The Packers may have been a dropped onside kick from playing in the Super Bowl, but allowing 157 rushing yards to Marshawn Lynch in the NFC Championship didn't help.
It also was not a one-game issue, as the Packers finished the regular season ranked 23rd in the league in run defense and have since released linebackers AJ Hawk and Brad Jones.
Kendricks lacks the bulk of a traditional 3-4 inside linebacker but his instincts, speed and ball-skills could be the quick fix GM Ted Thompson is looking for.
Strengths & Weaknesses
STRENGTHS: Like big brother Mychal (Eagles), Eric is instinctive, aggressive and a more explosive hitter than his frame suggests. Closes quickly and with force. Light on his feet. Has good agility, flexibility and balance, especially as a pass rusher. Has the quickness and fluidity to be effective in coverage.
WEAKNESSES: Compact, powerful frame but lacks ideal length. Relies on agility to avoid blockers, rarely taking them on and shedding. Scheme allowed him to run unimpeded to the ball. Highly aggressive, which can work against him.
Compares To: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks -- Too small for some schemes but Kendricks' instincts, physicality and improved awareness in coverage make him a true three-down defender with the potential to earn Pro Bowl recognition in the right defense.
--Dane Brugler & Rob Rang
Between Eric, older brother Mychal (California, Philadelphia Eagles) and father, Marvin (former UCLA and CFL running back), the Kendricks' have been terrorizing Pac-12 opponents for decades.
Eric Kendricks led the Pac-12 with 150 tackles in 2012, his first full season as starter for the Bruins. Voted a team captain last year, Kendricks again led the team in tackles (106) despite the fact that he missed two games and was limited in a variety of others due to lingering shoulder and ankle issues.
Kendricks capped off his spectacular career by earning the Butkus Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy, leading the country with 101 solo tackles among 149 total stops.
Critics can quibble about the talent surrounding him at UCLA, but Kendricks is a football magnet with his instinctive read-react quickness and relentless motor to finish.
He lacks a "wow" skill set but routinely shows up at the ball and is a highly underrated prospect, worthy of top 50 consideration.
ERIC KENDRICKS tops the list -per CBS Sports
Packers sign ILB JOSH FRANCIS
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Packers have gone a different route to add to their depth at inside linebacker, announcing the signing of Josh Francis, who most recently played for the Wichita Falls Nighthawks of the Indoor Football League. In 2014, Francis was on the roster of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
Francis began his college football career at Lackawanna College in Pennsylvania before playing his final two years at West Virginia. He had 54 tackles, including a team-high 15 for a loss, with 4.5 sacks as a senior in 2012 when he was a Big 12 honorable mention selection by the media.
Francis, 6-foot and 238 pounds, will be recognized as a first-year player with the Packers. He previously had a tryout with the Lions in their rookie minicamp in May 2013.
Green Bay recently released veteran inside linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones already this offseason, making an already weak position now lack any depth.
Before signing Francis, the Packers' only inside linebackers under contract for next season were Sam Barrington and Carl Bradford.
At 6-0, 238, Josh is almost identical in size to Eric Kendricks, Paul Dawson, and Mike Hull, three highly-rated ILBs in this 2015 Draft, as well as 2010 ILB Navorro Bowman and 2012 draftee Bobby Wagner of the Seahawks. So size is NOT an issue, whatsoever.
Josh can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/iamROADCLOSED
Packer fans, give him a heartfelt welcome. He's a good dude and has some legit ability. Remember the paths that guys like Kurt Warner, London Fletcher, Sam Mills, and James Harrison took. Not everyone makes it big right away.
03/24/13 - 2013 West Virginia Pro Day:
Josh Francis, OLB (5-11 3/4, 228)
- Francis is a really good athlete that will find himself in demand in the latter stages of the draft or as a high-priority undrafted free agent.
The linebacker clocked in at 4.77 and 4.72 seconds for the 40-yard dash. He measured a 10-foot-5 in the broad jump and pumped out 25 strength lifts.
He’s the kind of athlete that will make a good special teams player.
- Gil Brandt, NFL.com
BULAGA staying, reaches 5-year deal
COBB staying put, reaches 4-year deal for $40 Million
HOUSE leaves for Jacksonville
BARCLAY, RICARDSON, and BANJO tendered
BOYKIN & DuJUAN HARRIS not
The Packers kept their 2 high-priority free agents today and yesterday with Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb choosing to stay in Green Bay, for less money than offered elsewhere, apparently.
But Davon House received an offer from Jacksonville that he couldn't refuse, so he's been lost to the Jaguars.
That might increase the chances that the Packers will pay the price to keep Tramon Williams as Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson probably do not want to lose two veteran starting-quality cornerbacks at the same time, especially with how Sam Shields missed some time last year with a non-contact knee injury.
Jarrett Boykin only caught three passes last season, with the rookie
Davante Adams taking hold of the #3 WR spot.
Jared Abbrederis was expected to be a factor too, but he tore his ACL
before preseason started. The third rookie WR from last year, Jeff Janis,
might be a factor too this year. So they felt that Boykin was expendable
and they may be right.
Still, look for the Packers to draft at least one WR, probably a speed guy
who can help at kick return, where DuJuan Harris bogged things down
last year. Harris was not tendered, so it seems his days as a Packer
Ted Thompson doesn't wait for the draft to bolster his team. Thompson recently signed Josh Francis, inside linebacker from West Virginia by way of Wichita Falls & Winnipeg of the Indoor and CFL leagues.
Josh took a moment in between workouts to answer some questions from our Brian Murphy and allow Packer Nation a chance to get to know him. Q & A here