Taken in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, Desmond Bishop finally saw his first extensive starting role as ILB this year after Nick Barnett (wrist) went on injured reserve in October. Always falling behind first-round draft pick A.J. Hawk on the depth chart belied his perennial achievements in training camp. Bishop has a fierce, instinctive playing style that some say has boosted the defense’s overall physicality. He and Hawk complemented each other well, and Bishop practically locked in his future as a starting linebacker with a brand-new, four-year, $19 million contract extension that he signed in January.
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.
With the youth movement Packers general manager Ted Thompson infused into the Packers the past few seasons, long time veteran players have started to come at a premium. On defense, there were two that had had been around a “long” time that started in Super Bowl XLV and ironically were the only two Packers that had played in a previous Super Bowl. One was Charles Woodson.
Howard Green can thank for the Jenkins family for the 2010 season; while he started on the Redskins (only to be cut in the offseason), he was scooped by the Jets after starting nose tackle Kris Jenkins went on IR due to a ACL injury.
AJ Hawk came in as a highly touted 5th overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft. Since then, his career can be described as “steady”; drafted as the most “NFL ready” player in his draft he has been just that, he usually is assignment sure and consistent in tackling and in coverage, but many people have called him out for not being the “impact player” warranting a top 5 pick.