Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy on Packers LB Ty’Ron Hopper: ‘He’ll Run And Hit’

The Green Bay Packers used a third-round pick on Missouri linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper, who brings speed and physicality to the defense and special teams.
Missouri LB Ty'Ron Hopper celebrates against Kansas State.
Missouri LB Ty'Ron Hopper celebrates against Kansas State. / Abigail Landwehr/Tribune / USA TODAY
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy shared the same view of Missouri linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper, the second of the team’s third-round picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.

“He’ll run and hit,” Nagy told Packer Central this week. “The guy can run and he’ll put his face on you. That’s the bottom line. That’s what I like about him. I’ve been watching him since he was at Florida and he’s gotten better each year. 

“So, they added speed at linebacker, physicality. If he starts off on special teams, he’s going to be really good there.”

Gutekunst double-dipped at linebacker after making Texas A&M’s Edgerrin Cooper the first linebacker off the board with a second-round pick.

Even with the release of De’Vondre Campbell, the Packers brought back a veteran core. Former draft picks Quay Walker (first round, 2022) and Isaiah McDuffie (sixth round, 2021) are back as projected starters in the 4-3 base defense, and Gutekunst re-signed Eric Wilson and Kristian Welch in free agency.

However, McDuffie, Wilson and Welch will be free agents next offseason, so picking Hopper was about 2025 as much as 2024.

“Not only will they help on defense, but I think special teams, as well,” Gutekunst said of Cooper and Hopper. “As we move into this new defense where maybe we have a few more linebacker body types, these are exactly the kind of guys that we’re looking for – the guys that can run and hit.”

The shared language between Gutekunst and Nagy is “special teams” and “run and hit.”

With three seasons at Florida and two at Missouri, Hopper played 468 snaps on special teams, according to Pro Football Focus. That included 132 snaps on kickoff coverage and 83 on punt coverage. Size and physicality are the essence of the kicking units.

At the Scouting Combine, Hopper measured 6-foot-1 3/4 and 231 pounds. He did run at the Combine but he did at pro day. The time listed at The Athletic is 4.68 seconds. Gutekunst said the team’s time was the “high” 4.5s.

“He ran fast, so that was pretty good for us, and he’s an explosive athlete,” Gutekunst said, no doubt alluding to excellent numbers in the vertical jump (36 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 4 inches). “He runs fast on tape, he ran fast for us on the watch, so it all came together.”

Hopper started four games for the Gators in 2021 before starting 22 of his 23 appearances at Missouri. He had 5.5 sacks, 20.5 tackles for losses and eight passes defensed in those two seasons.

“He’s really physical,” Gutekunst said. “He can run, but his stopping power when he takes on blockers is pretty impressive. Very serious-minded guy, I think he really helped change that defense.

“The Missouri defense this year was excellent. They had a number of good players, but I think they’re very well-coached there. (It’s) another one of those programs where we felt really good about taking somebody out of that program because of how they do things there. But his stopping power as a tackler was really impressive.”

That coaching was done by Mizzou linebackers coach D.J. Smith, who was a sixth-round pick by the Packers in 2011.

“He hasn’t played the position long,” Smith told Packer Central. “He was a safety in high school. He started the last four games in 2021 at Florida, then played the two full years with us as a starter. His best football’s ahead of him. He just needs more reps. Just playing the position, with what he’s done so far, I think he’s on the right track.”

That’s what the Packers are betting on in grabbing Hopper, who missed the final three games of the season with a shoulder injury that prevented him from competing at the Senior Bowl. At worst, Hopper could be in a position to start in 2025.

“A fast linebacker that runs and hits,” Nagy said, “that’s what most teams are looking for.”

Ty'Ron Hopper at the Scouting Combine
Ty'Ron Hopper at the Scouting Combine / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Bill Huber


Bill Huber, who has covered the Green Bay Packers since 2008, is the publisher of Packer Central, a Sports Illustrated channel. E-mail: History: Huber took over Packer Central in August 2019. Twitter: Background: Huber graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he played on the football team, in 1995. He worked in newspapers in Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells and Shawano before working at The Green Bay News-Chronicle and Green Bay Press-Gazette from 1998 through 2008. With The News-Chronicle, he won several awards for his commentaries and page design. In 2008, he took over as editor of Packer Report Magazine, which was founded by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke, and In 2019, he took over the new Sports Illustrated site Packer Central, which he has grown into one of the largest sites in the Sports Illustrated Media Group.