Happy Draft-Eve fellow Packers fans!!! As a Packers fan, draft day is very exciting, probably more exciting than most teams.
Done a little differently than most mock drafts, I put a list of multiple names together that I would like to see the Packers take in rounds 1-7. Read, discuss, critique and overall enjoy.
Immediate Team Needs:
D-Line: The Packers need to add more depth to the defensive line. Pickett is another year older and has 1 remaining year on his contract, Raji is overused and tired, Neal is just getting there and Worthy is now injured and unsure about the 2013 season.
RB: This is the year the Packers need to look at a starting runningback. A good runningback would add so much more to this offense.
O-Line: The center position is the main need here as I don't believe EDS is a reliable player for an entire season. Tackle can also be a position of need as Bulaga is coming off injury and everything after him is average to below average.
Other Team Needs:
OLB: At the moment, Clay Matthews is all the Packers have at OLB. Nick Perry is an unproven starter and is coming off an injury. He showed flashes but who knows what happens next season. If he goes down (or Matthews), next in line is Dezman Moses.
TE: Packers have plenty, but the majority are not worthy starters. Finley is in a contract year and he either underachieves again or does exceptionally well, leaving him asking for a payday the Packers may not be able to afford.
WR: Greg Jennings is gone and James Jones is on a contract year. Behind Nelson, Jones and Cobb are two players with potential. Wouldn't hurt to add some competition to this unit.
Changes: I've taken safety out of the "needs" category. I believe McMillian and Jennings played good enough football to warrant another year of competition. I also think anything past a 1st round choice at safety is a waste as they will bring the same to the table as what the Packers currently have.
1st round- 26th pick
I believe the Packers should use this pick on one thing and one thing only...a defensive playmaker.
Sylvester Williams (DT- UNC)- Williams gives the Packers a big body on the defensive line that is much needed. With his size and nastiness in the trenches, Williams attracts double teams and that is just what the Packers' linebackers need.
Jonathan Hankins (DT-Ohio State)- Hankins may be a reach here at pick 26, but he is sure to go early in the 2nd round if anything. He won't bring to the table what Sylvester Williams can bring but he is still a very good player that can add the depth needed on the ailing defensive line. The big positive to Hankins is he is a tough run defender, which the Packers are in desperate need of.
Its about time Ted Thompson drafted THE right guy for this unit. He hasn't had very much luck the past few years, aside from BJ Raji.
Trade Down- Packers don't see value at #26 and trade out of 1st round. This can happen with a team desperate for a QB.
Tyler Eifert (TE- Notre Dame)- Maybe the Packers bite and take an offensive playmaker. Finley is on his contract year and there is nothing reliable enough behind him if he doesn't get re-signed or has a breakout year and demands too much money.
2nd round- 55th pick
Le'Veon Bell (RB- Michigan State)- Now is the time for the Packers to take a runningback that can be the full-time starter. DuJuan Harris is the best the Packers have right now. Alex Green hasn't become what the Packers needed, James Starks can't stay healthy, Ryan Grant is Ryan Grant and that's all that needs to be said. Enter Le'Veon Bell, who would be a great compliment and change of pace from DuJuan Harris. Bell was undervalued going into college and will be undervalued going into the NFL.
Jesse Williams (DT- Alabama)- Williams is a big boy that would allow Raji to bounce out to defensive end. Williams doesn't possess much of a pass rush but that isn't what the Packers are looking for from their big men. Williams can stuff the run up the middle with his size and strength. Williams needs to add more tricks to his bag of moves as only possessing strength won't cut it in the NFL.
Barrett Jones (C- Alabama)- Since having the Lisfranc injury at the end of last season and foot surgery in January, his draft stock might make him slip this far. With that said, Jones has the intelligence needed at center and while some might say he isn't a mauler, I call bluff. He has a nasty streak to his play and is a true interior lineman. I believe he is top 3 lineman in the draft due to his ability to play ANY offensive line position.
Zach Ertz (TE- Stanford)
3rd round- 88th pick
Montee Ball (RB- Wisconsin)- Ball is a tough zone runner who doesn't shy away from any contact. He would fit well in the Packers running scheme as well as the passing game as he can catch out of the backfield and has exceptional pass blocking in the backfield. At the 88th pick, Ball would be a steal. The only downfall is the wear and tear he already has from his college days. That won't be an issue as DuJuan Harris can help with some carries.
Travis Frederick (C- Wisconsin)- I have zero faith in Evan Dietrich Smith to play an entire season at center. He was acceptable in the 2012 season, but he was replacing an empty gas tank in Jeff Saturday. Frederick is a big bodied, B1G 10 offensive lineman and most experts are expecting him to be better than other Wisconsin pros, Peter Konz and Kevin Zeitler.
Jamie Collins (OLB- Southern Miss)
4th round- 122nd pick
Kenny Stills (WR- Oklahoma)- Leave it up to the current wide receivers to fill the gap Greg Jennings is leaving. Stills can come into an already-stacked wide receiver team, learn a little bit (he declared as a junior), and maybe make some impact in later years. Fast and agile, Stills would add another slot option for the Packers.
David Quessenberry (OT- San Jose St)- If Quessenberry falls to this round/pick, take him. This is another offensive lineman that has the ability to play different positions along the offensive line. He has played center, guard and tackle and is mostly suited for the tackle position.
Cobi Hamilton (WR- Arkansas)
5th round- 159th pick and 167th pick
Lerentee McCray (OLB- Florida)- Adding depth to this position with this choice. McCray would be able to come in and add some special teams play while learning behind one of the best, Clay Matthews. Packers need depth here as Dezman Moses is the only true option behind Nick Perry (coming off injury) and Clay Matthews.
Lawrence Okoye (DE/DT- Nowhere)- Untapped potential in this kid from England. Literally, untapped. He has never played a down of football in his life. He opened some eyes at the Atlanta Regional Combine and then had an additional workout for some scouts. This guy is a monster, standing at 6'5" and 305 pounds. Give him a helmet and let him play. Adds potential depth to the defensive line and there have been much worse 5th round choices than this.
Tyrann Mathieu (CB- LSU)- Assuming he falls this far, take the chance.
6th round- 193rd pick
Braxston Cave (C- Notre Dame)- A developmental player to add to the squad, Cave would require some practice and an off-season to be a starter in the NFL. This would be a pick the Packers would make if they trusted in EDS, which I don't think they do.
Micah Hyde (CB- Iowa)- Seeing as the Packers do not have a true immediate need at corner, Hyde could be a good addition to plug in and learn for a couple years. The other positive about Hyde is that he has some decent experience playing at the safety position. This could be a valuable pick if he were able to test both positions on the Packers.
7th round- 232nd pick
Kwame Geathers (DT- Georgia)- While it may be unrealistic that he sits all the way till the 7th round to be picked up due to his size alone (6'6"-345 pounds), this is where he is being projected. He may need some work to get any type of quality playing time, but for the time being he would be a reasonable rotation guy at NT.
Charles Johnson (WR- Grand Valley State)- For a little nastalgia here, back in 1999 there was a small-school receiver selected in the 7th round out of Alcorn State University and he turned out to be one helluva player for the Packers. Just saying...
If Johnson had performed at the combine, he would have top categories in almost every drill. With the speed of a 4.38- 40 yard dash, Johnson can also be a significant help on special teams, which the Packers love.