Casserly: Packers can upgrade on A.J. Hawk in 2015 NFL Draft

With linebacker A.J. Hawk's release from the Green Bay Packers, the club's need to address the linebacker position in the 2015 NFL Draft suddenly looks a bit different.



And according to former NFL general manager Charley Casserly, the Packers could end up not only improving at the position in the draft, but do so without using their first-round pick. On NFL Network's "Path to the Draft," Casserly identified two names to watch for: Miami's Denzel Perryman and TCU's Paul Dawson.

"Instincts, athletic ability, can cover -- he's an undersized guy, but he doesn't stay blocked," Casserly said of Perryman. "The other guy, Dawson, he didn't run well at the combine -- I timed him at 4.92. But he plays faster and quicker on tape. He's excellent between the tackles, phyical guy, downhill guy. ... These guys could be hanigng around in the draft, definite prospects for the Packers. I'd say they could be upgrades, right away, for A.J. Hawk."

Casserly suggested Perryman's size (5-10) could precipitate a draft slip that could allow the Packers to pick him at the right spot, similar to how Chris Borland slipped last year, allowing the San Francisco 49ers to draft him. Before the combine, Dawson was ranked as NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock's top linebacker in the draft, but questions about his attitude and his slower times at the combine could limit his draft stock.

Both are inside linebackers, though Casserly said Perryman could be the only one of the two who could stay on the field in substitution situations.

Hawk made 89 tackles last year, but his production was off from previous seasons.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread*

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