The NFL Draft is less than 2 weeks away. In light of the recent Easter season, I felt it would be appropriate to list my "hunt" for players that would fit the Packers needs. This will be my final attempt at mastering the mock draft and frankly, other than my 1st round pick, there are not a lot of name additions. Time for blogging has been limited as my wife is in the midst of a career change at the end of April. Therefore, I don't foresee myself posting my overall rankings as time is precious. Any way, presently, I'd rank our needs as the following:
*** CB - Over the years, we've seen that we cannot depend on Willie B. or J-Bush. And, while I have yet to give up on P-Lee, the same rings true with him as well. There remains uncertainty around Ras Al's knee. The U-HAUL is developing, but until Underwood shows consistency, we cannot place full reliability on him. Thus, our #1 need is a CB.
*** Safety - Over the last two years, Ras-A-tari has been marred with injuries. When he's been out, our secondary has been beyond decimated and therefore, we've been abused. We must draft a safety.
*** A "waterbug" - Over the last two years, we've displayed one of the most statistically dynamite offenses in the NFL. Yet, we're missing one threat. This component is a guy that can take the ball to the house at anytime, from anywhere. If we had this piece to our offense, we'd literally be loaded with options.
*** OLB - Brad Jones showed that he can play the position. He's true to his assignment. He can handle the bulk of the workload, but at this point, he's not a pass rushing threat. We need someone across from CM3 that can consistently get to the QB.
*** OT - It's overwhelmingly apparent that the Packers need help at Tackle. Ted Thompson did a remarkable job resigning both Clifton and Tauscher to reasonable deals. But, the depth that TJ Lang provides does not make this the most pressing need for the Packers. I would welcome a Tackle in the 1st round although I do not feel that it is an absolute requirement.
*** DL - I could argue that no position requires more satisfactory depth than the DL. In a 3-4, you need at least 5 capable DL. Presently, the Packers have Pickett, Raji, Jolly, and Cullen Jenkins. I'm also optimistic about the game of Jarius Wynn. With Jolly's pending trial and Justin Harrell remaining untrustworthy, the Packers might be in need of further depth.
*** RB - I'm not positive that Ryan Grant can run us to the Super Bowl.
*** WR - Double-D isn't getting younger. I'm not convinced that either James Jones or Jordy Nelson will ever be a legitimate #2 - much less a 1a WR. Neither would be able to release pressure from Jennings. While it might not be a requirement in the 2010 NFL Draft, WR will soon be a position to consider.
*** ILB - This might be the last year that we see both Desmond Bishop and AJ Hawk. It might be time to search for both depth and competition.
Again, no OL will be included in my mock even though, I feel that the Packers should draft 2 Tackles post Round 1. I am hopeful that the Packers trade down and out of the 1st round. Let's put it this way: The Jacksonville Jaguars need Tim Tebow in order to stay in business. The Jaguars do not have a second round pick. I suggest that the Packers offer one of two trades to Jacksonville:
1.) We give the Jaguars our 1st round pick in exchange for their 1st round pick in 2011 & there 3rd & 5th round picks this year.
2.) We give the Jaguars our 1st round pick in exchange for their 1st round pick in 2011, their 3rd round pick in 2010 & we swap picks in rounds 4, 5, and 6. As I've stated every year, I like four of the top 100 picks, the second version would give us 4 of the top 108 picks. Both trades would give us a potential top 10 pick in 2011 and the opportunity to select one of the top 2-3 Tackles in next years draft. Also, of course, the Jaguars would get Tebow. Sounds fair to me.
I'd also propose a trade to Buffalo who is in desperate need of a QB. Rumor is that Buffalo likes Colt McCoy. We could give Buffalo our #1 for their 2nd (41 overall), 3rd (72nd overall) and 5th (140th overall). This trade fits into the parameters of the NFL draft pick value chart. It'd give the Bills their starting QB & it'd give the Packers our 4 picks in the top 100. I also consider Denver to be a likely trade partner.
Round 1: I write with the assumption that Suh, McCoy, Berry, Morgan, Haden, JPP, Dez Bryant, CJ Spiller, and Rolando McClain are all off the board. If any of them are available, I'd want him. Ideally, I'd like Earl Thomas, S, Texas to fall to us. But, it's doubtful that he slips. I'd love for the Packers to draft Mathews, RB, Fresno St, but that, too, is unlikely. Though I feel Mathews is the type of back that could run us to a Super Bowl, I can't see Thompson selecting him. I'd also be stoked about Jahvid Best, RB, Cal. He'd be my "waterbug" selection of the 1st round. Total athlete. Fearless. I'd throw the injuries aside and strongly consider him. So, I keep digging.
My biggest dilemma is that I'm not positive that the logical 1st round picks at OLB can drop into coverage. Brandon Graham excites me, but he has never covered anyone in live action in his life. Sergio Kindle has terrific collegiate stats and he was spectacular in the BCS National Championship Game. But, I'm not 100% convinced that he can cover either a back or a TE. I know he can rush the passer & therefore, I'd be happy if we selected him. Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU might be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. But, like, Graham, he has never guarded anyone. He's never dropped in coverage. Therefore, I'm not positive that he'd be successful in a 3-4. Also, the guy who replaced CM3 at USC is in the draft: Everson Griffen. He's a go-getter to the QB, but at 270, I wonder if he's too big to be an ideal 3-4 OLB. Scouts seem to think he's got the agility to drop in coverage, but I have my questions. I mentioned it in a previous blog & I'll write it again: I think highly of Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri & Daryl Washington, LB, TCU, but both seem to be 4-3 LB's.
So, in somewhat of a panic move, I've transitioned to CB. I can hear the critics right now: McKenna, think T-Buck, Vinnie Clark, Ahmad Carroll, Antuan Edwards...hell, even Craig Newsome only gave us 2 solid years, granted, Newsome tore his ACL and never recovered, but nonetheless. Additionally, the Packers have missed mightily on other high draft picks at CB in Joey Thomas and Fred Vinson. Soon, P-Lee might be in that category. But, we're in a pass happy league. And we need depth at a vulnerable position. I would be stoked if the Packers drafted Kareem Jackson, but they won't because he's 5-10. Same can be said about Kyle Wilson (even though Wilson is a less than spectacular run defender). Therefore, I'm essentially left with two names to consider: Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers & Patrick Robinson, CB, FSU. I like both players, but I also would like to TRADE DOWN as we'll likely be able to get Robinson 15 picks later. McCourty is an all-around football player. He played more downs than anybody in college football last year. As Ted Thompson would say, he's a "football player." Robinson is a speed guy. 5-11, 190 which is a little lighter than the 200 lbs that Thompson prefers. I've seen Robinson get beat on a number of occasions, but Robinson gets his head turned and he gives great effort. Admittedly, I don't love him at #23, but I'd be all about him at #41. Robinson also has a checkered past.
So, as I've hunted for my desired #1 pick, I feel that #23 is no-mans land. Unless, Taylor Mays falls to the Packers. The more I think about it, the more I want him. He's one of the best athletes in the draft. A physical specimen. If he would have come out in 2009, we would have considered him with our top-10 pick - if he would have still been on the board. We struck it rich with a USC grad last year. I'd love to see us take a shot on Mays this year. He'd be able to play at the line of scrimmage and he'd be a great compliment to the ballhawking Nintendo Nick. He'd learn how to be a professional from our Pro Bowl DB's. And, he has something to prove as the naysayers are spitting fire in his face. He's too talented to pass up. Also, he wore #2 at USC. And, we've done well with another player in our secondary that wore #2 at the college level.
Assuming the guys I've listed above are gone and that Weatherspoon is not considered a 3-4 OLB; My top 10 1st round hopefuls:
1.) Taylor Mays, S, USC
2.) Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State
3.) Jahvid Best, RB, Cal
4.) Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama
5.) Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
6.) Sergio Kindle, OLB, Texas
7.) Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
8.) Patrick Robinson, CB, FSU
9.) Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU
10.) Everson Griffen, OLB, USC
At some point in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Packers will select a "waterbug." Therefore, I suggest: why wait? Why not grab the one who might be the best available suggestion in Dexter McCluster, KR/WR/RB, Ole Miss? Yes, he's undersized, but it seemed like every time I watched him play at the college level, McCluster was performing at a high level. Therefore, in the 2nd round, I have the Packers selecting McCluster.
McCluster barely beats out Tyson Alualu, DE, Cal. Don't be shocked if the Packers draft DL early. Jolly is facing suspension and Cullen Jenkins is in the last year of his deal. Alualu is perfect for the 3-4. He's a motor guy. He knows the system. He has the size. He's productive.
I see the 2nd round as having great value in 2010. In my top 10, I have not included a number of players that I really like including Chris Cook, CB, Virginia and Thaddeus Gibson, OLB, Ohio State.
My top 10 for the 2nd Round:
1.) Dexter McCluster, Ole Miss
2.) Tyson Alualus, DE, Cal
3.) Daryl Washington, LB, TCU
4.) Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State
5.) Nate Allen, S, South Florida
6.) Morgan Burnett, S, Georgia Tech
7.) Dominique Franks, CB, Oklahoma
8.) Koa Misi, OLB, Utah
9.) Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina
10.) Jermaine Cunningham, OLB, Florida
With the Packers going offense in the 2nd round, it's mandatory to turn our attention back to the defensive side of the ball. The horrific memories that Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner left in our minds need to be erased.
At this point, the most pressing items to consider are at OLB & CB. I also feel that there is value at WR in the 3rd round. Jacoby Ford, WR/KR, Clemson is a "waterbug" that might interest the Packers. Andre Roberts, WR, the Citadel, is a small school player that might have Ted Thompson's eye. Taylor Price, WR, Ohio is a MAC player. We saw Thompson hit a home run with Greg Jennings, who was also a MAC WR. Might he try to strike it rich with Price, who is similar to Jennings in stature? And, Price is faster than Jennings. Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincy would be a sensational value pick in the third round. But, since McCourty will fill the WR void, all attention is going to defense.
I'm picking Jason Worilds, OLB, Virginia Tech. Great size. Great speed. Once considered a first round pick, he had a disappointing Junior year. Nonetheless, he ran a 4.47 at his pro day. He's over 250 lbs and he's the complete package. He'd immediately provide stiff competition for Brad Jones. Worilds also beats out Navarro Bowman, OLB, Penn State as my desired 3rd Round selection.
As mentioned earlier, the third round would also be a good round to address the defensive backfield. If you've been following along, you know my thoughts on Larry Asante, S, Nebraska and Reshad Jones, S, Georgia. But, since we selected Taylor Mays in Round 1, we won't need a safety in the 3rd round. I listed Dominique Franks as a round 2 selection, but he could fall. Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida and Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan could interest the Pack. While Murphy & Warren might draw heavier interest, I'd be more excited with Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa who appears to have fallen down draft boards after a poor Pro Day.
My top 10:
1.) Jason Worilds, OLB, Va Tech
2.) Reshad Jones, S, Georgia
3.) Chad Jones, S, LSU
4.) Cam Thomas, DT, UNC
5.) Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa
6.) Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan
7.) Jerome Murphy, CB, South Florida
8.) Navarro Bowman, OLB, Penn State
9.) Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson
10.)Torell Troupe, DL, Central Florida
If the Packers can acquire additional picks, it's a no-brainer that the Packers should draft O'Brien Schofield, OLB, WI. If we don't grab extra picks, it's doubtful that they'll add a player that will miss the majority of the 2010 NFL Season. As my current mock draft goes, I still have not selected our pressing need, a CB. Therefore, one would think it's mandatory to look at CB in Round 4. My last round 4 selection was Myron Lewis, CB, Vanderbilt. I'm going to take a pass and hope that he lasts until Round 5. Instead, I'm going to select a QB. Mike McCarthy wants a QB to develop. I am positive of it. In Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss, he gets his guy. Snead has all of the intangibles, he's just struggled with decision making. McCarthy can make Snead a legitimate NFL QB.
The Packers might also reach for a guy like Mike Williams, WR, Syracuse. A total stud. But, an absolute head case. So much so that he quit football. Yes, he quit on his team. But, if he were mentally fit, he'd be a 2nd round pick.
My top 10:
1.) Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
2.) Myron Lewis, CB, Vanderbilt
3.) Mike Williams, WR, Syracuse
4.) Kam Chancellor, S, Va Tech
5.) Robert Johnson, S, Utah
6.) Cameron Sheffield, OLB, Troy
7.) Patrick Stoudamire, CB, Western Illinois
8.) Tony Pike, QB, Cincy, Dan LeFevour, QB, Central Michigan
9.) Walter McFadden, CB, Auburn
10.) Marcus Easley, WR, UCONN
With two picks, the Packers are poised to do some damage in the 5th round. We'll find talent. I'm enamored with Anthony Levine, S, Tennessee State and Brandon Sharpe, OLB, Texas Tech. I've wrote that. However, in an effort to switch things up, the Packers select Danny Batten, OLB, South Dakota State and Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA. Jamar Wall, CB, Texas Tech was slightly behind Verner in my selection. Each year, someone grows on you. Just from what you read and the limited photos, video that you can find. Last year, it was Johnny Knox. The Bears drafted him and he made the Pro Bowl. This year, it's Danny Batten. Batten is often described as a "poor mans Clay Matthews." Ummm, I'll take that in Round 5. He's mean. He's physical. He plays with courage. He's an Energizer Bunny who plays with a non-stop mentality. At worst, he makes a difference on special teams. Jamar Wall plays the ball in the air. I have no doubt that he would not only make the roster, but he'd compete for playing time by Week 1. He's a 5th round value pick. But, I'm going with Verner. No, he does not make the 5'11 barometer, but man, the guy impresses me. Much like Syd'Quan Thompson, CB, Cal, Verner is a guy that I've been watching for years. With intrigue. He can play in the slot. He can play outside. He'll get in your face and out-muscle you on a curl. He'll jump a slant. He's a smart player and he plays the ball with efficiency.
My top 10:
1.) Danny Batten, OLB, South Dakota State
2.) Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA
3.) Anthony Levine, S, Tennessee State, Jamar Wall, CB, Texas Tech
4.) Brandon Sharpe, OLB, Texas Tech
5.) Trindon Holiday, KR, LSU
6.) Joique Bell, RB, Wayne State
7.) Deji Karim, RB/KR/waterbug, Southern Illinois
8.) George Selive, OLB, South Florida
9.) Brian Jackson, CB, Oklahoma - When I watched the Sooners play the Canes this past year, I thought Jackson was better than Franks.
10.) Jason Beauchamp, OLB, UNLV - one of my knocks on a number of the 3-4 OLB's in the draft is that they aren't tall. Beauchamp has the height the Packers would look for. Ideally, an OLB stands 6-3, though in most instances 6-2 acceptable. Beachamp fits the bill, while others fall short.
Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor remains my selection for reasons that I've previously discussed.
My top 10:
1.) Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor
2.) Chris McCoy, OLB, MTSU
3.) Tim Knicky, OLB, Steven F. Austin
4.) Brandon James, KR, Florida
5.) Seyi Ajirotutu, WR, Fresno State, Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri
6.) Andre Anderson, RB, Tulane
7.) Zac Robinson, QB, Oklahoma State
8.) Andre Dixon, RB, UCONN
9.) Freddie Barnes, WR, Bowling Green
10.) Michael Smith, RB/KR, Arkansas or Brandon Banks, WR/KR, Kansas State - waterbugs
1.) Junior Galette, OLB, Stillman
2.) Stevie Brown, S, Michigan or Lantz Mathers, OLB, Northwestern Oklahoma State
3.) Josh Gordy, S, Central Michigan
4.) Curtis Steele, RB, Memphis
5.) Lonyae Miller, Fresno State
6.) Dexter Davis, OLB, ASU
7.) Carl Ihenacho, OLB, San Jose State
8.) Justin Cole, OLB, San Jose State
9.) Lucien Antoine, S, Oklahoma State
10.) Alex Joseph, ILB, Temple
In the past, the Packers have been known to select a 7th round QB so I'll rank my 7th round QB's:
1.) Andy Schmitt, QB, Eastern Michigan
2.) Eric Ward, QB, Richmond
3.) Tim Hiller, QB, Western Michigan
4.) Jonathan Crompton, QB, Tennessee - most say he'll be drafted in the 5th or 6th round.
In short, my mock draft goes like this:
Round 1: Taylor Mays, S, USC
Round 2: Dexter McCluster, WR/KR, Ole Miss
Round 3: Jason Worilds, OLB, Virginia Tech
Round 4: Jevan Snead, QB, Ole Miss
Round 5: Danny Batten, OLB, South Dakota State & Alterraun Verner, CB, UCLA
Round 6: Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor
Round 7: Junior Galette, OLB, Stillman
Also, as I've previously discussed, this is one of the deepest TE draft classes that I can remember. But, with the Packers current stable of TE's, I can't imagine us drafting one. Though a guy like Clay Harbor, TE, Missouri State could end up in Green Bay as an undrafted FA.
I'm stoked for the draft.
In Ted, I trust.