3 weeks from now, we will be able to analyze the Packers draft and predict the role of each of our drafted players. We will also be able to assess the needs of the Packers roster post the draft and the signing of undrafted FA's. We'll focus on potential UFA's that the Packers should look at to ensure competition at each position.
The beauty of the weeks leading up to the draft is that as an avid, active member of the G-Force, I can alter the motives of the Packers as I put together mock drafts. I've spent the last four days of my life in Las Vegas. I was able to purchase some quality NFL Draft Preview information to ease the flight across the country. Michael Franti on the iPod coupled with the Draft Preview and I'm set for a journey. While on the plane, I was able to conjure another rendition of the '08 Packers mock draft. I decided to take a new outlook. For the most part, I was going to look at players that I have not discussed in previous takes.
I was also going to engage in some high quality NFL Draft conversations as I visited with members of Robert Half International from around the globe. Literally, I spoke with fans from nearly every NFL team. One thing was consistent - almost EVERY team wants to trade down, which tells me that the value attached to this years 1st round pick pales in comparison to previous years. Therefore, after much trepidation, I've composed this mock draft:
Round 1: It's tough to hide the Packers need for a 3rd CB. As of now, the Packers have 3 players on the roster that are competing for this position: J-Bush, Willie B., and T-Man Williams. Bush should no longer be on the roster. Willie B. has shown that he is unreliable to due to durability issues. T-Man has grown mightily over the last year. I'm excited about his prospects and I think that he can grow into a solid CB, however this position is a clear need for the Packers as - at this stage - T-Man has not displayed that he is ready to step into a starting role should either Chuckie or Al go down with injury.
It was interesting to read that McCarthy is expressing confidence in the Packers Guard position. In fact, while reading his comments, I got the feeling that he is excited about the competition at Guard. Allen Barbre sounds like he has the ability to be that punishing short yardage run blocker that we have lacked over the last two years.
I remain enamored with a number of WR's that may be available when the Packers select. No matter how well A-Rod plays, he is our QB for the next 2 years. If I were Ted Thompson, I would want to ensure that I surrounded A-Rod with as many play makers as possible to position him for success. I still maintain that if Thomas, Sweed, Kelly, or Jackson is available, the Packers should select him.
I have read that Aqib Talib is slipping down draft boards. If available, he'd be a tremendous 1st round pick for the Packers. I feel the same way about Calais Campbell and Felix Jones, but both would have to draft down draft boards in order to fall into the Packers lap. Also, is this pick too early for Jamaal Charles? Originally Charles was thought of as a 2nd-3rd round pick, but now I read that he could be a late 1st-early 2nd round pick.
In this version of the mock draft, I'm going to assume that all desired WR's are off the board. Additionally, Campbell, Jones, and Talib are off the board. If so, I'm looking at either Antoine Cason or Kenny Phillips Cason will not only add spice to our DB, but he will also step in as our PR if Willie B. is unable to perform. When Cason has his hands on the ball, he's thinking 6 points. However, I'm going to select Kenny Phillips. Phillips will add another threat to our S position. Nick Collins has been a disappointment. Aaron Rouse was extremely impressive, but I question his upside. Phillips could become an elite S. Yes, he's a risk, but this draft is rich with CB depth and I'm thinking that the Packers might be able to add two CB's between the 2nd and 4th rounds. I'm not giving up on Nick Collins, I'm just stretching him to see how elastic he is and to see how he would react to competition.
Round 2a: We look to find our 3rd CB with this selection. Terrell Thomas is a possibility. I liked his game at USC, but I thought he was miserable at the Senior Bowl. This pick comes down to a decision between 2 Big Ten CB's: Justin King and Charles Godfrey. Admittedly, with both players, I've developed my opinions from print. I'm choosing Justin King. King looks the part, Godfrey does not. From what I read, King has all of the potential to be a star in this league, but he is a work in progress. Statistically, he never put up eye popping figures, but you cannot teach speed and King is loaded with it. Godfrey had 7 interceptions over the last two years. He's got an imposing frame, but he does not look the part and from what I read he is in the mold of a CB/S. King has the speed. We'll make sure he's got the technique.
Justin King video:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=lXfVy2nZUU0 (Everyone raves about Mendenhall's speed and Mendenhall is a stud - this video confirms such - but it also shows King's speed and his desire to "never say die.")
http://youtube.com/watch?v=ma8eNb-I9VE&feature=related (look at this video around minute 1:50 - it is a 2 second blurb).
http://youtube.com/watch?v=hOVSqtboSnM (in this video, you can see Godfrey's build and listen to his speaking ability).
Round 2b: It's also tough to ignore the Packers dire straits TE situation. Donald Lee proved that he can play in this league. Troy Humphrey is absolutely undependable due to his injury status as well. For this reason, Martellus Bennett and John Carlson are attractive at this spot. With that being said, I think that the solution for the Packers is to draft a TE in the later rounds. Lee is our #1 guy. We need a guy that can block and a guy that can find an opening in the middle of the oppositions defense. We need a smart player with good hands who has the instincts to find the soft spot in the heart of the defense. It's the Kevin Boss effect. An average athlete who is a solid blocker and can simply sit his route down. Really, it should be a simple concept.
These things have shown up with consistency in Ted Thompson draft.
1.) He likes to accumulate draft picks by trading down throughout the draft.
2.) He uses the 2nd-5th round picks for WR/OL depth.
3.) He likes to draft players from Texas A & M.
My selection is Bennett. He's big. He's athletic. He plays the game with passion and he's an Aggie. It would not surprise me if this pick is an OL. In my mock draft, I'm not selecting OL, hence the selection of Bennett.
Round 3: Thompson has stated on a number of occasions that he wants to win with DL talent. Corey Williams was traded. Colin Cole's play dropped off mightily last year. I like Daniel Muir's game, but he is in the developmental stages. We expect Harrell to be the guy to fill the Williams void, but don't be surprised if Thompson turns to Red Bryant with his third round pick. Bryant is an animal run blocker. When Johnny Jolly (another Aggie) went down with injury last year, the Packers run stopping ability slowed mightily. Bryant is also from Texas A & M. He's a beast. He's a run stuffer. He'd fit in nicely with a rotation of Pickett, Jolly, and Bryant.
Round 4a: Again, it would not surprise me if the Packers went with an OL at this pick. Since I'm not selecting OL in my mock draft, I'm looking back to the DB. What would a Talkin' S-Mac mock draft be without the Packers selecting Chevis Jackson. CJ cannot escape me. The latest thing that I read suggests that he'll be a 4th rounder. It also says that Jackson is a "savvy, experienced player coming from a major college program who will be a valuable role player somewhere. He lacks the speed, athleticism or upside to be a higher pick, but LSU cornerbacks have done well in the NFL lately. He might not be great, but he should be good." To me, he's a combination of Mike McKenzie and Craig Newsome. Great make-up speed. Always gets his head turned when the ball is in the air. He's physical and he'll play on an island.
I also read that Geno Hayes could be available at this time. We don't necessarily need a LB, but, man, he'd be tough to pass up at this stage. Hayes is an aggressive LB with an attitude for destruction.
Round 4b: Kevin O'Connell. Most say that O'Connell is a 5-6 rounder. But, he's the guy that I want the Packers to select and for that, I'll take him in the 4th round. He's developmental. McCarthy needs another project. The Packers need a back-up QB. It makes sense. I watched a bunch of Josh Johnson video as well. I like the Johnson was coached by Jim Harbaugh and that O'Connell was coached by Chuck Long. Both were mentally tough, technically sound football players. I believe that O'Connell has more long term potential than Johnson. Johnson reminds me of a mobile Andre Ware. Dennis Dixon is another option, but the purity of O'Connell makes him a more intriguing prospect. I enjoy his ability to escape pressure and find the open receiver while he's on the run. He doesn't seem to have a cannon for an arm, but he's got a nice touch. He plays with a smile and seems like a leader. He's humble and appears to be the kind of guy that you want to be leading your team out of the locker room. Book it - add him to the list of guys that I definitely want in Green & Gold.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=fWfh8xYKy6U&feature=related (tune into 4:30 to hear Kevin O'Connell)
Round 5.) The Packers look at either WR, RB, or OL. If they don't draft TE in Round 2, then Tyson Devree, TE, Colorado could be an option. He's big. He's physical. He's got soft spots. He's a very good blocker. At RB, the Packers could look at Allen Patrick or Justin Forsett. Both were productive with big time Universities against big time competition. Forsett plays with great desire and would be an enticing mid-to-late round pick. He's got great vision and a nose for the marker/goal line. Additionally, the guy can catch the football. He'd compete with B-Jack for third down playing time. Plus, he'd run Morency out of town.
But, to me, the best 5th round value pick is Adarius Bowman. He's big. He's gifted. He's athletic. And he had an overly productive collegiate career. Over the last two years he had 20 TD's and nearly 2200 yards. I hear that he's a 5th rounder in the eyes of many scouts. What's shocking is that over the last two years, there have not been many WR's in the college level that have produced more than Bowman. But, he's the victim of a bad combine and a poor Senior Bowl game. I'll over look how he performs in shorts and I'll watch the videos of him making one-handed grabs, eluding tacklers and winning jump balls.
Round 7: If Thompson decides to wait to draft a WR, I would really like Marcus Henry at this pick. Guy fits what we do. Runs a solid slant. Has football speed. He can beat you over the top. Last year, he had 10 TD's and over 1,000 yards.
Any way, in my mock draft, Thompson looks for a late round RB gem. He may find one in Cory Boyd, RB, South Carolina. In some mays, Boyd reminds me of Herman Fontenot. Fontenot was a great 3rd down back. He makes the first guy miss. He finds the marker. He's got terrific pass catching skills. In fact, he had 35 or more catches in 3 of his 4 years in college.
In all, the mock looks like this:
Round 1: Kenny Phillips, S, Miami
Round 2a: Justin King, CB, Penn State
Round 2b: Martellus Bennett, TE, Texas A & M
Round 3: Red Bryant, DT, Texas A & M
Round 4a: Chevis Jackson, CB, LSU
Round 4b: Kevin O'Connell, QB, San Diego State University
Round 5: Adarius Bowman, WR, Oklahoma State University
Round 7: Cory Boyd, RB, South Carolina
Before the draft, I'm going to develop a target list of 10 players for each draft pick. Any help that can be provided via the comment section of the blog would be greatly appreciated.
It's Spring Time Again,