GREEN BAY, Wis. – If the Green Bay Packers believe there's an inside linebacker out there who can help them, there's a chance he will still be available to them on the second day of the NFL draft.
Only one inside linebacker came off the board in Thursday's first round: The New Orleans Saints took Clemson's Stephone Anthony at No. 31,one spot after the Packers picked cornerback Damarious Randall.
The question for Friday is this: Which, if any, inside linebackers will be selected before the Packers pick in the second round at No. 62 overall?
It would seem unlikely that UCLA's Eric Kendricks will last that long. Some projections had him going in the first round. But like all the inside linebackers in this draft, he's far from a sure thing. Same with Miami’s Denzel Perryman.
It’s a weak inside linebacker class overall that gets even thinner after Anthony, Kendricks and Perryman. The next-best option is probably Mississippi State's Benardrick McKinney.
To get any of them, Packers general manager Ted Thompson might have to trade up in the second round. He traded up twice in the second round in 2012 for defensive players, with mixed results. One, defensive end Jerel Worthy, was a colossal failure. The other, cornerback Casey Hayward, worked out.
It's entirely possible that Thompson and his staff don't view any of the inside linebackers in the draft as viable options to allow them to move Clay Matthews back to outside linebacker on a full-time basis.