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Packers do not have visit planned for LB Leighton Vander Esch, per reports

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As it turns out, Green Bay is not on the list of destinations for the Boise State linebacker.

NCAA Football: Las Vegas Bowl-Boise State vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

A report on Tuesday implied that the Green Bay Packers were among a large group of teams inviting Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch on an official pre-draft visit. Vander Esch, a versatile player who can play almost any linebacker position, is one of the more impressive athletes in this year’s linebacker class.

However, new information from Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com and Bill Huber of Packer Report indicate that Vander Esch will not be making a trip to Lambeau Field for a visit.

Although he was a productive player for the Broncos and may be a fit for the Packers’ defense, Vander Esch seems unlikely to go off the board in the top 15 picks later this month. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein sees him as a borderline round-one pick, while NFLDraftScout.com has him rated as the 26th-best prospect.

Furthermore, the Packers have bigger needs at present than a versatile all-around linebacker, with the secondary and a dedicated pass-rusher being more pressing needs. Instead, the Packers have reported visits lined up with one of the draft’s highest-rated cornerbacks in Mike Hughes, and they met with top defensive backs Derwin James and Denzel Ward at the 2018 NFL Combine.

Vander Esch is a solid player and the late middle of the first round would appear to be a reasonable landing spot for him, but the Packers would probably get better value and a player who can make a bigger immediate impact at the 14th pick by taking a corner (Ward, Hughes, or perhaps Iowa’s Josh Jackson) or pass-rusher (Harold Landry or Marcus Davenport, for example) than Vander Esch.