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Matthews: Packers OLB depth 'not that great'

By
The Sports Xchange
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews looks on from the sidelines during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins last August. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews looks on from the sidelines during a preseason game against the Washington Redskins last August. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Clay Matthews is voicing his concern with the Green Bay Packers' apparent lack of attention paid to the linebacker outside position.

Matthews and Nick Perry head a thin outside linebacker group that also includes Kyler Fackrell, Vince Biegel and Reggie Gilbert, with the latter three combining for just six career sacks.

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The Packers used their seventh-round pick on Southeast Missouri State linebacker Kendall Donnerson and failed to add a pass rusher in free agency.

"Well, I wasn't surprised with the first two picks; I'll go ahead and say that," the 32-year-old Matthews said of the Packers taking cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson with their top two draft selections, via ESPN.

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"But obviously, you look at the depth at the outside-linebacker position, and it's not that great. That's not a slight to the guys who are behind Nick and myself, but you look around the league, a lot of times they're rotating in pass-rushers. You can look a couple years ago when we had Mike Neal and Julius (Peppers) here, Datone (Jones) as well. We had a pretty good rotation. Sometimes I'm sure it doesn't work out the way in which (the front office wants), and obviously they only get so many picks and only have so much cap money to spend."

Matthews likely was left wondering why the Packers elected to trade out of the No. 14 overall spot with one of the draft's top edge-rushers -- University of Texas-San Antonio's Marcus Davenport -- still on the board. The New Orleans Saints selected Davenport at that spot after making a deal with Green Bay.

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Matthews recorded 44 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 14 games last season. He has 439 tackles and a franchise-best 80 sacks in 127 career contests since the Packers selected him with the 26th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft out of USC.

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The 2018 campaign represents the final year of Matthews' five-year, $66 million contract. He could earn up to $11.4 million in salary and bonuses next season.

Matthews has been named to the Pro Bowl six times, and he was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2010.

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