ROUND 1 PICK 26 (f/Baltimore through New England) - OLB Clay Matthews (USC)

I think the other thing to consider is that in this scheme it allows a guy like Matthews to do what he does best- rush off the edge and be disruptive around the line of scrimmage. He sort of did the same thing with USC and was used the same way from what I recall.

If they played a traditional 4-3 I don't know that he would be nearly as effective, but right now I'm not complaining. After seeing guys like Bustin Harrell and Pat Lee do nothing for this team it's good to see guys like Matthews and Raji and even Brad Jones stepping up.
It's very early, but yes, I think Matthews looks not only like he was worthy of a late #1 pick, but worth Thompson trading up for. We deperately needed a full-time OLB for our new 3-4 defense (good against both run and pass). If we hadn't traded up and kept our 2nd round pick (#41), here's who we could have had instead: Everette Brown (went at #43 to Carolina), Clint Sintim (#45 - Giants) or Connor Barwin (#46 - Houston).

Brown was an excellent pass rusher in college, but bad against the run (another KGB) and scouts questioned his ability to be a 3-4 LB (play in space/defend the pass). What McGinn's NFL scouts said: "This kid doesn't play the run at all. Just weak and non-competitive..." Brown a back-up to Peppers as a 4-3 DE.

Sintim read just OK. Good against run and pass, played in a 3-4, but instincts and overall production questioned. My friend who's a Giants fan says Sintim has hardly seen the field this year, and is a back-up LB in a 4-3 to Danny Clark (who?).

Barwin, like Brown, was a projection to 3-4 LB, and many thought he was drafted too high on his athletic potential. He's now a back-up 4-3 DE in Houston.

FYI, there were only two LBs taken in round 3: DeAndre Levy (Detroit, 4-3 back-up LB) and Tyrone McKenzie (ILB in New England's 3-4, put on IR in pre-season). Neither read one bit like a 3-4 rush LB.

Bottom line, we got the only true 3-4 run/pass OLB available at the time, and so far he's proving to be a quality starter with huge upside. I think this is looking more and more like one of Thompson's very best moves.



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