Need defensive players? Plenty at Combine

AUDIO: The FAN's Mike Clemens in INDY

Mike Clemens
March 04, 2019 - 4:42 pm

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Indianapolis, IN - Brian Gutenkunst was not kidding.

The 2019 class of college football prospects here at the NFL Scouting Combine is loaded with defensive players, especially in the first round. 

"Yes, the defensive front is really a strong position in this year's draft. Which is a good thing for us. Those kind of guys don't come around a lot," Gutenkunst told Wisconsin reporters at the Combine. "We're excited to see how it goes, but we really think we've got an opportunity to help our football team."

Not only at defensive line, but linebacker, pass rusher, now commonly referred to as "Edge" and at safety, all needs for Mike Pettine's defense in 2019.

Gutenkunst would not commit to whether Clay Matthews or Nick Perry would return at linebacker this season saying there is still too much information to gather before the start of the NFL free agency later this month. 

Last week NFL.com mock drafts had LSU linebacker Devin White being selected by the Packers with the 12th overall pick in the first round. White was an impressive character to chat with in his sessions with the media, selling a compelling story of how he documented his progress while playing for the Tigers. He then went out and had a very strong performance in the Combine drills, including a 4.42 in the 40, second fastest among linebackers, and a 39.5" vertical jump. 21 reps on the weight bench. A 7.07 in the three-cone and 4.17 in the short shuttle. Within hours some of those mock drafts had White moving up to the 8th spot and headed to the Detroit Lions.

Another player who could be available if the Packers stay with the 12th pick is Florida State's DE/OLB Brian Burns. 6-foot-5, 249 lbs., Burns showed the grace and ball skills of a wide receiver during drills, and also ran a fast 4.53 40 yard dash. He could be just what that Packers need in an edge rusher. 

After trading Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Packers need to add depth at safety.  Taylor Rapp came into the Washington Huskies secondary as an instinctive, hard hitting freshman, who soon started, along with two future top draft picks, the Packers 1st rounder CB Kevin King, and the Arizona Cardinals second round pick safety Budda Baker.

Rapp told The FAN his first meeting after interviews Sunday night was with the Green Bay Packers. 

The FAN's Green & Gold Insider Mike Clemens spent the week at the Combine, speaking to these players and some of the eight Wisconsin Badgers invited to the event. 

Here's Mike's recap and interviews with those prospects on The FAN: CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO: