The Packers selected Kyler Frackrell out of Utah State in the 3rd round of the NFL draft.  Frackrell is a 6’5” outside linebacker who weighs 245 lbs.  He’s known for using his athleticism to rush the passer off the edge.  A very welcomed quality for a team that has struggled to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks game in game out.  A torn ACL in the season opener of his junior season, implies he has some injury concerns coming into the league, but he did come back and have a great senior season finishing an All-MCW First-Team.  He spent the season playing through contact and making plays, removing some doubt as to whether he could still be the same player.  Frackrell is an older prospect as he will turn 25 this November, thus he’ll need to come in and make a difference for the team right away.  He does have the talent to make plays next season, but who knows how he’ll make the leap.

In order to make a difference next season, Dom Capers will need to focus on using his length and speed to put him in positions to make plays.  Not only will he be a threat off the edge, but he has the tools to cover tight ends and running backs down the middle of the field.  Teams have started putting super athletes at tight end and causing match-up problems that most teams in the NFL can’t handle.  In Kyler, we have a player who might be able to annoy the Seahawks Jimmy Graham in the NFC Championship Game this year, or lesser tight ends, in less important situations.  If we aren’t going to make many significant moves in free agency to make the best of Aaron Rodgers’ prime, we certainly need to try to pick out players that can step in right away for us.

In any case, our new outside linebacker gives our defense more flexibility.  The more threats we make the opponent worry about, the more holes open up for Clay to sweep in and change the game.  Last season, teams essentially worried about stopping Julius Peppers, and stay prepared for Clay to attack.  After the draft this year, we have the potential to have multiple threats to the quarterback, on the field at all times, making the game much easier on our star.  But Frackrell in particular, will have the best chance to relieve some the responsibility put on Clay and Julius to apply pressure on the offense.  One thing he will need to improve on is using his hands to create space for his move past the offensive tackle.  Kyler plays pretty straight up, making him more reliant on using his athleticism to get to the quarterback.  If he could improve his set up moves, he could end up being a steal for us in the 3rd round.

The best quality we can expect Kyler Frackrell to bring to our defense is a high motor.  We desperately need guys on our defense willing to fight every down.  The defense doesn’t play with a chip on their shoulders at all times.  Too many times last season they seemed content to let the offense slowly move their way into field goal territory, then they’d tighten up.  Much like a yawn, effort can sneak its way into those around you.  If the rookie can produce energy for the defense, he’ll quickly become one of our more important players.

Due to his age and injury history, Kyler was a risky pick for the Pack, but it’s pretty easy to understand why Ted Thompson took the risk.  At his best, we’re getting another playmaker to add to the defense that’s in need of more big plays.  If he gets injured again or simply doesn’t translate to the NFL well, we still have an athletic special team’s player and it was only a 3rd round pick.  Sometimes, you have to bet on a guy’s talent.  In this case, as long as he can stay healthy, I think he’s going to be a productive player that allows us to be more creative with our play calling.  Another solid pick up by Ted Thompson.

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