Green Bay Packers Team Needs: Draft Wrap Up
The dust from the 2016 NFL Draft has settled and the newest members of the Green Bay Packers have finished up their first week of workouts. As mentioned in our pre-draft team needs piece, the Packers had some weaknesses to address, especially in the front-7 on defense. Ted Thompson and staff didn't appear to make any luxury picks this year, choosing to focus on positions of need -- presently and in the coming offseason.
The team made seven picks and signed an additional 22 undrafted free agents on draft weekend. Despite the influx of new talent currently fighting for roster spots, the Packers could still stand to improve two positions in particular.
Green Bay spent first and fourth-round picks on the defensive front this year, respectfully adding UCLA DT Kenny Clark and Northwestern DE Dean Lowry. Due to the lack of depth at the nose tackle position, Clark could very well see starting action early on in his rookie season. Lowry appears to be a developmental player who could rotate behind the current starting trio of Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion and Datone Jones.
However, after that grouping, the Packers are left with Mike Pennel, second-year contributor Christian Ringo and a handful of UDFAs. Green Bay has made it clear that they will keep free agents on their final 53-man roster. This season's dark horse could very well come from the defensive line group.
Each year Packers fans clamor for an early-round inside linebacker, and every year they are let down. See: Reggie Ragland (2016), Eric Kendricks (2015), C.J. Mosely (2014) and well...you get the point. It has become evident that this Packers regime does not value the position very much on the first two days of the draft.
Thompson did surprise the masses this year when the team turned in the card for Stanford's Blake Martinez in the fourth round (131st overall). The redshirt senior was a two-year starter who is strong against the run and offers some awareness in coverage. His play speed is a question mark at the NFL level but Martinez should compete for snaps with Jake Ryan and Sam Barrington in year one. With little depth and experience at the position, it appears inside linebacker will once again be the Packers weakest unit. Multiple injuries here could be crippling.
Chris Licata is the Director of NFL Draft Content for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter (@ChrisLicataPFS) and Google+. For more Packers content from PFS, follow our @spot_packers Twitter account.