Not big on drafting inside linebackers high or doling out notable extensions at the position, the Packers are counting on some lower-level investments on their defensive second level. Here is some non-Aaron Rodgers Packers news.
The Packers have Day 3 picks Kamal Martin and Ty Summers on their roster, along with recent UDFA Krys Barnes. Despite his undrafted pedigree, Barnes made 10 starts as a rookie last season. Neither he nor Kirksey, however, ranked inside the top 60 at the position, in Pro Football Focus’ view. A six-game starter, Martin fared better. But he played just 208 defensive snaps in an injury-shortened season. The Packers’ highest off-ball linebacker draftee in 15 years, former third-rounder Oren Burks, remains on the team. He is shifting back to inside linebacker after working on the edge more in 2020, Schneidman adds. Burks, however, has not played more than 100 defensive snaps since his 2018 rookie season.
Cowboys Pro Bowl cornerback ByronJones participated in his first practice of the offseason today after being activated from the physically unable to perform list. While the 26-year-old will be a welcome addition to the secondary, head coach JasonGarrett said the team will bring Jones along slowly.
“He’s going to slowly get back into it and just kind of see where he is,” Garrett said (via ESPN’s Todd Archer). “He’s been working really well on the side. It’s time for him to get going again, so he’ll be out there for part of practice.”
Meanwhile, offensive guard ZackMartin and offensive tackle TyronSmith are not expected to practice this week, but the duo should be good to go for the regular season opener. The same goes for wideout AmariCooper, who has been dealing with a heel injury.
Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…
Packers starting linebacker OrenBurks isn’t expected to miss an extended amount of time due to a pec injury, reports NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). The 24-year-old won’t require surgery and should be back this season, and there’s even optimism that he’ll be able to avoid the injured reserve. The 2018 third-rounder had 23 tackles during his rookie campaign.
Redskins coach JayGruden said he expects tight end JordanReed to be available for the season opener at Philadelphia (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s John Keim). Reed entered the concussion protocol after a hit in Thursday’s preseason win at Atlanta. “We’re quite confident that Jordan will be fine,” Gruden said. That’s good news for a team whose passing game revolves largely around Reed.
The Vikings have removed cornerback MikeHughes from the PUP list, according to a team announcement. That’s big news for Minnesota, especially with supporting cornerback HoltonHill suspended for the first half of the season. The 2018 first-round pick appeared in six games (two starts) before tearing his ACL in October. He ultimately finished his rookie campaign having compiled 22 tackles, three passes defended, a pick-six, and a forced fumble.
The Cowboys worked out a pair of tight ends today in Tyrone Swoopesand Zach Conque, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas News (via Twitter). Swoopes spent the first two seasons of his career in Seattle, appearing in two games. The 24-year-old was let go by the team earlier this month. Conque, 25, has had stints with the Texans, Jets, Jaguars, and Colts since 2017. While the team’s depth chart at tight end is pretty much set, both BlakeJarwin and DaltonSchultz have dealt with recent injuries.
Burks originally thought he’d be forced to undergo an operation after injuring his pectoral during Green Bay’s first preseason game, but a second opinion revealed the issue is less serious than the initial diagnosis suggested. However, Burks did hyperextend his pectoral muscle, meaning he’s now waiting for a soft tissue injury to heal.
“I’m really hoping that Oren’s thing is going to be short term,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “We’ll get him back here quicker than I think, but right now, I’d just kind of like to get through this next game and kind of see where we’re at, see where Oren’s at.”
Gutenkunst didn’t provide a timeline for Burks’ recovery, but did indicate Green Bay won’t look into signing a free agent replacement. Instead, the Packers are giving undrafted rookie free agent Curtis Bolton a chance to replace Burks as the club’s weakside linebacker.
Burks, a third-round pick in 2018, appeared in 14 games during his rookie season but spent most of his time on special teams. He was expected to take over as a starting linebacker for the Packers this year, but as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com recently noted, that “starting” job could essentially be a part-time role given defensive coordinator Mike Pettine‘s for “big nickel” and dime looks that employ a third or fourth defensive back at the expense of a linebacker.
Packers starting linebacker Oren Burks is believed to have suffered a torn pectoral muscle, ESPN’s Rob Demovsky writes. More tests are expected to determine the next course of action, Demovsky hears.
The second-year linebacker sustained the injury, originally believed to be a shoulder injury, in the first quarter of Green Bay’s preseason opener vs. the Texans. When asked on Thursday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur did not provide an update on whether the injury would cost the linebacker significant time.
“Honestly, I don’t really know anything right now,” LaFleur said. “It’s kind of wait and see, but I hope not.”
A third-round selection in 2018, Burks appeared in 14 games as a rookie, starting four. He logged 24 tackles and was expected to take over as a starting inside linebacker alongside Blake Martinez in 2019. Though Burks was slated as a starter, it is essentially a part-time role in defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s scheme, which calls for a hybrid safety at times to fill the role.
September 1st, 2018 at 9:15pm CST by Dallas Robinson
Among the offers the Raiders received for edge rusher Khalil Mack, the Bears‘ was “by far” the strongest, tweets Michael Lombardi of The Athletic. Chicago eventually acquired Mack, so it’s unsurprising their offer was the most substantial, but Lombardi’s report may indicate the Bears outbid rivals by several magnitudes. In the end, Chicago sent Oakland a 2019 first-round pic, a 2010 first-round pick, a 2020 third-round pick, and a 2019 sixth-round pick in exchange for Mack, a 2020 second-round round pick, and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick. The Bears have since extended Mack, making him the NFL’s highest-paid defender.
Having already lost Jake Ryan for the season, the Packers are likely to be without fellow linebacker Oren Burks for at least Week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Burks, a third-round rookie, had been projected to replace Ryan — who suffered a torn ACL last month — next to Blake Martinez. Instead, he’ll be sidelined for the season opener, and could miss a few additional weeks after that, according to Rapoport. Antonio Morrison, whom Green Bay recently acquired from the Colts, figures to take over in the middle of the Packers’ defense.
The Colts have traded linebacker Antonio Morrison to the Packers, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Demovsky hears that Green Bay will send cornerback Lenzy Pipkins to Indianapolis in return, which has since been confirmed by multiple reporters.
Morrison, whom the Colts selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, started 15 games for the club last year. While he showed some promise, racking up 108 tackles in the middle of the Colts’ defense, he lacks the speed and athleticism that new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has been stressing. He was firmly on the roster bubble, so GM Chris Ballard decided to get something for him rather than potentially letting him go for nothing.
Indianapolis does need help at corner, and the team hopes that Pipkins will provide some depth in that regard. He started one game for Green Bay last year and appeared in 12, picking up 14 tackles and a pass defensed.
The Packers, meanwhile, needed help at linebacker, as rookie Oren Burks is expected to miss time with an injury (per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, via Twitter). Green Bay has already lost Jake Ryan for the season.
Jake Ryan enjoyed a breakout 2017 season, but the fourth-year linebacker may not have a chance to build on it. At least, not right away.
While it’s not certain just yet, the Packers fear one of their starting inside linebackers suffered a “significant and potentially season-ending” right knee injury, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com reports. Pro Football Focus’ No. 19 overall linebacker last season, Ryan suffered this setback during an 11-on-11 drill at Packers practice Monday.
The former fourth-round pick, who’s entering a contract year, has started 27 games with Green Bay since his rookie season. If it’s determined Ryan will miss time, Demovsky notes third-round rookie Oren Burks could be thrust into action alongside Blake Martinez. The Packers have also been impressed with rookie UDFA Greer Martini, per Demovsky.
Ryan played 506 snaps last season, and although his 79 tackles were well off Martinez’s league-leading 142, PFF preferred his coverage to Martinez’s work as Green Bay’s other primary linebacker.
Safety Kentrell Brice, whom Demovsky writes may be the leading candidate to replace Morgan Burnett, was also carted away from practice Monday. Brice was running with Green Bay’s first-string defense. Josh Jones, a 2017 second-round pick, replaced Brice with the starting defense.
The Packers have officially signed their entire draft class. The team announced today that they’ve signed third-round linebacker Oren Burks. This was Green Bay’s second rookie signing of the day, as they inked second-rounder Josh Jackson this morning.
The 6-foot-3, 233-pound linebacker had a standout career at Vanderbilt, including a 2017 campaign where he established career-highs in tackles (80) and tackles for loss (seven). Burks was drafted with the 88th pick by the Packers, providing defensive coordinator MikePettine with a versatile weapon.
The 23-year-old primarily played inside and outside linebacker during his time in college, and he also had stints at safety (he had three interceptions during his sophomore campaign). The rookie’s best path to playing time is probably inside linebacker, where he’ll have to compete with Ahmad Thomas for playing time behind BlakeMartinez and JakeRyan.
With this signing, the Packers have officially signed all 11 of their draft picks. This list includes: