Green Bay Packers get defensive on third day of NFL Draft

CHICAGO — The Packers got defensive again on the third day of the NFL draft.

They bolstered depth for a front seven that has had some offseason turnover, and even added an inside linebacker with Clay Matthews headed back outside for more pass-rushing duties again.

Matthews will probably like the selection Saturday of Stanford inside linebacker Blake Martinez with the 131st overall pick, a compensatory selection in the fourth round.

"Clay prefers to play outside," said Eliot Wolf, director of football operations with the Packers. "Anytime you can add someone to facilitate that, that's a good thing."

Six picks later, Green Bay used another compensatory selection to take Dean Lowry, a 6-foot-6 defensive lineman from Northwestern.

They'll join first-rounder Kenny Clark, a tackle from UCLA, and third-rounder Kyler Fackrell, an outside linebacker from Utah State, among general manager Ted Thompson's defensive selections.

It's not necessarily how the Packers thought the draft would go.

"A lot of times that's just the way the board works out," Wolf said.

Inside linebacker might have been their biggest need left going into Day 3 of the draft. Coach Mike McCarthy would like Matthews to play more on the outside again after being used inside to help stop the run.

Like any good prospect, Martinez looked at depth charts to try to figure out which team might need inside linebacker help. His father bought gear for all 32 teams, just to be safe, so Martinez would be ready for his post-draft picture.

His mother had other ideas.

"She was always telling me throughout the process, she was like, 'I believe you're going to end up at the Packers,'" Martinez said. "And obviously it was just a lucky guess type of thing. ... My mom said right after, 'Moms are always right.'"

The 6-foot-2 Martinez will look to compete for playing time with returnees Jake Ryan, a fourth-round pick last year, and Sam Barrington, who missed most of last season with a foot injury. He was productive at Stanford, where he led the Pac-12 Conference with 10.1 tackles a game.

An scouting report listed Martinez with a 40-yard dash time of 4.71 seconds. It's a fraction of a second quicker than Alabama's Reggie Ragland, who was taken in the second round by Buffalo, and had been thought to be a potential first-round pick for the Packers.

That speed should help if the Packers look at Martinez as a potential linebacker on passing downs to cover tight ends down the seam.

Lowry, of Rockford, Illinois, said he comes from a family with loyalties divided between the Packers and Bears. They might all need to switch to green and gold now. Wolf saw him primarily as a hand-in-the-dirt lineman in the Packers' 3-4 scheme, and liked the 290-pound Lowry's athleticism and flexibility.

"But he's built low to the ground and he's a versatile guy — rush the passer and play the run," Wolf said.

In the first round, Packers took Clark to fill a need left after veteran tackle B.J. Raji deciding to take a one-year hiatus from the game.

Wolf on Saturday confirmed that free agent Mike Neal, a veteran outside linebacker, would not return. Green Bay added Fackrell to the position, while re-signing Nick Perry to a one-year deal.

Matthews is one of the game's top pass-rushers, while lineman Datone Jones could play more as a stand-up edge rusher this year. Veteran Julius Peppers is entering the final year of a three-year deal, while backup Jayrone Elliott could also see more time in the pass-rush rotation.

In the fifth round, the Packers drafted 6-2 receiver Trevor Davis, who the Packers clocked as having run the 40-yard dash at about 4.3 seconds. He'll join a crowded receivers room that will be bolstered by the return of veteran Jordy Nelson from a knee injury.