The Green Bay Packers recently met with Auburn’s K.J. Britt virtually and at the Senior Bowl as well, and there seems to be interest from both sides. Britt could be the key to bolstering the run and helping out on special teams.
He was a four-star recruit and considered the 15th-best linebacker in the class of 2017 coming out of Oxford High School, but he saw little to no playing time at linebacker in his first two years at Auburn. Britt got on the field in garbage time and showed promise, but most of his action during that stretch came on special teams.
He became a full-time starter two years ago and made the most of the opportunity. In 2019, Britt recorded 68 total tackles, 10 of which were for loss. He was a stout defender and rarely let anyone run past him, regularly blowing running backs up at or behind the line of scrimmage. As a result, he earned first-team all-SEC nods.
Unfortunately for Britt, he suffered a season-ending thumb injury two games into his senior year. The all-SEC linebacker suddenly became overlooked by scouts and fell down draft boards everywhere, even though he could provide a lot for any team that drafts him.
Despite his injury, Britt was still able to play at the Senior Bowl, where he was voted the best linebacker by his teammates in Mobile, Ala. Not only does Britt have the skillset and track record to be an NFL linebacker, he also offers excellent leadership qualities and grit to the team that drafts him.
The biggest knock on Britt is that he couldn’t earn a starting spot until his junior year, but that ignores essential context about his situation. Auburn had a very talented SEC linebacking core for Britt’s first two years — that he touched the field at all during that time is impressive. With two years to learn behind other linebackers, his time as a backup may have benefited him in the long run.
At 6’, 243 lbs., Britt is the perfect size for an NFL linebacker. He has the play recognition and work ethic to succeed at the next level, although his speed and pass coverage may hold him back at the next level. On one of Florida’s first offensive plays against Auburn two years ago, Britt got smoked on a simple slant route, which current Seattle Seahawks receiver Freddie Swain took to the house.
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Although Swain has elite speed, it’s still no excuse for a draft prospect to get beat in a foot race that badly. If Britt wants to be successful at the next level, he needs to improve this aspect of his game drastically.
He may remind longtime football fans of the old-school, slow, hard-hitting, in-your-face linebackers that we used to love. However, the NFL has adapted to smaller, faster linebackers who are more built around coverage than run-stopping. Britt’s old-school style will endear him to some coaches but make others shy away from him.
Just as Britt played on special teams at Auburn, expect whichever team drafts him to use him in the same way. With his experience on that unit and his hard-hitting style, he could be a key component on the Packers’ poor kickoffs and kick-return units.
Britt is a project player. But given time to develop, he could turn into a quality NFL linebacker.