The Green Bay Packers are set to open training camp later this month. This is the next in a series of articles previewing the Packers position by position, analyzing the talent on the roster and discussing key questions that are facing the team as they begin preparation for the 2024 season. Today we will preview the linebacker unit. We will examine another position each day until the start of training camp.

To see our preview of the quarterbacks, click here and for defensive tackles, click here, and click here for running backs.

Packers 2024 Training Camp Position Preview Linebackers, Projected Starters: Quay Walker

Quay Walker took a step forward in his second season with the Packers. He certainly had better control of his temper and again led the team in tackles. He finished 2023 with 118 total tackles including seven for loss. The former Georgia star recorded 2.5 sacks and had a pick-six in the season opener against the Bears.

The missing element from Walker’s game is the big play. Former first round picks are expected to be impact players and Walker has yet to consistently fill that role.

This is a critical season for Walker as the Packers must decide whether to pick up his fifth-year option once it’s over. Walker’s speed should potentially be a good fit in the team’s new defense under Jeff Hafley.

Edgerrin Cooper

GM Brian Gutekunst selected Edgerrin Cooper in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft with the 45th overall pick. Like Walker, Cooper has outstanding speed. Thus far, coaches and teammates are excited about what Cooper has shown during OTAs.

The Texas A&M star enters training camp as a second-string player, but he is expected to win a starting job with a strong training camp and preseason.

How quickly Cooper adjusts to the NFL will be a key to the defense’s success this season.

Isaiah McDuffie

Isaiah McDuffie started eight games last season when injuries hit the starting linebackers and he filled in well. He finished second on the team with 86 total tackles.

McDuffie is smart and a works hard. He lacks the ideal size scouts want in a linebacker, but he provides experienced play when called upon.

As of now, McDuffie is the favorite to be the third starter at linebacker, although that player may only be on the field 20 percent of the team’s defensive plays.

McDuffie has experience playing for Hafley as he played for him at Boston College.

Packers 2024 Training Camp Position Preview Linebackers, Projected Backups: Ty’Ron Hopper

Some scouts called Ty’Ron Hopper a reach when the Packers selected him in the third round with the 91st overall pick in the draft.

Hopper has good speed and can run down ball carriers. He still needs to improve his ability to read blocks and finish his tackles.

Hopper will likely be a backup at linebacker and contribute on special teams as a rookie. The Packers hope he will develop into a starter in a short time.

Eric Wilson

Eric Wilson gives the Packers an experienced backup linebacker and special teams ace. He’ll turn 30 in September which makes him one of the oldest players on the roster.

Last season, Wilson played all 17 games and made 31 total tackles, mostly on special teams. He’s a capable fill-in when injuries strike and a core special teams player.

Kristian Welch

Wisconsin native Kristian Welch lived out a dream by playing 14 games for the Packers last season. He only played on special teams and did not take any snaps on defense. The Iowa alum made six total tackles.

Welch’s ability to make the roster will again depend on his play on special teams. If he can’t contribute there, he will be looking for a job elsewhere.

Ralen Goforth

The Packers signed Ralen Goforth as an undrafted free agent in April. He played for the University of Washington in the national championship game last season after previously spending four years at USC.

Goforth faces an uphill battle to make the roster but a strong training camp and a good showing on special teams could earn him at least a spot on the practice squad.

Christian Young

Christian Young split last season between the Seahawks and Packers practice squads. The Packers signed him to a future’s contract after their playoff loss to the 49ers.

Young is another long shot to make the roster. Playing well on special teams will boost his chances to make the roster or at least return to the practice squad.

Three Key Questions for the Packers Linebackers

Packers 2024 Training Camp Position Preview Linebackers: Question One, Who Will the Starters Be?

We know Walker will be one starter but nothing beyond that is guaranteed. How quickly Cooper and Hopper learn the defense and adjust to life in the NFL will be critical. McDuffie is a solid backup, but he lacks the elite athletic ability to be a preferred starter.

There will be two linebackers on the field for most plays and determining who they will be is the biggest question at the position in training camp.

Question Two: Who Will Be the Best Blitzer?

Hafley’s defense will be more aggressive than Joe Barry’s was. This means the linebackers should be blitzing more frequently. That should benefit Walker and Cooper who both have great speed and the ability to get to the quarterback.

Figuring out the best blitzer and how to best utilize them will be an ongoing process in training camp.

Packers 2024 Training Camp Position Preview Linebackers: Question Three, Who Earn the Backup Jobs?

The depth players at linebacker are either rookies or play primarily on special teams. Getting quality backups who can contribute without the team suffering a large decline in play will be critical. Otherwise, things could change drastically if injuries strike at the position.



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