Jake Ryan, Sam Barrington (who missed 2015 with a foot injury) and Nate Palmer to man the inside of Dom Capers' defense.

That said, it appears the Packers once again must address the position this off-season. With the Combine over, let's look at some ILBs whose draft stock rose or fell with their performances in Indianapolis.


Nick Vigil, Utah State

Vigil, at 6-2, 239 lbs, impressed with his 40-yard (4.72), 3-cone (6.73), and 20-yard shuttle (4.0) times. Vigil's times in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle were tops among ALL linebackers. In fact, he just missed former Packer A.J. Hawk's Combine record in the 20-yard by .04 seconds. Perhaps even more impressive was his 6.73 time in the 3-cone drill. Only six players in the entire Combine posted better times. Vigil's brother Zach made the Dolphins (and started two games) as an undrafted free-agent last year. Vigil's stock is most certainly on the rise and he could be a potential steal on the final day of the draft.

Blake Martinez, Stanford

The 6-2, 237-pound Martinez (he of the impressively clean diet) has the look and build of an NFL linebacker, and he posted solid numbers across the board at the Combine. He ran a 4.71 seconds in the 40-yard dash, finished the 3-cone drill in 6.98 seconds, and ran the 20-yard shuttle in 4.2 seconds. He also managed 22 reps in the bench press to put him among the top-5 at his position. Martinez was in the top-10 ILB in most categories and he showed his PAC-12-leading 141 tackles are due to more than just the Cardinal's defensive scheme.


Scooby Wright III, Arizona

Wright opted to enter the draft after missing most of his junior year at Arizona with a torn Meniscus in his left knee and a foot sprain. The 6-0, 239-pounder entered his junior year as one of the nations' top defenders after earning All-America honors and the Bednarik, Lombardi and Nagurski Awards in 2014. His critics said he was a better football player than athlete, but Wright's limited participation in the Combine did little to dissuade those critics. Wright clocked a pedestrian 4.90 in the 40, the second-slowest among all linebackers.  His 22 reps in the bench press and 4.47 in the 20-yard shuttle were average at best. Wright is obviously a solid football player, but in question is whether or not his measureables translate into a productive every-down ILB in the NFL.

Josh Forrest, Kentucky

Forrest is 6-3 and 249 lbs and absolutely has the build to play ILB in the NFL. The question is if he has the athleticism to do so. Forrest ran the slowest 40-yard at the Combine of all the linebackers, but even more disappointing was the 11 reps he posted on the bench press. Forrest is a player who is relying on build and strength to secure an NFL roster spot, but those 11 bench press reps is nothing short of awful for Forrest. In fairness, he did post an average 30.5 inch vertical.