Brian Gutekunst knows that the linebacker position is a question mark for his team. The Green Bay Packers general manager may have praised a few of his young off-ball linebackers at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday, but reports out of Indianapolis suggest that he is seriously considering adding a veteran player to the group in free agency.
Packersnews.com reports that the Packers are reaching out to gauge the market for Cleveland Browns linebacker Joe Schobert, according to some player agents. Schobert is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March after his rookie contract expires.
Schobert, the former Wisconsin Badgers outside linebacker, was a 4th-round draft pick in 2016 at 99 overall. He has played in all but three games in his four-year career, taking over as a starter on the inside in his second year. Last season, Schobert started every game and gave a complete performance, with 133 total tackles, a pair of forced fumbles, two sacks, four interceptions, and nine passes defended.
The coverage ability that those stats suggest would be a significant positive for his fit in Green Bay, as would his pass-rush ability. Much like 2020 draft prospect Zack Baun. Schobert played on the edge for the Badgers and was an excellent pass-rusher before moving off the ball in the NFL. Baun projects to make a similar transition, though he could hear his name called as early as the first round in April. Schobert has 8.5 sacks so far in his career, with three each in 2017 and 2018.
While this may be a sign that the Packers are indeed interested in Schobert specifically, they could also be trying to understand the broader linebacker market. They have a player of their own at that position also headed towards free agency, Blake Martinez, and other names like Cory Littleton could be on the Packers’ radar.
This is the second free agent-to-be who has been connected to the Packers in recent days. Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper will reportedly be a free agent target of Gutekunst’s this year, in addition to having been a trade target near the deadline in 2019.