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Clay Matthews: Packers' OLB depth 'not that great'

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The Green Bay Packers changed defensive coordinators and overhauled the secondary this offseason. New general manager Brian Gutekunst, however, mostly ignored the outside-linebacker spot.

The Packers waited until the 248th pick in the draft to select an outside linebacker, Kendall Donnerson, and didn't add an edge rusher in free agency. Green Bay had a chance to snatch a top pass rusher in the draft but instead decided to trade down and pick up a future first-round selection.

Behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, both of whom missed games due to injury last season, sits a thin outside linebacker group composed of Kyler Fackrell, Vince Biegel and Reggie Gilbert.

"Well, I wasn't surprised with the first two picks; I'll go ahead and say that," Matthews said of the Packers taking corners with their top two draft selections, via ESPN's Rob Demovsky.

"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."

The Packers struggled to get after the quarterback consistently in 2017, ranking 17th in the NFL with 37 sacks. Green Bay is counting on Matthews, who has compiled fewer than eight sacks each of the past three seasons, having a career renaissance under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

"At the same time, it does show their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have," Matthews added. "At some time, I'm sure it will be addressed, but for the time being, the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain."

With one of the best 3-4 defensive line trios in Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark and Muhammad Wilkerson, Green Bay is counting on interior penetration to make up where the outside group lacks.

With Aaron Rodgers' return from injury, on paper, the Packers' roster has few holes outside the glaring one at edge rusher. Green Bay is hoping the lack of depth behind the injury-prone Perry and Matthews doesn't come back to haunt them in 2018.

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