Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Frank Zombo All Green Bay Packers All the Time

1) Introduction: Frank Zombo was one of eleven undrafted free agents signed during the 2010 offseason, and he was the only one of four LBs in that group to make the 53-man roster. He came from Central Michigan, where he started at DE for three years and recorded 25.5 career sacks – second most in CMU history. The Packers signed him as an OLB, making him part of the revolving list of players at the ill-fated position. A serviceable starter with a good pass rush, Zombo’s knee injury against the Lions in Week 14 sidelined him for six weeks. He returned to health in time to start in Super Bowl XLV.

2) Profile:

Frank Zombo

Position: LB
Height: 6-3    Weight: 254 lbs.

Born: March 5, 1987 in Sterling Heights, MI
College: Central Michigan (school history)

3) Expectations coming into the season: As an undrafted free agent in competition with a number of other OLBs, Frank Zombo’s expectations for the team weren’t terribly high among fans. The coaches, however, seemed to see something in Zombo’s play that they liked. Throughout preseason, Zombo remained in the rotation of potential OLBs to start opposite Clay Matthews. After the final cut to the 53-man roster, Zombo found himself as one of only four OLBs kept by the Packers. He showed some bright flashes in the preseason games and was close enough to the top of the depth chart to almost be guaranteed some playing time during the regular season.

4) Highlights / Lowlights: One year removed from being a DE in college, Zombo didn’t really have any “spectacular” games during the season. He did, however, rank fourth on the team in sacks (5) and sixth in pressures (14). Zombo’s lowest point of the year was, of course, the injury that kept him out for six critical games of the season. (Runner up was his untimely helmet-to-helmet hit on Jay Cutler in Week 3.)

5) Contributions to the overall team success: For the money they paid him, the Packers got just what they were looking for in Frank Zombo. Primarily, he served as a competent pass-rusher to perform across from Clay Matthews. Despite his large room for overall improvement, Zombo did get better as the season progressed, and he wasn’t someone opposing offenses could just forget about.

6) Contributions during the end-of-season 6-game run: After being injured in Week 14 against the Lions, Zombo remained out of action for five of the six-game home stretch. (Erik Walden played in his stead.) Fortunately, he was able to return for the Super Bowl when the injury bug hit Walden in the NFC Championship Game. And he actually performed admirably against the Steelers. He ranked fourth in tackles (5 – all of them solo), made two tackles for losses, and was the only player to sack Ben Roethlisberger.

Season Report Card:

(B) Level of expectations met during the season

(C) Contributions to team’s overall success

(D+) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)

Overall Grade for the Year: (C)


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


11 thoughts on “Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – Frank Zombo

  1. A “C” grade for a rookie player who was undrafted out of college and had to step in and learn on the fly due to an injury to Jones is impressive. He has work to do to improve his overall game, but he was servicable and has a high ceiling. May not be a starter next season, but he can serve as a solid backup

    1. “He has work to do to improve his overall game, but he was servicable and has a high ceiling. May not be a starter next season, but he can serve as a solid backup.”

      Could not agree more.

    2. I wouldn’t use the word “impressive” to describe a C player. He was serviceable and with more development, will be a solid backup in the NFL.

  2. I know the the popular line of thought is that TT goes after a playmaking OLB in the draft to bookend opposite Matthews, but I wouldn’t be surprised if TT stands pat with what he’s got- a player in Brad Jones that does everything you ask a 3-4 OLB to do well enough right now, and that he hopes will develop into a good one (an NFC scout commented “how did we miss this kid?” after the ’09 season), and two situational players in Zombo and Walden that have their own particular strong suits to complement the defense when the situation calls for it.

    Zombo could end up in a role like many other Packers have found themselves in- not so much a “backup” in the conventional sense of the word, but a specialist who plays in situational defenses, as Capers has shown a propensity to do with his personnel and formations based on opponent and down and distance.

    1. I should specify, I don’t think TT will completely shun OLB’s in the draft, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he looked for another mid-to-late round bargain player for that role as opposed to taking an early-rounder.

      1. Nothing TT does should surprise us. Remember just last draft with the supposed dire need for a CB and he doesn’t even draft one in the later rounds. So, I also wouldn’t be surprised if he thinks he has enough at the OLB spot, however, I hope someone falls in his lap he has to take.

  3. The most “impressive” thing about Zombo was how after missing 6 weeks he didn’t “miss a beat” in the defense when he came back.He played at least to the standard before his injury,so “regression” may be a minimal worry in the future as he “progresses”.
    So for that I give him a c+ in playoff category and c+ overall.

    1. Good point. I was a bit worried about him being thrown back in there cold in the Super Bowl, but I wasn’t worried it would have a major effect on the defense. As we now know, it was all “just fine.”

  4. What a advantageous problem to have.I think Zombo was and can be a solid starter.An improvement on 5 sacks and 14 pressures would make for a solid season.I share Taryn’s opinion that Zombo had an impressive Super Bowl magnified by the six games he missed.Unless a top OLB prospect falls to us this should not be addressed in the draft.

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