I'm not a "draftnik." I just love the NFL, college football and the NFL Draft. And sometimes, yeah, sometimes the guys that I watched during the college year and into the offseason are the same guys that happened to peak the interest of the Green Bay Packers. So, if you've been reading along, you know that I have had a heavy interest in Vinny Curry, Cam Johnson, Derek Wolfe, Adrian Hamilton and Brandon Hardin. I've felt that they were all natural fits for the Packers defensive scheme. And - over the last couple of weeks- it's been widely reported that the Packers seem to have their eyes on each of these prospects.
It's that time of year. The time of year in which Ted Thompson rules the NFL. The time of year when Thompson will remake the Packers roster and fill it with depth. This year - I have full anticipation that Thompson intends to add a physical nature to the defense. Or as Jed Riopelle put it on Facebook: "I have to say that this Anthony Hargrove signing has me pumped. Not because he is a particularly great player, he's good not great, but because he brings something to this D that we have been sorely missing....ATTITUDE!!!!!! A nice pick up by Teddy to fill our (H)-Gap....that's heart baby!!!! Go Pack!!!!" To me, that's perfectly stated. Last year, Thompson went heavy on offense with 5 of the first 6 players he drafted coming on the offensive side of the ball. This year, look for Thompson to aggressively attack the defensive side of the ball.
Admittedly, I didn't get as much research done prior to this years draft as I'd have liked to tackle. Still, I'm equipped to provide a solid take on what I'd do on draft day. As a preface, I've used the CBS NFL Draft website along with the nfldraftcountdown.com and the walterfootball.com websites to gauge a rough estimate as to where players will be drafted. However, I'll only discussed players who I watched play. If I didn't see him play, I won't comment. Oh, and for the 1st time ever, I offer light insight on the OL position. With that, I bring to you, the Ultimate Packers Mock Draft.
Round 1: Let's start here: if I were Ted Thompson, I'd look to trade up. Normally, I'm the guy who says that the Packers should trade down and accumulate picks, but with 12 picks heading into the draft and an absolute need to acquire a playmaking defender in the Front 7, it makes sense for the Packers to try and jump up into the top 22. Whitney Mercilus is an ideal fit to play the 3-4 OLB opposite Clay Matthews. It'd take our 1st and our 3rd to move up into the top 22. It'd take a 1st and a 2nd to move into the top 18. I'd be fine with either. It could be argued that an impact defender on the DL is more important than getting a stallion OLB. If that's the case, it'd be nice to land Jerel Worthy or Devon Still in Round 1. It's possible both could be around when the Packers select at #28. Courtney Upshaw is a talented defender. Not an ideal 3-4 OLB and he doesn't have the size to play DE in the 4-3. I like Upshaw's effort. I like Upshaw's commitment to competition. But, I'm not convinced he's an ideal 3-4 OLB. Nick Perry was a high impact pass rusher. He can get to the QB. It's doubtful he lasts to #28. If he does, I'd consider him. If Nintendo Nick Collins is definitely going to retire, then Mark Barron, S, Alabama makes a lot of sense. He's the best safety in the draft. He has great range. Tremendous instincts. But, I don't see him as our 1st round pick. Dont'a Hightower is an absolute beast on the football field. Love his game. He'd add attitude to the middle of our defense. Pair him with Bishop and you'd have a pair of intimidating ILB's. But, then, what happens with AJ Hawk? For my liking, it's too early to draft Shea McClellin at #28. He'd be a nice 2nd round pick, but I'm not sold on him as a 1st round prospect. I like the way McClellin plays the run. I like the way he drops in coverage. He had success rushing the QB. He's extremely versatile. I'd be happy if the Packers traded up in Round 2 to grab him. He fits what we're looking for, but he doesn't seem to be the Best Player Available at #28. I don't want Chandler Jones at #28. Period. I'm not convinced that Andre Brown, Clemson, is going to be worth a 1st round pick. I like Brown. I don't love him. Even though, he has all of the tools to be a stud at 3-4 in the OLB and it would not shock me if Thompson selected Brown. If so, I'd be optimistic yet cautious. I don't want Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford if he falls to us in the draft even though most would consider him the best player available. I like Kendall Reyes, but not at #28. It's too early for him. I have zero interest in Harrison Smith. Bottom line: my top 4 of the 1st round are Mercilus, Worthy, Still, and Vinny Curry. Since it's doubtful that Mercilus, Worthy or Still are around at #28, I'm selecting Vinny Curry, OLB, Marshall. He's not a perfect fit for the traditional 3-4 OLB, but here me out. He's long. He gets to the edge. He's a high effort guy. And, in some ways, he reminds me of Terrell Suggs. I'm not saying Curry is going to be a HOF worthy player, like Suggs is, but I believe Curry will be a disruptive force. Also, call me crazy, but Clay Matthews has shown that he is talented as a coverage LB. Clay's the complete package. No, I'm not suggesting that Clay's role as a pass rusher should be limited, but if an OLB is required to drop in coverage, Clay is more than capable. With that, I see Curry as a guy with elite pass rushing skills. An ability to be an absolute difference maker. He gets his hands in the air. He uses his hands well. He gets off the ball. He plays faster than he timed at the Combine. Some might say this is a reach. I see him as a typical Ted Thompson "Football Player."
Round 2: Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt. Might be a little early for Hayward, but I like his game. Hayward runs with WR's. When the ball is in the air, he turns and makes a play on the ball. Further, he has solid hands. In some ways, he reminds me of T-Mon.
The best 2nd round prospect on the DL is Brandon Thompson, Clemson. He gets a push. He reads the snap well. He's an aggressor. In my mind, he was the best player on the Clemson defense. At one time, I thought Billy Winn, Boise State, had the ability to be a 1st round pick. Now, I struggle to see him as a 2nd round selection. He's on the ground too often for my liking. I'd be more excited with Jared Crick, NE, even though Crick needs to put on more weight. Still, Crick has the heart to make it on Sundays. He's also a player that fits the Green Bay Way.
I really like the Packers RB situation, so I can't say that I'd aggressively attack the RB position in the draft. Regardless, the 2nd round is loaded with RB talent. Doug Martin, Boise State. Martin would be a classic Ted Thompson "football player" pick. He does it all. He can catch. He'll pound it at you. He'll outrun you. He'll pick up the blitz. He runs low the ground. He's physical. The only thing preventing Martin from being a lock for the Packers in a mock draft is that I can't imagine the Packers drafting a back this high. David Wilson, Virginia Tech. Reminds me of an Alex Green. Plays at his best when he gets in space. Great speed. Would operate well in the Packers system especially in a single-back set. But, again, too early for the Packers to grab. Lamar Miller, _. I love Miller's game. To me, he's the 2nd best back in the draft. He's deceptively strong as a runner. His speed is lethal. If he's ahead of the pack, no one is going to catch him. Every time he touches the ball, he's a threat to score. Chris Polk, Washington, (2). Chris Polk will be a star in the NFL. He has all of the tools to be a 20-carry a game RB. He's possessed with the ball in his hands. He'll run through you. He'll run around you. He'll run by you. I'd take him in a heart beat. Isaiah Pead, Cincy. If you've watched Pead run at the college level, you liked him. He was a do-it-all back for the Bearcats. Caught the ball. Ran the ball. He pass protected. Really, in many ways, he was the Cincy offense last year. He'd put the Bearcats offense on his back. My fear is that he'll be similar to Javon Ringer. Great college career, but just not cut out to be a star at the next level.
Besides RB, I expect a run on OLB's in the 2nd Round. How can you not love Bobby Wagner? Most every team would cherish his versatility. He could play ILB as well as OLB. He can play in the 3-4 as well as the 4-3. Bruce Irvin, WVU, has elite speed, but man, he can't stop the run. He might be Jamal Reynolds. He has one move and that's to try and beat you around the corner. He does do a good job of getting his hands in the air. He's best suited for a dome team in which he can use his speed play-in and play-out. Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma, might be an ideal selection for the Packers. He never produced at the level that was expected of him as a Sooner, but still he gives it his all on every play. He has the non-stop motor that you target. But, his production was not there at the college level and it's largely because he was often injured. If he can stay healthy, he has the tools to be a solid pass rusher at the NFL level. Lavonte David, Nebraska, is too small for the Packers system. Zach Brown, UNC, is an interesting prospect. He has the speed. He has the athleticism. And, he was a playmaker. If Brown lasts until the late 2nd round - which would surprise me - he'd be a tremendous value pick. And, really, it wouldn't shock me if Brown is selected in the 1st Round.
At ILB, I would not be excited if the Packers drafted Mychal Kendricks, Cal. He seems too small and not physical enough for the NFL. Has sideline-to-sideline skills, but I also think he's a prime target to attack on running plays up the gut.
Another CB who could peak the interest of the Packers is Jamell Fleming from Oklahoma. Fleming is a finds the ball in the air. He's got good hands. He plays with instinct. He's well coached. Most other 2nd round CB's seem too small to make it on Sundays include Jayron Hosley, Va Tech; Josh Robinson, UCF; Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama; Brandon Boykin, Georgia; and Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska. With that said, Boykin is absolutely electric. He finds the football and he's a special teams gem. Also, Dennard reminds me of Antoine Winfield. Aggressive. Solid open field tackler. Plays bigger than his height would indicate.
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State. While this would be early for the Packers to invest in a back-up QB, Cousins is worth noting. He had some success in big games leading his team down the stretch. He has the leadership qualities, the intelligence and the arm strength to develop into a solid back-up QB. He'd be a good fit, but it's likely too early for the Packers to draft a QB.
I didn't study the TE position throughout the college season as much as I normally do. I like Coby Fleener's game, but he'll be gone before the Packers would be interested. Dwayne Allen reminds me of Fred Davis, but he, too, will be gone before the Packers look at the TE position. Orson Charles would be a great addition for the Packers offense. He does it all, but I don't see the Packers selecting a TE in the top 100.
I can't say that I'd be overly enthused if the Packers selected George Iloka, S, Boise State in the 2nd Round. Seems like a reach to me. Possibly worth a 3rd round pick, but even then, I don't see him as a guy who is quick enough to man the middle of the field.
Round 3: Ben Jones, C, Georgia. Jones would be a great player to develop beneath Jeff Saturday on the depth chart. Jones has the Green Bay feel to him. Personable. Outgoing. The classic good guy who works hard. A blue collar kind of guy. Many consider him to be the 2nd best Center in the draft.
My second option is Cam Johnson, OLB, Virginia. At one time during the season, I wondered if Cam Johnson might be a 1st round selection. While Johnson doesn't possess the tireless motor that you'd like at OLB in a 3-4, he has shown a great presence rushing the passer. I picture a front 4 on 3rd down that includes Clay Matthews, BJ Raji, Cam Johnson and Vinny Curry. Move them around. Let them loose. We'd get to the QB.
At DE, I'm not interested in Trevor Guyton, Cal. Simply stated. Also, I'm not completely sold on Malik Jackson, Tennessee. I'd rather have Tyrone Crawford, DE, from Boise State. Every time I watched Boise State play, it wasn't McClellan nor Winn that caught my eye, it was Crawford. Consistently, he was disruptive.
Alameda Ta'amu, DL, Washington. Ta'amu would replace Howard Green in the Big Beefy package. He'd also be a good back-up to Ryan Pickett, who has battled injuries. Ta'amu has the size to man the middle in a 3-4. Additionally, at times, he plays way quicker than his weight would suggest. He moves well and carries himself well. I really like Josh Chapman, but his injuries concern me. Though he has beast like qualities, I don't see Marcus Forston, DL, _ as a fit for the Packers. Kheeston Randall, DL, Texas, is a physical specimen, but he gets pushed around and doesn't play with the leverage I'd like to see. The same goes for Jay Howard, Florida.
LaMichael James, Oregon. He'll be a 3rd down option for someone. I don't want him. Bernard Pierce, Temple. If the Packers want a younger version of Ryan Grant, Pierce is that option. Straight ahead, one-cut runner who doesn't overwhelm with speed nor power, yet he's a sound decision maker. Does not seem to do anything exceptionally well, but he doesn't have any glaring weaknesses either. He'd fit into the Packers team-first locker room and would be a solid rotational back in our system.
At OLB, Sean Spence, _, is a NICE player, but he's too small for the 3-4. Josh Kaddu, Oregon, is also a gifted player and if he put on 10 pounds, he'd make a terrific fit for the 3-4, but at his current weight, he'd be an investment for the future. He'd require a full year to make the impact that the Packers require immediately. Keenan Robinson, Texas, is a guy that you want to love. Plays with great intensity. Love his effort. Love his leadership. Fun to watch. Plays the crowd well, but he, too, is probably too light at this stage to play OLB in a 3-4. Additionally, he is not a dynamic pass rusher at this stage.
Markelle Martin, S, Oklahoma State, has ideal size to play. Looks the part in the uniform. Doesn't always stand out on the field. Still, he has a knack for being around the ball and making the big play.
Round 4: (3 selections) Brandon Hardin, S, Oregon State; Cyrus Gray, RB, Texas A&M, Derek Wolfe, DL, Cincy. If you have followed along, I've always admired Hardin's game. I like his versatility. I like his range. He moves well from sideline-to-sideline. And with the Packers dire need for a Safety, Hardin fits. Eventhough I am not convinced that the Packers have a need at RB, Gray might be too good to pass up. He catches the ball well. He sees the hole and hits it with a vengeance. He blocks well. He'd be a great fit as a rotational back. Wolfe is an ideal fit for the 3-4. He is tireless. He provides a solid push up the middle. In many ways, just as Worthy and Still were to the Big 10, he was the same to the Big East. He beat up OL's in the Big East. High impact player. Would fit in well as a DE in the 3-4. Antonio Allen, S, South Carolina is a guy to watch. Every time I watched Allen play, he was make game changing plays. He is solid in the box. He's a terrific blitzer. He has limitations in coverage, but he'd be able to run and jump with the new version of TE's in the NFL. He has the athleticism to transition. I've long thought he was a 3rd round pick, but it appears he's dropping late in the Draft evaluations. I don't understand it.
It almost bums me out that I didn't select Nigel Bradham, ILB, FSU. He's one of the most versatile LB's in the draft. Some view him as an OLB. I see him as an ideal 3-4 ILB. He gets sideline-to-sideline. He is great in coverage. I could make an argument that when it's all said and done, if Bradshaw plays ILB in a 3-4, he'll end up as the 2nd best ILB in the draft. Really, I should have the Packers selecting him here. I really should. And frankly, I will be shocked if he lasts this far. He's one of my favorite players in the draft. Tank Carder, ILB, TCU, will fight on every possession. He had a huge game against the Badgers in the Rose Bowl 2 years ago. He did not play up to expectations last year.
Philip Blake, C, Baylor. It's been discussed on the "Packer Report" and on "CheeseHeadTV" that the Packers have an interest in Philip Blake. Blake is a big, agile Center who moves well and can get to the 2nd line of defense.
Russell Wilson, WI. It'd be a fun storyline if the Packers draft Wilson. I don't see it happening. He has great mobility. He seems to garner respect in the huddle. He can throw on the run. But, his height is a serious concern. While it'd be exciting if he'd become a Packer and he'd undoubtedly become an instant fan favorite, it's highly unlikely that the Packers will select him. Ryan Lindley, San Diego State. He has the size. He has the athleticism. He has the arm strength to make it at the next level. He has the intangibles to play at the next level. I'd be stoked if the Packers grabbed him as a developmental QB.
Vick Ballard, Mississippi State. It's tough for me to imagine Ballard in the Packers offense. Not blessed with great speed. He also doesn't impress with his toughness as he tries to run through defenders. Plus, he comes from a gimmick offense. He could be a nice rotational back for someone, but I don't see him as much of an upgrade over Brandon Saine.
Al Toon, Wisconsin. Where most Packers fans will want Wilson to be the local selection, I'm pulling for Toon - if he's healthy. He had a great Pro Day. And he was a great player for the Badgers. He also has the bloodlines that you'd look for. He was raised the right way. He'd enjoy playing with the Packers. It's unlikely that he'll end up in Green Bay, but with three 4th round picks, it's possible...if Toon drops this far. Joe Adams, Arkansas and TY Hilton, FIU. Watching Hilton and Adams play is like watching a video game. Both will make you miss. Both are unbelievable fast on the field. Both are too small to play for the Green Bay Packers.
At OLB, Kyle Wilber, Wake Forest, is an interesting prospect. He's not overly consistent. When I watch him, I see Brad Jones. I see a versatile LB who makes the occasional play, but he's also occasionally pushed around. During his bowl game, he was run all over. Mississippi State had success running at him. In the East-West game, Wilber looked like he had an intimidating presence. He both looked and played the part. He was a hard hitter and impressed enough to display himself as a mid-round prospect. Emmanuel Ocho, Texas, has the bloodlines, but I don't see him as a high impact prospect for this year. He, too, would require time to develop.
At CB, for the most part, I like Chase Minnifield, Virginia; Ron Brooks, LSU; Leonard Johnson, Iowa State; and Omar Bolden, Arizona State, but all fall below the 5-11 mark. Therefore, it's unlikely the Packers will select any of them. Minnifield has the commitment to excellence and the bloodlines. Brooks had a solid college career - mostly as a 3rd CB. Johnson was Iowa State's best player. Bolden shows aggressiveness. Still, all are below 5-11.
Michael Egnew, Missouri. Plainly stated, if the Packers are going to draft a TE in the middle rounds, I want it to be Egnew.
Round 5: BJ Coleman, QB, UT Chattanooga. At some point, the Packers have to draft a QB this year. Coleman looks fit for the Packers system. He moves well. He has good size. He looks like a leader and a player who could develop well under McCarthy. Further, he seems to have the intelligence to grab command of the offense in short fashion.
I like Jake Bequette, OLB, Arkansas as an option. It was fun to watch him dominate 2nd team All Big 12 beast, Zach Hanson, in the Cotton Bowl. In my last mock, I had Jacquies Smith, OLB, Missouri as my pick, but he might need too much time to develop. And, I'd be just as happy with Adrian Hamilton two rounds later.
Tauren Poole, Tennessee. A lot of draftniks seem to have a sound appreciation for Poole's game. Admittedly, I've not seen a lot of Poole. But, from what I have seen, he's not someone that I am gaga for. Seems like just another guy to me. Terrance Ganaway. Ganaway is another guy who is tough to project. A statistical monster, he comes from the spread offense. Plays faster than he looks. He'll also not shy away from contact. Still, it's tough to envision him as a Packer. Dan Herron. I love Herron at this stage of the draft. Sure, he has character issues. There is no question about it, but you cannot deny his productivity either. Plays with good speed. Hits the hole with a vengeance and plays with more power than his height & weight might suggest.
Junior Hemmingway, Michigan. Hemmingway never really impressed me. Doesn't seem to run good routes. Doesn't run by you. Makes a decent play on the ball when it's in the air. But, I don't see him as a fit in Green & Gold. Marvin McNutt, Iowa. Like Hemmingway, I question McNutt's route running skills. Regardless, McNutt has the size that NFL GM's like. He's not going to amaze anyone athletically, but he simply finds a way to produce. He is a model of consistency. Week in and week out, McNutt made plays. I like McNutt as a mid-to-late round pick. Jarius Wright, Arkansas. Wright was exciting to watch in college. He has tools to work with. But, his similarities to Randall Cobb make him an unlikely selection. Jeff Fuller, Texas A&M. Fuller has all of the tools to be a solid NFL player, but he seems to lack focus. He's notorious for dropping easy passes. He disappears at times, but when he's in tune with the game, Fuller is a weapon. He has great size. Good speed. He has the intangibles and the upside, but he's also his own biggest limitation. Tommy Streeter, _. I like Streeter. He's a solid deep threat. Runs really well. Makes plays in traffic. Plays the ball in the air. Great height. I'd be excited to see him running inside 1265 Lombardi, but he's likely too similar of a player to Tori Gurley. He's long. He's lanky. He's strides with grace.
Chase Ford, _. Ford is next in the rich tradition of TE's to come out of Coral Gables. But, Ford is different than the others. He doesn't have great speed. And, if it weren't for an impressive offseason, Ford might not be drafted. But, he was great in the East-West game. He fought for the ball in traffic with elite success. Ford struggles as a blocker, but he has the size to be a mismatch as a receiver.
At CB, I would enjoy it if DeQuan Menzie, Alabama, was the selection. Playing across from Dre Kirkpatrick, Menzie was challenged often. Normally, he was up to the task. He's a fighter with bullying tactics. He's aggressive. He'll jam with intensity. He fits. Shaun Prater, Iowa, has all of the intangibles. Jumps routes. Well studied. Clearly, a film rat. But, he's only 5-10.
Duke Ihenacho, S, San Jose State is a hard hitting safety who lacks ideal ball skills. Reminds me a bit of Charlie Peprah. He'll make the occasional play on the ball. He won't always take great angles to the ball. But, when he hits you, you'll feel it.
Round 6: Josh Norman, CB, Coastal Carolina. Norman was the darling of the East-West Shrine Game. At 6-0, 197 lbs, Norman fits the Packers height and weight credentials. Additionally, he runs fairly well. Obviously, playing for a small school, you have to question the competition in which he competed at throughout his college career. Nonetheless, Norman - like Davon House last year - has the tools that Ted Thompson looks for at CB. He gets in your face. He plays with a physical approach and uses his hands well.
I was close to selecting Olivier Vernon, OLB, _, with this pick. While Vernon was an underachiever in college, I'm positive that Kevin Greene could do wonders with his game. He has an abundance of talent. It'll be up to him to recognize his potential. Frank Alexander, OLB/DE, Oklahoma is too much of a tweener for me. I'm not sold on Julian Miller, OLB, WVU as a 3-4 OLB in the NFL.
Nick Foles, Arizona. Good value pick for someone late in the draft. Reminds me of Big Ben. Tough to bring down. Huge frame. Extends plays. Surprisingly, he escapes pressure with his feet and moves better than you'd anticipate from looking at him. A gritty football player who had a disappointing end to his college career. Still, he definitely has the skills and physical capacity to be a solid back-up at the next level.
Eric Page, Toledo. Page won't be a Packer. He's a lot like Cobb, but Eric Page is a weapon. He's unique in structure. He demands the ball. He's elusive with the ball in his hands. Powerful for his size. Ultra instinctive. Born to play. And - every time Toledo played - he showed up.
The 6th Round might be the time when Ted Thompson gets hungry for a FB. If so, there are 3 solid options in Brad Smelley, AL, Bradie Ewing, WI, and Emil Igwenagu, Massachusetts. Smelley and Ewing are great blockers with soft hands. Igwenagu would be a vintage Thompson selection. Much like Ryan Taylor last year, he has great versatility. He could play special teams. He could slide out to TE, but he can also line up in the backfield and be a lead blocker.
At ILB, I am interested in some 6th round prospects. It might be a great time to take a shot on someone like Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State; Jerry Franklin, Arkansas; Chris Galippo, USC; or Chris Marve, Vanderbilt. Burfict has 1st round talent and an undraftable attitude, but if he found the right system, he could blossom. At one point, he was compared to Ray Lewis. By the end of his college career, he looked like Torrance Marshall. Still, at this time in the draft, he'd be worth a shot. Franklin is a go-getter. Always in pursuit. Not gifted with elite athleticism. He's plays smart. Takes good angles. Plays with conviction. Galippo is good in coverage. Not an every down LB, but at times, he reminded me of Brandon Chillar. Gets eaten up in the middle. Doesn't always read the hole well, but he drops better than most that I watched at the college level. Nobody will play harder than Marve, who will likely be drafted in the 7th round or go undrafted, but he's the classic work hard ILB, who might bloom in Green Bay. He'd be a try-hard player who'd likely play a special teams role.
At OLB, I view Brandon Lindsey as a non-factor. Don't see him as an upgrade to Brad Jones or Erik Walden. I'd be more excited with Travis Lewis, Oklahoma, who plays with much more speed and intensity. Additionally, he played in a Pro-style defense.
Donnie Fletcher, CB, Boston college was one of the biggest disappointments of the 2011 college football season for me. I really expected him to jump off the map. I thought he had 2nd round potential. He never materialized. He had a hard time staying on the field. Then, he was awful in the Senior Bowl. On the contrary, Robert Blanton, ND, has developed into a draftable CB. He has the physical nature that Thompson seeks. He's a little stiff, but he developed nicely throughout the season and showed that he might be capable of a nickel or a dime role in the NFL. Keith Tandy, WVU, has the heart, but not the height.
Round 7: (4 selections) Adrian Hamilton, OLB, Prarie View A&M; Matt Conrath, DL, Virginia; Najee Goode, ILB, WVU; Ryan Miller, OT, Colorado. I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again, when I went to see the Buffs twice this year, Ryan Miller was one of the only players that did anything of note for the Buffs. He has NFL size and moves his feet fairly well for a big guy. Like him as a developmental prospect.
It's interesting to me that the Packers brought Toney Clemons, WR, Colorado in for a visit. I imagine it was for a potential Undrafted FA visit, but nonetheless, I found it surprising. I saw Clemons play twice and frankly, outside of the opening drive against USC, he didn't do a whole lot to impress me. Granted, the talent around him was limited, but still he didn't appear as though he could be a difference maker at the next level. Chris Owusu, Stanford. Injury concerns make him a late round pick. He has the skills and ability to be picked earlier than this. He is able to be used in a variety of ways as he is a gifted special teams player as well. If he can stay healthy, he could be a steal of a late round selection. BJ Cunningham, Michigan State. I see Cunningham as just another guy. Not going to blow by you. He'll run good routes. Has good hands. He's hard working. He'll fight after the catch. He was a good 3rd down option for Cousins, but he doesn't do any extraordinary. LaVon Brazill, Ohio. Like Cunningham, Brazill has a lot that you like, but it's tough to find anything that you love. Might be a big fish in a small pond. Made big plays at the college level, but unlike Page (who played similar competition), Brazill didn't look to have the ability to offer unique skills at the next level. Additionally, I have questions about his attitude. Jordan White, Western Michigan. 2 ACL injuries are super scary. Ridiculous production offers hope. White will run through you. He'll outfight you when the ball is in the air. In essence, he was the Western Michigan offense and opposing defenses knew it. Regardless, White dominated. When I watched White, I thought he had the ability to play on Sundays however, the ACL injuries are enough to deter me from wanting the Packers to select White. Jermaine Kearse, Washington. Kearse has the size and speed to play in the NFL. But, Kearse is littered with inconsistencies. He disappears. He drops passes. He lacks focus. He struggles to be a weapon for 60 minutes, but when Kearse is in the groove, he makes big plays. If he were able to stay focused, Kearse would have mid-round potential.
I really like the athleticism of Jamie Blatnick, OLB, Oklahoma State, but he disappeared at times during the season. When he was playing at peak performance, he was dominant. If he had showed consistency throughout the year, he'd have been a 3rd to 5th round pick. Kourtniel Brown, OLB, Clemson is an interesting player. Overshadowed by Andre Brown, Kourtniel Brown did not get much attention. Normally, he was single teamed. Rarely did he make the impact you'd expect. Still, he has the size and speed that NFL teams desire at OLB in a 3-4. Broderick Binns, Iowa, was a standout performer early in his career. He was a force for the Hawkeyes, but he didn't develop as I had expected he would.
Kellen Moore, Boise State. How can you not cheer for Kellen Moore? He's a great interview. He's personable. He's a winner. He lacks big time ability in all of the measurables, but he excels with too things you can't measure: heart and win. He's loaded with mental mettle. He's a gamer. But, the reality is that it's tough to imagine him being a successful player at the next level. Athletically, he simply has too many deficiencies. Case Keenum, Houston. He's a mirror image of Graham Harrell. Slightly undersized. Came from a spread offense. Played out of shotgun for most of his career. Statistically, he was an absolute beast who reveled in the notion of whipping the deep ball. Stephen Garcia, South Carolina. It's doubtful that he'll get drafted. He's a mental headcase. But, man, when this guy was focused he had the grit that Ted Thompson would love. Have to appreciate Garcia's athleticism. His arm is legit. He's fearless. However, he's a poor decision maker both on and off of the field.
Davin Meggett. He never "wow'd" me. Whenever I saw Maryland play, I never felt that I saw and play and felt like he was a guy that I'd like to have in Green Bay. He has great bloodlines, but he's a drastically different runner than his Dad. Good power to his game, but I just don't see it. Brandon Bolden, Mississippi. Personally, I'd take Bolden in the 7th before I'd take Ballard or Poole in the 4th through 6th rounds. Bolden has some injury concerns, but he also has the nose for the end zone. He isn't going to blow you away with his speed or strength, but he simply produces. He has solid football instincts. Finds the marker. Gets to the sticks. Additionally, he has good hands out of the backfield.
One guy that I'd love to have on the Packers is Markus Zusevics, OT, Iowa. I think he'd be a great 7th round pick or an undrafted FA. Like his agility. Moves well. Injuries probably derailed his draft stock, but he has tremendous upside and I could see him playing in the NFL for the next 8-10 years. I believe he could blossom into an NFL starter. Rightfully so, he was always overshadowed by Riley Reiff. Keep an eye on his name towards the end of the draft. Someone will be really happy to have him. He's taller and a lighter than Tauscher, but he's a battler in a similar way to Tauscher.
At OLB, I'd be stoked with Sammy Brown, Houston. He can get to the QB. He's undersized and might be too similar to Lattimore to take a shot, but still Brown found the QB with consistency at the college level. Cameron Collins, Oregon State, was a total disappointment at WI. Has the height, but he's a little light.
The Packers will likely be players at the Safety position in either the 7th Round or as undrafted FA's. Sean Richardson, Vanderbilt, is the best of the prospects at this stage. Between Richardson & Hayward, Vanderbilt had a couple of legitimate DB prospects. Richardson plays with great energy and focus. Charles Mitchell, Mississippi State, often is lost in the secondary, but he possesses the leadership skills that are required. Lance Mitchell, Oregon State, has battled injury and is coming off of a disappointing Senior year. Winston Guy, Kentucky, is likely too stiff for the big leagues and doesn't always carry his weight well, but he's intimidating as a Safety and has a pension for the occasional big play. He's active, but he doesn't turn overly well, but he was a play maker in the SEC. He has limitations - no doubt - but, he's likely worth a late round draft pick. Tramain Thomas, Arkansas, is a solid 7th round pick. I think higher of him than most seem to. Playing against elite competition, Thomas was often one of the better players on the field and had a nose for forcing turnovers or breaking up passes on 3rd down. Jerrell Young, South Florida, has the size to play, but I don't see him as having the instincts or ball skills to play at the next level.
In all, expect the Packers to go heavy on the defensive side of the ball. Last year, Ted Thompson built special teams and offensive units that flourished. This year - he'll aim to do the same with the defensive side of the ball. Would you bet against him? I wouldn't it.
In Ted I Trust.
Go Pack Go!