This is the next in a series of articles providing an in-depth analysis of each position group on the Green Bay Packers. Today we will analyze the inside linebackers. For our look at the quarterbacks, click here and click here for running backs and here for the defensive line.
The grades will be for each unit as a whole but we will provide analysis of each player, their strengths and weaknesses and a quick analysis of where they stand heading into the offseason.
The Packers rushing defense finished 26th in the NFL in yards allowed on the season and opponents averaged an unacceptable 5.0-yards per attempt which ranked 28th in the league. The inside linebackers also struggled in pass coverage early in the season.
Here are the grades for the Packers inside linebackers in 2022. The marks are based on a combination of expectations and performance.
De’Vondre Campbell signed a new contract last offseason after his career year in 2021. He didn’t replicate his All Pro performance and struggled early in the season. Campbell missed more tackles in the first four games of the season than he did in all of 2021. Part of that was due to covering for rookie Quay Walker who was still learning the defense.
Injuries caused Campbell to miss four games at midseason. His play picked up as the season progressed and as Walker got more comfortable in the NFL. Campbell finished with 96 total tackles, two interceptions including a pick six and six tackles for loss.
The Packers are hoping he returns to his 2021 form. He was coming close later in the season.
Walker started 16 games and played in all 17. He led the Packers with 121 total tackles including 1.5 sacks, five tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He also broke up seven passes.
While the former Georgia star has great speed and can cover a lot of ground in the middle of the defense, he needed some time to learn his assignments and adjust to life in the NFL. Early in the season, he was often out of position, was confused about passing receivers off in zone coverage and failed to take the proper angles against the run.
As the season progressed, Walker got more comfortable and improved his reaction to plays and his positional play.
One issue that didn’t go away was Walker’s temper. He was ejected from two games in the second half of the season, one for shoving a practice squad player on the sidelines and another for pushing a trainer on the field to tend to an injured player.
His potential is high and he showed promise in what ended up being an uneven rookie year. Ideally, Walker’s speed, range and ability to both cover receivers and rush the passer should make him a solid NFL starter.
Krys Barnes was the one of the primary backups at the position but lost a large chunk of the season to injuries. The former undrafted free agent out of UCLA was limited to just six games this season and made 29 total tackles including one sack. In the games he was active, he played 37 percent of the defensive snaps.
Barnes is smart and steady but limited athletically. Ideally, he is a solid backup and special teams player who most teams would love to have on their roster.
Isaiah McDuffie played all 17 games and started one. He made 43 total tackles and recovered one fumble. The second-year man out of Boston College was a mainstay on special teams and played 17 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. He adds depth in the middle while excelling on coverage teams.
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