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Inside Linebacker: Is Drafting One Necessary?

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Inside Linebacker: Is Drafting One Necessary?

By Larry McCarren. CREATED Apr 29, 2014

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When the Packers draft needs are listed, inside linebacker has been a popular choice, and in 18 mock drafts last week, Alabama's CJ Mosely was named as the Packers first round pick 7 times.

No question, he's a heckuva player, having been called the best open field tackler in the draft and a guy who has the coverage skills to play every down in what is a passing league. Mosely would be a nice pick at 21, but I don't rank inside linebacker as high on the needs list as some do.

Last off-season, Brad Jones was signed to a three year, $11.75 million contract, with $3 million to sign. When it comes to their confidence in Jones, the Packers spoke with their checkbook. Now he's supposedly on the hot seat.

What happened in between? Thanks to a hamstring, then an ankle injury, Jones played hurt about half the games last season. At 242 pounds, his game isn't about brute power, it's about having explosiveness and snap, which are hard to generate when the tires are flat.

When he's healthy, you can win with Brad Jones. As for his partner, AJ Hawk, steady eddy led the Packers in tackles, with 47 more than the second place total and also had 5 sacks and two take-aways. Voted a playoff captain by his teammates, which says a lot. You can win with him too, and that's why I see an inside linebacker as nice, but not absolutely necessary.