Since the injury to Oren Burks, the Packers have been struggling to find a viable replacement. Their next best options seem to be 7th round and undrafted rookies, Ty Summers and Curtis Bolton. However, Bolton just went down with an injury and Green Bay is unsure in what they have with Summers who has been largely inconsistent.
On August 25th, the Packers signed two new linebackers, Nicholas Grigsby and James Folston Jr., to improve their linebacker depth.
Grigsby is a 6’2” 230 pound athletic freak who has been in the NFL since 2016 when he was signed by the Rams after being undrafted out of Pittsburgh. His play his senior year warranted him a spot on an NFL roster. That season, Grigsby had 66 tackles, 9.5 of them were for a loss, 3.5 sacks, 2 pass deflections, and 2 forced fumbles. After one season with the Rams, Grigsby was signed by the Patriots and became one of their premier special teams players. All-Time great, Bill Belichick, praised the linebacker for his play and speed as a linebacker (Grigsby runs a 4.47 40 yard dash). Although, all the praise didn’t prevent him from getting cut during last season and being picked up by the Lions for the remainder. Finally, the Ravens gave him a preseason shot this year but ultimately cut him and now Grigsby is on the Packers. In his career, he has played in 23 career games, registered 10 total tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 quarterback hit. The way Grigsby plays, along with his size and speed, reminds me of watching Oren Burks and that’s exactly what the Packers are looking for. Grigsby feels like a guy who should make the 53 man roster and could even play the role many expected Josh Jones to play before he was cut.
The next linebacker the Packers signed was undrafted rookie, James Folston Jr. Although he doesn’t have any eye popping numbers from college, what we do know is that he is a defensive end converted into an outside linebacker. Folston is 6’3” 240 pounds and is a very strong and intimidating player with great physical attributes. Before the draft, he ran a 4.80 40 yard dash as well as had a 40 1/2” vertical leap. Also, he was measured to have intense strength by benching 23 reps during the combine. Folston doesn’t have the pedigree and history in the league that Grigsby has so there is not much more to know about him. Folston Jr. is a long shot to make the 53 man roster but it would not surprise me if he did considering how athletic and strong he is.
The Packers didn’t solve their linebacker issues with the signings of Grigsby and Folston but they signed two athletic guys who can impact the game on special teams and be competent backups.