The 2024 NFL Draft is just a week away. As of now, the Green Bay Packers have the 25th overall pick in the first round and five picks in the top 100 including two second round picks and two more in the third round. This is the next in a series of articles looking at players the Packers may be interested in selecting in the early rounds of this year’s draft. The only players listed here are realistic possibilities for the Packers GM Brian Gutekunst to pick in the first or second round of the draft or who fill specific needs for the team right now. Today we will examine linebackers. Here are five linebackers the Packers could select in the early rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft.

You can find our article on offensive tackles here and cornerbacks here.

The State of the Packers Linebackers Entering the 2024 NFL Draft

The Packers will feature a different defense with new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley taking over. The team will play a four-man front so they will need three off-ball linebackers on the depth chart. The team released De’Vondre Campbell who started at one spot last year.

The returning players include starters Quay Walker and Isaiah McDuffie. Eric Wilson adds depth although he will likely play mostly on special teams. Kristian Welch also re-signed with the team, but he will likely play exclusively on special teams.

The Packers will need another starter and some depth players before the start of training camp.

Linebacker is not usually considered a premium position. When the Gutekunst selected Quay Walker in the first round in 2022, they hadn’t spent a first-round pick on an off-ball linebacker in 2003 when they selected Nick Barnett. The Pack is more likely to select a player at this position on day two or day three of the draft. They will likely draft more than one linebacker in this draft.

So here is a list of possible linebackers the Packers may take early in the 2024 draft. They are not listed in any particular order. These are not the best available players but are players the Packers could take if they use the 25th pick or trade up grab them a bit sooner.

Linebackers the Packers Could Select in the Early Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, Number One: Junior Colson, Michigan

Junior Colson started for three seasons at Michigan and provided the team with leadership and production. He would be a good fit at middle linebacker in Hafley’s defense.

Colson knows how to read offenses and that helps him be in the right position to make plays. He knows how to shed blocks as well. The Michigan alum rarely misses tackles and plays through injuries.

The one thing Colson lacks is elite speed. A hamstring injury prevented him from working out at the combine, so we don’t have a precise RAS or 40-time for him.

Adding him in the middle would free up McDuffie and Walker to play on the outside in the new 4-3 defense.

Number Two: Edgerrin Cooper, Texas A&M

Edgerrin Cooper has great measurables at 6’2” and 230 pounds. He runs a 4.51 40-yard dash and has an RAS of 9.09. He also has outstanding burst which allows him to finish plays and make tackles.

Cooper plays the run well and can run downhill. He also does well in pass coverage and has experience in both zone and man defenses. In college, Cooper was also used as a blitzer occasionally to take advantage of his quick first step.

He will need some coaching, and to improve his reads. He does have a tendency to overrun some plays. With the right guidance, he can be a long-time starter, ideally at will linebacker.

Linebackers the Packers Could Select in the Early Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, Number Three: Trevin Wallace, Kentucky

Trevin Wallace scored a 9.31 RAS which will certainly get the attention of the Packers front office. He’s fast and has all the raw athletic tools scouts look for.

What Wallace lacks is experience. He’s only 21 and left Kentucky after his junior year. He also needs to improve his ability to read plays. He also struggled in pass coverage in college. Once he makes his read, his speed and burst get him to the right place quickly.

Wallace will need coaching to help his game match the tools he possesses. The ability is definitely there, and he can have a real impact in the NFL if he gets the right coaching and has the right attitude.

Number Four: Cedric Gray, North Carolina

Cedric Gray was a tackling machine in college and made 100 or more tackles in three straight seasons. He has the speed to cover the field sideline to sideline and has a nose for the football. He’s also graded out well in pass coverage because of his speed.

The one thing Gray is lacking is functional strength to disengage from blockers at the next level. He will have to develop that to take his game to the next level.

Scouts feel he could compete for a starting job as a rookie. He’s a smart player who also has experience on special teams. That will only make him more attractive to Rich Bisaccia.

Linebackers the Packers Could Select in the Early Rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, Number Five: Edefuan Ulofoshio, Washington

Edefuan Ulofoshio has the speed the Packers look for in a linebacker with an RAS of 9.66. He’s very quick to the ball and has excellent football intelligence which means he rarely misses tackles. The Washington alum also played on special teams in college which will help his stock with the Pack.

The biggest drawback he has could be his age. Ulofoshio is already 24, which could make Gutekunst think twice about drafting him until day three when he probably won’t be left on the board. He also needs a little work in pass coverage.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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