Packers' Jake Ryan on Kiper's early impact list


GREEN BAY, Wis. – University of Michigan assistant coach Greg Mattison isn't the only one who thinks Jake Ryan could make an impact on the Green Bay Packers' defense as a rookie.

Earlier on Wednesday, we wrote about Mattison's thoughts on his former player.

Now, ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has weighed in on the Packers' fourth-round pick.

Kiper listed Ryan as one of his "possible early impact performers" from the third day of the draft, which includes rounds four through seven. Kiper wrote that he could see Ryan moving into one of the starting inside linebacker roles before the season is over.

"I wouldn't say we need him to play right away," Packers director of player personnel Eliot Wolf said of Ryan shortly after he was picked.

But if Ryan proved to be ready for that, it might be a bonus.

Indications are the Packers plan to keep using Clay Matthews at both inside and outside linebacker early on this season. Coach Mike McCarthy said after that draft that Matthews has been attending meetings with both position groups since the offseason program began last month.

If Ryan shows he can handle at least a part-time role, it could give the Packers the option of moving Matthews back to his natural outside linebacker position on a full-time basis.

"I think Jake will do a heck of a job," McCarthy said after the draft. "He's an excellent fit for the way we want to play, the responsibilities for our linebackers in base and sub. I think he's a great fit for us."