Well, the new league year started on March 13th and the Packers have had a busy week. This is a new era for Green Bay and GM Brian Gutekunst has quickly made some moves that will impact this team in the best way possible. On Tuesday, March 14th, the Packers signed two Edge Rushers (Za’Darius and Preston Smith), a Safety (Adrian Amos), and an Offensive Lineman (Billy Turner).
In addition, the Packers also cut Nick Perry and allowed their key free agents to test the market. On Saturday, Jake Ryan signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Clay Matthews will likely not return to Green Bay.
After a big week of free agency, the Packers have a lot to think about on who to draft at 12, and there is less pressure off Gutekunst after these key signings. After the departure of Jake Ryan, Nick Perry, and now Clay Matthews, it only makes sense for the Packers to draft the star-studded Linebacker out of LSU in Devin White.
Devin White- Linebacker/LSU
Now that the Packers lost Jake Ryan, they will need another playmaker on the inside to take his place. Devin White is built like a monster and he sure shows that physicality on the field. 2018 was the best performance of his college career, recording 62 solo tackles, 3 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. Jake Ryan struggled at reading plays from the inside, something Devin White excels at, as we have seen before. Jake Ryan’s 40 time was slightly slower than Devin White, allowing him to miss key tackles from the inside. With a 4.49 40 time, Devin White has quickness like no other and is capable of playing anywhere on the inside. Needless to say, besides tearing his ACL and missing the 2018 season, Jake Ryan made an impact on that Green Bay defense, but we also saw his struggles at times. Devin White is arguably the best Linebacker in this draft and he will not disappoint Mike Pettine with his talent.
Devin White has unbelievable talent, but there are some weaknesses that drew attention to scouts. His footwork is good for the most part, but it needs work in some places. At the combine, NFL scouts said he struggled making his initial steps at the start of a drill. If one thing goes wrong with his footwork, he will miss tackles and struggle to finish the play. Another trait that White definitely needs to work on is his tackling. If you watch him play, he is a great reader, but tackles above the waist, something that will be very tough to accomplish in the NFL. White’s weaknesses are raw and could be fixed with the right coaching, especially in Green Bay. Although these draw some concerns, White is still seen as getting drafted anywhere in the top 10-15 next month.
White’s NFL comparison is outstanding the more you watch him play. He could definitely be one of the next greatest Linebackers of our time. After the NFL Combine, there were reports that compared him to current Jaguars Linebacker Myles Jack, with his quickness and ability to read runners efficiently from the inside. LSU Coach Ed Orgeron also had White as a mix of Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, not that you can make that assumption right away, but his talent and versatility will help him have a successful NFL career.
Devin White will surely not disappoint Mike Pettine and that Green Bay defense. Even though concerns regarding his footwork and tackling arise, that will not affect his draft stock by a whole lot. White is still an NFL ready player and would be the perfect replacement for Jake Ryan. If he falls to 12, the Packers should strongly consider selecting him, as he is set to make an impact right away on almost any team he joins.