"I feel like I was as good as any linebacker in this draft," Manning told the Packers' official website. "I'm looking to prove that."
Boston College product Luke Kuechly was the first linebacker drafted, going to the Carolina Panthers with the ninth overall pick. Other linebackers selected before Manning include Alabama's Dont'a Hightower (picked 25th overall by the New England Patriots) and Courtney Upshaw (picked 35th overall by the Baltimore Ravens) and North Carolina's Zach Brown (picked 52nd overall by the Tennessee Titans).
"It was just a situation where we felt a player was being undervalued a little bit," Packers general manager Ted Thompson told the website. "We didn't know how long he would be undervalued."
The website reported that the team, which runs a 3-4 defensive scheme, is planning to have Manning play inside linebacker, even though he spent his college career on the weak side. Inside linebackers coach Winston Moss also told the site that Manning will do well blitzing and in pass coverage.
"Hopefully, he's going to have a mindset that he's going to come in here and challenge," Moss told the website. "If he's not prepared to be a starter-type linebacker for us, then we're getting the wrong guy."