The Green Bay Packers have come to terms with outside linebacker Clay Matthews, the second of the team’s two first-round draft picks.
The signing leaves only B.J. Raji, the 9th overall selection, unsigned as training camp approaches.
As part of Total Packers’ ongoing profiles of draft pick signees, here’s your look at Clay Matthews. You can check out our profiles of fullback Quinn Johnson here, offensive linemen T.J. Lang and Jamon Meredith here and Jarius Wynn, Brandon Underwood and Brad Jones here.
Matthews, who comes to the Packers as the 26th overall selection, is expected to compete for a starting spot at right outside linebacker in his rookie season. Simply, there are a lot of things to like about Matthews.
Matthews’ father played 19 seasons in the NFL and went to four Pro Bowls as a linebacker with the Cleveland Browns. The junior Matthews went from a walk on at USC to a starter during his senior campaign, in which he showed a knack for getting into the offensive backfield. He’s shown dedication, especially in the weight room, determination and a relentless work ethic.
There are some question marks about Matthews, though. He started only 10 games in his entire career at USC, all in his senior season. He also played with two of the best linebackers in the country – Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga.
What does that mean? Well, for one, Matthews is relatively inexperienced at linebacker, although he was a special teams demon early in his USC career. Secondly, some scouts have wondered if playing on a defense with so many other great players at USC didn’t cover up some of Matthews’ weaknesses.
Only time will tell, but it’s clear Matthews potential his great. While I expect him to be a starter at some point in Green Bay, he will be challenged during training camp by Jeremy Thompson, who has adapted nicely to the 3-4 defense.