The Green Bay Packers need Vince Biegel to provide an instant impact at outside linebacker. Thus, the news that the rookie outside linebacker underwent foot surgery last week is an early blow to a defense that needs to take several steps in the right direction this season.
As ESPN first reported and Packer Report confirmed, Biegel had surgery last week to fix the same foot injury that limited his production during his senior season at Wisconsin. Biegel missed two games following last year’s surgery, in which a screw was inserted in his right foot. He’ll be out much longer this time. Biegel, who participated in the rookie camp on May 6-7 despite sustaining a hand injury on the first day of the camp, will miss the rest of the offseason program. The hope is the fourth-round pick will be ready to go for the first practice of training camp on July 27.
Biegel’s development is critical because there is no proven depth behind starters Nick Perry and Clay Matthews. With Julius Peppers and Datone Jones exiting in free agency, the only returning outside linebackers behind Perry and Matthews are Kyler Fackrell, last year’s third-round pick, and Jayrone Elliott, who is one of the team’s top players on special teams. Combined, they played 296 snaps on defense last year. Between the lack of proven depth and the injury histories of Perry and Matthews, there was a major opportunity in front of Biegel to become an immediate contributor.
Biegel had four sacks and six tackles for losses last season after posting eight sacks and 14 tackles for losses as a junior and 7.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for losses as a sophomore.
After bypassing Biegel’s college teammate, T.J. Watt, in the first round, the Packers took Biegel ahead of Auburn’s Carl Lawson with the first pick of the fourth round.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.