<
>

Black and Blue all over: J. Thompson as a starter?

6/2/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Since draft day, everyone has assumed that first-round draft pick Clay Matthews would be Green Bay's starter at right outside linebacker. But what if the Packers have a better internal option?

Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette traces the development of former defensive end Jeremy Thompson, who projects as a linebacker in the Packers' new 3-4 defense. Thompson made almost no impact as a rookie last season, but Demovsky suggests he has benefited more than any incumbent player from the Packers' scheme change.

Thompson has dropped his weight to 260 pounds and was working with the first team during organized team activities last week. He projects as a difficult pass-rusher to handle in this scheme and also has experience dropping into coverage from his college days at Wake Forest.

Matthews has been sidelined by a hamstring injury this spring, giving Thompson the opening he needs to fight for playing time. Stay tuned.

Continuing around the NFC North: