UPDATE: According to multiple reports, Vander Esch does not have a visit planned with the Packers. Click here for more information.
The Green Bay Packers like their versatile linebackers, and another top name in this year’s NFL Draft class is reportedly heading to Lambeau Field for a visit with the team’s brass sometime in the next few weeks.
That player is Leighton Vander Esch, a linebacker from Boise State. Vander Esch is reportedly visiting a number of teams, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer, meeting with all but three teams picking between picks 12 and 26 in the first round of the draft. The Packers, picking 14th, are not listed among the excluded teams. However, new information from Tuesday evening indicates that the Packers will not be holding a visit for Vander Esch.
Vander Esch had an impressive performance at the 2018 NFL Combine, ranking among the best linebackers at the event in most drills. His 4.65-second 40-yard dash was one of the better performances, as was his 39.5” vertical jump. He also excelled in agility drills, posting a 6.88-second time in the 3-cone drill and a 4.15 time in the short shuttle.
An off-ball linebacker at Boise State, Vander Esch has the size and athleticism to project to play practically any linebacker position in any defense. At 6-foot-4 and 256 pounds, he is big enough to hold up as an edge rusher, but his speed and quickness make him a tempting player to put in the middle. Were he to end up in the Packers’ defense under Mike Pettine, he might be best suited to play the Sam position, where Clay Matthews currently is expected to start, while contributing in other spots occasionally.