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Combine Notebook: Packers meet with top linebackers, including Kenneth Murray

Here are a few notes and nuggets from Thursday’s player media availability.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Today at the NFL Scouting Combine, we spoke to a handful of linebacker and defensive line prospects to get a feel for these position groups. Linebacker is of course a critical need area for the Packers, and based on the results of today’s interviews it appears that they are doing their research at the position.

Many top linebacker prospects have met with the Packers here in Indianapolis as they try to get a feel for these players, most notably Kenneth Murray from Oklahoma and Patrick Queen from LSU. Murray said that the Packers were his very first meeting here in Indy,

In addition, Murray revealed a great deal about his personal life. He has three adopted siblings who each have a rare chromosomal issue that caused developmental problems. The issue has only been seen a few times worldwide. In addition, Murray saved the live of a woman through the use of CPR last year, a story that only became public knowledge because a student newspaper writer was nearby when it happened and recognized Murray.

Here are a few other nuggets from today’s media interviews.

  • Alabama DT Raekwon Davis had a meeting with the Packers. He is an avid deer hunter and fisherman whose biggest-ever catch was a 16-pound catfish. That would make him a great fit in Wisconsin, and he could be a possibility for the Packers on day two of the draft.
  • Murray praised Packers linebacker Curtis Bolton, who started for Oklahoma in 2018. The two had almost 300 combined tackles that season.
  • Michigan edge rusher Josh Uche met with Packers OLBs coach Mike Smith this week and said they hit it off right away. The two talked about current Packer and former Michigan star Rashan Gary, with Uche saying that Smith was raving about him and that it would be “awesome” to play with Gary again.
  • North Dakota State defensive end Derrek Tuszka has a fascinating background. Growing up on a farm, he looked up to his family’s crop-dusting pilot and earned his pilot’s license as a teenager. He majored in crop and weed management at NDSU.
  • Wisconsin’s Zack Baun realizes that he is an off-ball linebacker at the next level, but that a creative defensive coordinator could find lots of fun ways to use him. He projects as a great tester when he works out on Saturday, and spoke at length about the brotherhood and chemistry that the Badger defense and linebacker group both create.
  • Several other linemen and top linebackers had meetings with the Packers, and APC’s Peter Bukowski compiled some lists based on the media reports:
  • Alex Highsmith from Charlotte spoke at length today about going from a walk-on as a freshman to being on the verge of the draft. He had a big game against Clemson earlier this year and was one of the FBS’ sack leaders in 2019. Click here for a full profile on Highsmith.
  • Notre Dame edge rusher Julian Okwara is the brother of Lions defensive end Romeo Okwara. The two are of Nigerian descent, and Julian joked that Nigerians have “extra muscles that other people don’t have.”