NFL Combine ILBs analysis

Keeping in tune with many of the other positions, the top inside linebacker prospects at the recent NFL combine chose not to run for the stopwatch, though, many worked out afterward. At the end of the day there were many surprises at a position the Green Bay Packers desperately need help.<p>

Green Bay is not expected to re-sign veteran Hardy Nickerson. Torrance Marshall, who was expected to take over for Nickerson this year, has been moved to outside linebacker. With not much salary cap space, it is unlikely that the Packers can afford a high-priced free agent like Cincinnati's Takeo Spikes.

Perhaps no prospect helped himself more than Chaun Thompson of West Texas A&M. After running faster then anyone in his group, Thompson performed brilliantly in the drills displaying quick, active feet, explosion and the ability to cover great range on the field. He moved laterally with speed, showed the ability to backpedal and had a terrific session. In the end Thompson made a lot of money for himself and moved into the initial 75 choices.

Solomon Bates also performed well and practiced much faster than his 40 speed. Ditto for Lance Briggs, who looked smooth in drills and easily got depth on his drops during the pass coverage segment of the day.

For his part Terry Pierce looked imposing on the field and was forceful in every direction he moved. What stood out about his game was the lateral speed the K-State star displayed.

Bradie James looked solid, as did Victor Hobson, though the former Wolverine was not quick in reverse. The same can be said for Kawika Mitchell, who is a physical specimen. Interesting to remember they had Victor Hobson working on the inside.

Mario Haggan struggled and had difficulty moving laterally then showed terrible hands in pass coverage drills. And while LaMarcus McDonald displayed good footwork and the ability to make plays in reverse he also showed only marginal lateral range.

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