If the Green Bay Packers want a linebacker who can rush the passer, play the run, and cover in space, they may not need to look very far from home.
Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert was a big play machine in Madison over the past two years, and he will look to bring that splash ability to the NFL. A bit on the smaller side for an edge rusher at 6' 1-3/8" and 244 pounds, Schobert, who played on the outside in Wisconsin's 3-4 defense, said that some 3-4 teams have approached him about moving inside at the NFL level.
"I've had teams ask about both and question about both, and see what I think about playing both positions. I think I can play in space," Schobert said at the Scouting Combine on Friday. 4-3 teams are also interested in him after seeing him play the weak-side linebacker position at the Senior Bowl. "Obviously the first couple days reading the line was a little bit different from playing on the edge, but I was starting to get it and by the end of the week I think I was playing pretty good."
The Packers are clearly doing their due diligence on the Waukesha West High School product and former Wisconsin walk-on, as Schobert confirmed that he has already met with the Packers "a couple times." If the Packers were to select Schobert, making the drive North would be a dream come true for him. The idea of playing home games at Lambeau Field is "every Wisconsin kid's dream growing up," he said. He mentioned names of Wisconsin natives and fellow walk-ons like J.J. Watt and Jim Leonhard as inspirations throughout his career.
As for the Combine process itself, the event clearly is not too big of an event for Schobert, despite his humble beginnings in Madison. "It may feel a little over the top," Schobert commented, "but it's only a couple days for the opportunity of a lifetime."
At some point in April's draft, Schobert should hear his name called, completing his dream of playing in the NFL. It has been a long road for him from being high school safety with no Division I scholarship offers to an NFL linebacker, but Schobert believes it is a testament to his hard work on and off the field: "I think (going from) being a walk-on to a captain shows how hard I work in the game of football, in the weight room, in the film room and on the field on game day."