“I don't know if I should be intimidated or what,” said Fackrell, the third-round draft pick from Utah State.
That was before the outside linebacker had a chance to meet either of them. Since the rookie orientation camp two weeks ago, Fackrell should have become accustomed to sharing a locker area and a meeting room with them.
“I have a huge amount of respect just for what they do as players, how much sustained success they've been able to have,” Fackrell said. “I think that's the main thing I want to learn from them, what they do day to day to make them so great and that has allowed them to be so great for so long.”
The Packers picked Fackrell in part because of Peppers. The 36-year-old is entering the final season of the three-year, $26 million contract he signed in 2014. And in the pre-draft process, Fackrell said he pointed to Matthews as the type of player he wants to become in the NFL.
“I've had interviews and a lot of times it's been Clay Matthews that I've talked about, just the effort that he plays with,” Fackrell said. “Obviously he's very talented and gifted as well. But something that stands out with him is just the effort.
“And then Julius Peppers, I don't know exactly if his game can translate to mine just because he is such a beast. But there are guys around the league, there's a lot of great pass-rushers. So I think being able to actually talk to some of them, to some of the great pass-rushers here, is going to be an added benefit.”
The Packers think Fackrell, who posted 12 sacks in a little more than three seasons at Utah State, can add to their pass rush immediately, even with Peppers and Matthews in front of him.
He’s also not your typical rookie. He’ll turn 25 before his rookie season ends and was one of the oldest players in the draft. So perhaps he’ll fit in with Matthews and Peppers easier than he thinks.
“That’s a pretty humbling thing to have those future Hall of Famers right next to you,” Fackrell said. “I’m looking forward to learning from them. They’re Pro Bowlers for a reason, and that’s their work ethic and their preparation. I’ve just got to learn from them.”