Advertisement

What draft experts said about new Packers linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper

Preparing to transition to a 4-3 defense next season, the Green Bay Packers added another off-ball linebacker in Missouri’s Ty’Ron Hopper at No. 91 overall during the third round.

Hopper started his career at Florida but transferred after three seasons. In two years with the Tigers, he totaled 132 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, seven pass break-ups, one interception, and one forced fumble. Hopper has the desired size and physical traits for an NFL linebacker, but his struggles to get off blocks and sub-par processing skills make him a developmental project. At the very least, he should be able to help Green Bay’s ailing special teams unit early on.

Here’s what several prominent draft analysts said about Hopper during the pre-draft process:

Dane Brugler, The Athletic

“A two-year starter at Missouri, Hopper played Will linebacker in defensive coordinator Blake Baker’s 4-2-5 base scheme. After struggling to find a regular role at Florida, he transferred and averaged 5.8 tackles per game in two seasons with Missouri, earning All-SEC honors as a senior. With his initial quickness and rangy speed, Hopper aggressively responds to ball carriers and pass catchers and closes in a hurry. However, he lacks the play strength desired for an every-down role and needs to improve his block awareness. Overall, Hopper needs to be more consistent at the point of attack and as a finisher, but he is a fast-flowing athlete with the pursuit skills and blitzing talent to find a home in the NFL. He projects as a run-and-chase rotational linebacker with the skill set for special teams.”

Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

“An off-ball linebacker with length, speed and agility, Hopper is lacking in field vision and instincts. He can be a step late to diagnose play design and has moments where he looks lost in coverage. Hopper has sideline-to-sideline range and plenty of physicality to hit what needs to be hit. There are holes in his game that can be exploited, but he has traits and should get a chance as an NFL backup with special teams value.”

PFF draft guide

“Hopper is a roaming middle linebacker who plays with ideal play speed. He has good explosiveness and natural athleticism. However, his lack of arm length and overall weight will raise the question as to whether he can take on blocks consistently at the next level. He has good a rip move when trying to get by blockers in pass-rush situations. In coverage, he moves well enough to have some responsibility there, but he is too overaggressive, which can lead to bigger throwing windows against him.”

Bleacher Report Scouting Department

“At a high level, Ty’Ron Hopper is a solid coverage linebacker who could contribute on special teams in the NFL. He has impressive speed and movement skills which show up the most in man coverage against running backs and tight ends. He can also close in a hurry and can be an asset as a blitzer on third downs.

Against the run, Hopper has impressive sideline-to-sideline range against outside runs and is physical when coming downhill, but he lacks the size and strength to hold his ground against offensive linemen. That leads to him having to work around blocks, which will be more difficult against more athletic linemen in the NFL.

Overall, the Missouri product can be a solid rotational linebacker as a “Will” in even fronts for a team that runs a lot of man coverage. His speed and willingness to throw his body around can be an asset on special teams, which he has experience doing at Florida, but he didn’t participate on many special teams over the last two seasons after transferring.”

The Draft Network

“Missouri’s Ty’Ron Hopper has been one of the most productive linebackers in college football over the last few years. Hopper originally started his career at the University of Florida, where he excelled before transferring to Missouri for his final two years.

Hopper aligned as an off-ball backer in Missouri’s even front defense. He is primarily used as the weak-side backer to the field where he can utilize his speed and range. Hopper is an excellent athlete with very good quickness, speed, and change of direction. He has good length and height overall but could stand to get stronger in his lower half.

In the run game, Hopper displays very good eyes and instincts. He is quick to read and key run and has the speed and burst to beat blockers to the spot and make a play on the ball-carrier. Hopper is very much a run-and-chase linebacker who has excellent sideline-to-sideline speed rather than a downhill thumper. Hopper has just average take-on strength and struggles to shed blocks. He gets driven back when ensuing linemen reach the second level and connect with him. Hopper’s burst and closing speed allow him to make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage and he can knife through the line of scrimmage with ease.

Hopper is a high-energy player who plays with an outstanding motor and never gives up on a play. Hopper’s athleticism really stands out in the pass game as well. He is a smooth and fluid mover when dropping into zone coverage and has the quickness to close on receivers entering his zone. He has an excellent feel in zone coverage and can play the football as well. In man coverage, Hopper displays the speed and quickness to stick with most tight ends and has the length to be competitive at the catch point.

Overall, Hopper is what you want in a linebacker in today’s NFL and can excel in both the run game and pass game.”

Chris Congemo, 33rd Team

“Ty’Ron Hopper has true WILL/MIKE potential, but his athleticism and ability in coverage projects him better as a WILL full-time. However, he has enough willingness to take on blockers, stoutness, and shed ability to work in the trenches as a MIKE if asked, especially for his size. He needs to improve his overall tackling ability, but he can make plays all over the field with his range, speed, and pursuit. In coverage, Hopper flows around the field fluidly. In zone, he gets width and/or depth easily, and covers ground quickly. He can pick up backs out of the backfield with effectiveness, but shows sufficient ability in true man coverage on tight ends. On 3rd downs, his ability as a blitzer can be used to get pressure on the quarterback. His traits and extensive ST experience lend itself well to his ability to contribute at the next level.”

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire