I’ve pieced this together over 6 crazy weeks. A lot of short notes on scrap paper, on the back of used envelopes and on the iPad that have been compiled together. It’s all Packers-centric. If I didn’t see the player as potentially being a Packer, I didn’t include him. Additionally, there are a number of players that I didn’t give a brief comment on as I simply ran out of time. After the Draft, I’ll have a much more thorough analysis on the individual players that have been added to the team. Nonetheless, all of my favorite players in the Draft are listed below. I hope that this take can be a small guide on Draft Weekend; one of my favorite football weekends of the year.
Music is the weapon of the future. As I write, the Jimmy Cliff "Oh Jamaica" vinyl spins in the background. It's been a minute since I gave this LP a healthy listen. It's gorgeous music. I am accompanied with a Serenata Notturna from Crooked Stave. It's a Belgian Strong Golden Ale. At 12%, it's bold in ABV. Uber smooth for its potency. I like how it opens up with a funky sour goodness after it breathes for a bit. True palate delight!
It's that time of year. The time of year in which Ted Thompson outshines everyone. Unlike last year, Ted Thompson has multiple holes to fill heading into the Draft. Last year, outside of Safety and Center, the depth of Thompson's roster seemed rich heading into the Draft. This year, not so much. Purely from a numbers standpoint, the roster is thin.
Thus far, Thompson has had a brilliant offseason. He's kept Cobb, Bulaga, Guion, Barclay, Banjo, Kuhn, Richardson, and Raji. I hated losing T-Mon, but he was overpaid. Ras Davon was also overpaid and should net the Packers a 4th round pick next year. Thompson rid himself of some under performers in Brad Jones, AJ Hawk, Brandon Bostick, and Lattimore. He's put himself in position to win the offseason, once again. But, he needs to be a winner in the Draft and in undrafted Free Agency.
On offense, with Starks in the final year of his contract, another RB is needed via the Draft or via UDFA. I'm expecting Rajion Neal to have a decent preseason, but a RB needs to be added at some point. The same applies at QB. Thompson is sure to add a WR at some point. An addition at TE is mandatory. The OL is locked up for 2 years, so he doesn't need to target a big body on the offensive side of the ball. An addition at TE is mandatory.
Defensively, he needs depth at nearly every position. While there's depth on the DL; Raji, Daniels, and Guion are all in the final year of contracts. At OLB, Peppers, Neal and Perry are all possibly in their final year in Green Bay. Without Hawk, Jones, and Lattimore at ILB, the Packers are thin at ILB. For the record, I'm expecting BIG things out of Joe Thomas this year at ILB. It wouldn't shock me if he puts himself in position to see fairly significant playing time this year. Still, the Packers need another playmaker at ILB. CB is the thinnest position on the roster. With Banjo and Richardson entering the final year of contracts, the Packers could use another body.
I would like a trade up for someone like Trae Waynes or Danny Shelton, but that's unlikely. I would also like a trade down to ensure 4 of the top 100 picks. I'd like to see Thompson put himself in position to win multiple rounds. With three picks in round 6, he's already in position to win the round. With multiple picks in either round 2 or 3, he could do the same. Ideally, it'd happen in round 2.
Nonetheless, I anticipate that Ted Thompson stays put at #30. The wise man builds his franchise with youth. He constructs his team through the Draft. He's salivating at the notion of adding 27 players via the Draft and UDFA. Ted Thompson is salivating at the mouth right now.
As it stands today, Thompson has 9 picks. If he sticks with 9 picks, I hope he drafts 8 defenders and a TE. There are pressing needs to add to the depth of the defense via the Draft.
My Packers mock draft:
1.) Jalen Collins, CB, LSU. With the loss of T-Mon & Ras House, CB has become the #1 need for the Green Bay Packers. Collins is a physical CB. Somewhat green as he's seen limited playing time. But, Collins is a fearless tackler. He fills an immense need as he can play on the outside. He turns and runs like a natural in man-to-man coverage. He jams at the line of scrimmage. He's tough in run support. He's intelligent on the field and excels in zone coverage. He rocks dreads. He's bounces with Rasta style. He plays with a feel that his roots are Reggae. He fits.
2.) Paul Dawson, ILB, TCU. With a better combine, Dawson would've been a top 20 picks. Instead, he flopped in his 40. Regardless, when you watch Dawson play, he's fast. He plays with speed. The Big 12 is a spread 'em out Conference. Dawson excelled. He was a turnover forcing machine. He fits in the middle of the Packers defense. Right next to the Claymaker.
3.) Marcus Hardison, DL, Arizona State. He's a versatile defender who can get pressure from the inside in a 4-man front or he can attack in Cullen Jenkins fashion on the outside in a 3-man front. He's quick off the snap and has the strength to bring disruption with muscle. Hardison makes plays.
4.) Kurtis Drummond, S, Michigan State. A playmaking safety that provides great insurance for when Sean Richardson departs next year. Drummond breaks on the ball with pizzazz. He can cover in the slot with similar style as Micah Hyde. He displays on-field leadership qualities.
5.) Josh Harper, WR, Fresno State. Harper has shake. He shows strong hands on jump balls. He runs a great sideline routes and projects higher to me than most draft boards suggests. He plays with a similar movement as Davante Adams. He's confident. He's great after the catch much like Adams was in the Dallas and Miami games this year.
6.) Nick Boyle, TE, Delaware. A great blocking TE who'll help the Packers as what'll act like an extra OL. He possesses great hands, an ability to find the holes in the zone of a defense. He sits down well. He bounces off of tacklers with physical style.
6.) Joey Mbu, DL, Houston. A quick, high energy player in the mold of Josh Boyd. He plays smart and tracks down plays from behind. A smart on-the-field player who is quick to congratulate teammates after a big play. He's active. He's aggressive and moves up and down the line of scrimmage while holding the point of attack in the run game. Huge upside.
6.) Justin Coleman, CB,Tennessee. Quick in and out of his breaks. He jumps routes and tackles with aggression for an undersized CB. Great first step. A burst that excites. Not sure his game translates in great fashion to playing on the outside, but he has slot corner ability.
7.) Junior Sylvestre, ILB, Toledo. You can't teach speed. Sylvestre flies. And, he hustles. He can get sideline to sideline and can chase down anyone from behind. He finds the ball and plugs holes in a much bigger form than his size would suggest.
Here are my top 10 wishes for the 1st round:
1.) Randy Gregory, EDGE, Nebraska. He'd have been a top 5-7 pick had he not been busted for herb. Now I hear he's off of some draft boards. Gregory can get to the QB and, at times, he reminds of a young Julius Peppers. The Packers locker room would clean him up. And, as fans, he'll make us say EVERYONE'S GOTTA PARTY! PARTY! PARTY! EVERYBODY IS GONNA PARTY!
2.) Shane Ray, EDGE, Mizzou. It's been disclosed that he has a toe injury that'll keep him out for the next 5 months. Without the toe injury, he'd have been a top 7 pick. With the injury, he could drop. Far. If he's around when the Packers are on the clock, it'd be a no brainer that the Packers should draft this rock star pass rusher who has the ability to drop in coverage.
3.) Marcus Peters, CB, Washington. Top 10 on field player with massive personality issues. He was kicked off the team at Washington. He has swagger and elite skill. He's physical at the line and will jam you at the line of scrimmage. He has on field confidence. Although he has locker room issues, the Packers locker room cohesion wouldn't allow for conflict. He'd check his ego at the door. Titletown, U.S.A. is an easy place to fit in. It's a welcoming environment. A respected, unflappable community. The players are in lockstep with one another. Peters would find a home in Green Bay.
4.) Jalen Collins, CB, LSU. See above.
5.) Stephone Anthony, ILB, Clemson. A physical specimen who can do it all. He can come on the blitz and get to the QB. He can chase down ball carriers with first class speed. He can drop into coverage. He can cover the TE down the seam or RB's out of the backfield. He'd fill a major need in the middle of the Packers defense.
6.) Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota. When you watch Williams in college, you see a player who has played TE in a similar fashion as he would in Green Bay's system. He's a monster. A great Red Zone target. He can drop into the backfield and provide a seal for a RB. He can stretch the defense. He grabs yards after contact. He will come in motion and hold the edge to create a lane in run blocking.
7.) Eric Kendricks, ILB, UCLA. Kendricks is a high character leader on the inside of the defense. Arguably the best ILB in pass coverage. A solid run stopping ILB who doesn't shy from contact. He finds the pigskin. He'd bring a combination of high athleticism and awareness that the Packers haven't seen at ILB since Desmond Bishop's injury.
8.) Carl Davis, DL, Iowa. At times, he was absolutely dominant and played as though he was a sure fire top-20 pick. But, he was inconsistent. However, had DL been a top priority, I'd move him to #6 on this list. Instead, ILB is a bigger need and Maxx is far superior to any other TE in the Draft, so they skip Davis. Davis is quick off the snap. He moves well. He finds the backfield in the run game and he's absolutely disruptive as a pass rusher.
9.) Byron Jones, CB, UCONN. He's been as impressive as anyone since the end of the college season. A hero at the combine. Ideal size speed combination. A Workout Warrior. In the gym, he's the best one out there. Looks the part. Seems as though he could step into a nickel role on the outside, which would fill a need. Great length. Not sure how well he turns and runs. I wonder how well his gym speed will translate to the Pro game, but I'm confident Joe Whitt could turn him into a gem.
10.) Malcom Brown, DL, TX. Amazingly quick running straight ahead. Plays with brute force. Sniffs out plays as if he was in the offensive huddle. Can beat Guards and Centers with both his strength and his feet. Limited side to side range. Doesn't move well along the line, but he'll punish you as he's moving straight ahead. He'd be terrific insurance after the season when Daniels, Raji, and Guion all become FA's.
If Gregory, Ray or Peters falls to the Packers, I'll be wearing their jersey in Week 1 at Soldier Field. THE BEARS STILL SUCK!
Here are my rankings of positional targets that I project as fits for the Packers roster. As always, I don't comment on the player if I didn't watch them. I have little-to-no thoughts on the OL. If I believe there is no chance that they'll be available when the Packers select in Round 1, I've left them off my rankings.
I do not see the Packers drafting a QB in the first 5 rounds.
Cody Fajardo, Nevada. Round 6-7. Great mobility. Can throw on the run. Solid athlete. The type of project that might tickle McCarthy's fancy. Has upside and a true developmental project.
Jake Waters, Kansas State. Round 7-UDFA. Earlier in the year, I saw him as a 5-6 round pick. He has a good arm, he's mobile and he plays with a moxie that reminds me of Matt Flynn. He knows the game and finds the 1st down marker.
Taylor Kelly, Arizona State. Round 7-UDFA. Has good size. Looks the part. Good leadership skills. A tough player who will rally the troops in the huddle. He wants the ball. Total developmental project.
With Starks’ contract expiring at the end of the year, it wouldn’t stun me if the Packers drafted a RB. I’m all but positive that Gurley and Gordon will be off the board by #30. If David Johnson is around in Round 3, he’d be a great addition.
David Johnson, Northern Iowa. Round 2-4. He's my #3 back in the Draft. He's a sublime one cut runner who sees the hole. He catches the ball with elite style. He runs with elegance. He lowers his shoulder with desire. He reminds me of Matt Forte.
Jeremy Langford, Michigan State. Round 3-4. He plays like Carlos Hyde who I loved entering the Draft last year. A big game player who guts out tough yards. Good hands. A mudder. A smart football player who has a pension for busting games open.
David Cobb, Minnesota. Round 3-4. A gamer. Runs tough. A quick, one cut runner who display patience. Has solid burst. Finds the hole and goes. Grabs yards in chunks. Likes contact. Plays hurt. A player for teammates to rally around.
Karlos Williams, Florida State. Round 5-7. He plays fast. Really fast. Always a threat. He hits the hole with a vengeance and a strut.
Terrell Watson, Azusa Pacific. Round 7-UDFA. Think James Starks. Taller back who runs high, but hard. Decent in the screen game. Gets better as the game goes along. Doesn't have breakaway speed, but will get to the second level. I have a feeling he might end up in GB as an UDFA.
At some point, there will be a huge run at TE. My guess is that there will be 6-7 TE's selected between picks 80-125. The Packers need a TE in this draft.
Maxx Williams, Minnesota. See above.
Clive Walford, _. Round 2. For someone, Walford will make a great target. He can stretch the field. He's undoubtedly the 2nd best TE in the Draft. He can run. He's a willing blocker who'll use his massive frame to move defenders. Huge upside. Has the ability to do it all. He also finds the holes well in the defense and sits down like a veteran. I expect him to have a really solid career.
Devin Funchess, Michigan. Round 3-4. Most classify him as a WR. Possibly in the mold of Kelvin Benjamin. In my opinion, if he’s going to make it in the NFL, he’s going to have to play a role similar to J-Mike. A tweener. A big WR or a small TE? Don’t think he could create separation on the outside. But, as an in-line TE, he could be an absolutely dangerous weapon.
Jeff Heuerman, Ohio State. Round 3-4. He has all of the tools. Great strength. Tremendous blocker who was under utilized as a receiving TE in college. Statistically, he'll likely have a better career in the NFL than he did in college. He's a physical fist fighter at the line of scrimmage and a tough runner with the ball in his hands.
Nick O'Leary, FSU. Round 4. Under appreciated. Limited athleticism, but he always shows up. Clutch player who can play FB. He is an aggressive blocker who plays with heart. First class hands. Gets open. Tough to cover. Finds the end zone. A smart football player.
Ben Koyack, Notre Dame. Round 4. A steady blocker who plays with intelligence. Hard worker. Not an overwhelming receiving threat, but he can get it done in a similar manner that Tom Crabtree impacted the Packers offense. A move the chains player on 2nd down who'll grab yards after contact.
Jesse James, Penn State. Round 4. He’s a massive presence with solid hands. Underutilized in the college game, he, too, projects to have a better NFL career than he did in the NFL. Not an elite blocker, but has the frame to grow into a top-shelf blocker. He moves well. He presents a mismatch to most defenders as he can step outside and jump over defenders along the sidelines as well.
Nick Boyle, Delaware. Round 4-6. See above.
Gerald Christian, Louisville. Round 6-UDFA. Athletic player. Big frame. Decent, willing blocker. Not afraid to run across the middle. Solid hands. Red zone target. In many ways, he reminds me of Andrew Quarless. Looks the part, has the tools, but will likely never be a top-flight player.
Ted Thompson loves to draft WR’s. It’s a great year for depth at WR in the Draft. There’s strong value in the middle rounds. There will be double digit WR’s selected in the first 3 rounds.
Jaelen Strong, Arizona State. Round 1-2. Robustly confident WR, who can beat you with both speed, strength and toughness. Gets over the top. Catches with his hands. Runs a solid post. Lethal Red Zone threat. Bold in the mind.
Nelson Agholor, USC. Round 1-2. He’s absolutely in the mold of WR’s that Ted Thompson has drafted previously. Quick in-and-out of his breaks. Wicked after the catch. Graceful movements. A high-end athlete. If the Packers weren’t on the brink of a Super Bowl, it’d wouldn’t stun me if he were the pick.
Devin Smith, Ohio State. Round 2-3. Has Pro Bowl potential. High points the ball. Can flat out fly. Showed up in big games. When the lights are on, Smith is at his best. If he’s around in Round 2, he might qualify as the Best Player Available. And, we all know Thompson loves his WR’s.
Sammie Coates, Auburn. Round 2-3. All the potential in the world. Great physique. Tremendous deep threat. Inconsistency prevents him from being a top 20 pick. Looks the part in his uniform.
Tre McBride, William & Mary. Round 3. Had he played in the SEC, he’d be a 1st round pick. But, he didn’t get a chance to consistently perform against high level competition. Has all of the tools. Tough to find a weakness in his game and he’s still raw. Could develop into a truly special player.
Rashad Greene, FSU. Round 3. Reminds me of Antonio Freeman. Great in the slot. Plays faster than he times. On the field, no one catches him. Terrific 3rd down receiver. When the game is on the line, he’s getting open.
Justin Hardy, East Carolina. Round 3. Not overly fast. Not overwhelmingly powerful. But, he’s always making plays. Plays smart. Runs his routes past the marker. Efficient receiver. A tough cover who uses his body really well.
Josh Harper, Fresno State. Round 4-5. See above.
Tyler Lockett, Kansas State. Round 4-5. Special teams guru. Great slot receiver. Super quick. Tough cover. Seems as though he’s the ultimate team guy. Lethal with the ball in his hands.
Kenny Bell, Nebraska. Round 4-5. Big receiver who uses his height well. Good body control. But, his hands are inconsistent. Great punt return skills. Should make an impact this year as a receiver and on special teams. Like his size/speed combo.
Ty Montgomery, Stanford. Round 4-6. I’m higher on him than most are. He reminds me of a poor man’s Anquan Boldin. Tough, physical receiver who can also move into the backfield. Solid in the return game as well. Would instantly help on kick-off returns. Get the ball in his hands and he’ll find space. At this stage, he might be best used in the slot. He’s a classic Ted Thompson “football player.”
Chris Conley, Georgia. Round 4-6. His production warrants a lower round grade. But, his performances after the season ended give hope for a bright future. Conley is an athletic freak. He can jump. He has great size. He has solid body control. And, he can flat-out FLY!
Levi Norwood, Baylor. Round 7-UDFA. High statistical player. Works well in the slot. Dangerous after the catch. Plays with consistency and good energy.
Ricky Collins, Texas A&M-Commerce. Round 7-UDFA. I’ve watched every ounce of video that I can find on him online. Quit football to spend time with an ill family member. But, when he came back to football, he was the most dominant player on the field against his level of competition. He’s the type of player who you want to succeed. Seems grounded. Wants to win!
With Daniels, Raji, and Guion having contracts that expire at the end of the year, I fully anticipate the Packers to grab 1-2 DL in this years Draft. Potentially early.
Arik Armstead, Oregon. Round 1. In his uniform, he reminds me of Julius Peppers. An absolute monster of a man. He shows flashes of blinding brilliance. He looks as though he should be a top-5 pick. And, then, he disappears. Extremely inconsistent. I’d be surprised if he were around at #30. If he is, Thompson will think long and hard.
Carl Davis, Iowa. Round 1-2. See above.
Malcom Brown, Texas. Round 1-2. See above.
Jordan Phillips, Oklahoma. Round 1-2. Phillips is 6-5, 329. A mammoth man. He moves surprisingly well straight ahead. But, he’s slow as can be when he’s moving laterally. A classic run-stuffing DL. Would fill the role that was vacated when Ryan Pickett left. No real pass rush skills, but he’d be great in short-yardage situations and he’s a solid 1st and 2nd down player on run downs.
Eddie Goldman, FSU. Round 1-2. When he’s on, he’s as good as it gets. But, he tires and is inconsistent. Top 20 talent who shines with grand flavor, but he doesn’t always show up. He’s tough to move. Reminds of BJ Raji coming out of college. Shows good quickness and strength.
Xavier Cooper, Washington State. Round 2. I wish he’d become a Packer. Laser quick off the snap. Can beat you with speed, quickness and strength. Has great length. Could play on the edge and get around a Tackle. Could also push a Guard/Center back and/or beat the Guard/Center with quickness on the Inside. Tremendous versatility. Quick twitch player. Relentless effort.
Marcus Hardison, Arizona State. Round 2-3. See above.
Grady Jarrett, Clemson. Round 2-3. He’s slow off the snap, but when he gets going, he’s ultra quick. Can get sideline-to-sideline. Sniffs out plays. Has a good read on the game. High effort, high intensity. Been seems to take plays off.
Trey Flowers, Arkansas. Round 2-3. He’s a top-5 pass rusher in the Draft. Would fit the role of an elephant role. Comes off the left edge with greatness. Limited in the run game, but put him on the field on 3rd down and he’s getting home. EVERY GAME. A tweener in the 3-4. Might be best in a 4-3. Can’t drop in coverage. One trick pony, largely. He’s a pass rusher. And, he gets to the QB in consistent fashion. Wins with speed around the corner. Uses his arms well to create separation.
Preston Smith, Mississippi State. Round 2-3. Like Flowers, he’d fit the Elephant role. Less of a pass rusher than Flowers, but his effort is as robust as anyone’s. Consistent player who excels as a pass rusher. Quick off the ball and plays with more strength than his weight might seem he’d offer. Reminds me of Justin Tuck.
Michael Bennett, Ohio State. Round 2-3. High energy player. Makes flash plays, but disappears too often. Statistically, he makes a number of plays because he simply out-works his opponent.
Tyeler Davison, Fresno State. Round 3-4. Tremendous work ethic. Plays with pizzazz. Gets a good push on the inside. Uses his feet well. 3-down player. Shifty for his size. Impressive interior pass rusher. Also shows up well in short-yardage situations. I’d really like him in the middle rounds.
Anthony Chickillo, _. Round 3-4. Another one of those EDGE players, who’d fit into an Elephant role. Tweener. But, high pursuit player. Great size. Good athlete who plays with intensity and attitude. Talents didn’t translate to statistical dominance, but his performance on the field was more impressive than the numbers suggest.
Za’Darius Smith, Kentucky. Round 4. Playing across Bud Dupree, Smith wasn’t the focal point of attention for opposing offenses. Again, a tweener. An elephant. He made a bunch of plays and was relentless in pursuit even when Kentucky was not competitive. He’s limited athletically, but he’s a high effort player.
Joey Mbu, Houston. Round 5-6. See above.
Louis Trinca-Pasat, Iowa. Round 5-6. Gives great effort. Plays with intensity. While he’s limited athletically, his effort makes him uniquely dynamic. He has average quickness, size and strength, but his desire makes him an attractive player. I’d gladly take him in Green & Gold as a late round pick.
Olsen Pierre, _. Round 7-UDFA. Great ability. All of the talent is there. But, the effort has not been there. There were times earlier in his career that I thought he looked like a 3rd to 4th round pick. But, he never developed into the player that I thought he’d become. Still, the talent is there. I’d take a chance.
Cameron Botticelli, Minnesota. Round 7-UDFA. Hard working WI boy! Milwaukee roots. Can play inside on passing downs and can hold the edge on run downs. Active, tireless performer.
Ellis McCarthy, UCLA. Round 7-UCLA. Big body, highly athletic underachiever. Has some pass rushing ability from the inside. But, largely, best suited to be a rotational run stopping defender.
Neal and Perry have contracts that expire at the end of the year. Clay has to continue to play some at ILB. And, Peppers is 35 years old.
Randy Gregory, Nebraska. Round 1. See above.
Shane Ray, Missouri. Round 1. See above.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA. Round 1-2. Could be an Elephant in the Packers defense. Has the physical tools. Found himself in the offense’s backfield a lot in his Senior year. But, he’s a tweener in a 3-4 defense. Might be best suited for a 4-3 defense.
Nate Orchard, Utah. Round 1-2. Elite pass rushing skills who flashed good lateral quickness at the Combine and showed that he might be able to drop into coverage in a 3-4. But, there’s not significant tape to show the same. Has the makings as a prime-time pass rusher on 3rd down. Could be a target for the Packers at #30.
Eli Harold, Virginia. Round 2. Showed really solid pass rushing skills in college. Did a decent job of holding the point in the run game, but his ability to drop in coverage is a huge question mark. Wouldn’t be stoked with him at #30. If he falls to the late 2nd, which I doubt he does, he has to be considered.
Hau’oli Kikaha. Round 2-3. Take away the knee injuries and he could be a 1st round pick. A little smaller than an ideal 3-4 OLB. He’s 6-2, but he looks smaller than that against bigger OT as he gets swallowed, on occasion. But, Kikaha is fun. He has a great burst off the edge. Elite speed rusher. Fun attitude. A true teammate. He can drop in coverage. He wins around the corner in the pass rush game. Until the Senior Bowl, I was absolutely positive that I wanted him in Titletown, U.S.A., but he was swallowed for most of the Senior Bowl game. That said, leading up to the game, Kikaha was a stud as a pass rusher in the Senior Bowl practices.
Danielle Hunter, LSU. Round 2-3. Absolutely ideal size for an OLB in a 3-4. Moves well. Looks the part. Intimidates at the line of scrimmage. Can drop in space. In his pads, he looks like a 1st round pick. But, his performance is lacking. He struggled to get home as a pass rusher. And, at times, he was knocked backwards as a run stopper. Still, his physique and athleticism warrants a look. And, if it all comes together, the sky is the limit.
Lorenzo Mauldin, Louisville. Round 2-3. Looks like an OLB. Moves a little stiff for a 3-4 OLB, but that’s likely where he’ll get his crack. Not great at any one trait, but can drop in space, can hold the point and will apply pressure to the QB. Has the chance to develop into a solid starter.
Tony Washington, Oregion. Round 4-5. Washington excites. He loves football. A week after the BCS Championship, he was heading to participate in College All-Star Games. And, he was making plays. He can rush the QB. He can drop in coverage. But, he struggles at holding the point in the run game. He has the makings of having a solid NFL career. Should be able to jump in and instantly help on special teams as well. For most of the year, I saw him as a 3rd round pick. He has the physique that teams crave at OLB in a 3-4 defense.
Markus Golden, Missouri. Round 4-5. A tough minded stats machine. He’ll fill up the box score, but there’s no middle ground with him. He’ll either make a big play or he’ll get blown up. Early in his career, his best attribute might be his ability to make plays on special teams. Going to be a high intensity performer. Was a playmaker at the college level.
Deiontrez Mount, Louisville. Round 5-6. Breakout year in 2014. Showed pass rush skills as well as an ability to hold the point and play the run. He’s long and lanky, which might prevent him from winning the leverage battle at the next level, but he has the athletic traits that are required and he looks like a highly coachable talent.
Junior Sylvestre, Toledo. Round 6-7. See above.
Zack Wagenmann, Montana. Round 6-7. A try hard player that will get a crack somewhere as a 3-4 OLB. Reminds of Frank Zombo. Not going to win plays because of his athleticism. Rather, he’ll win because he out works the opposition. He has a good jump off the ball and fights on every play. Seeks the pigskin with desire. He never gives up on a play. Would fit into the culture of Green Bay nicely.
Andrew Hudson, Washington. Round 7-UDFA. Underappreciated player. He got the QB with sound intent. Played well against the run. Somewhat limited athletically, but a really high intensity player who flat-out wins plays. Had great success getting after the QB in big situations.
I love CM3 at ILB. I believe in Joe Thomas. I think he has an opportunity to play in the NFL. Barrington will never be a star, but he’s good enough to start in the league. I’m excited to see Bradford brings to the ILB position. Still, the Packers need another BALLER at ILB. And, someone with speed!
Stephone Anthony, Clemson. Round 1-2. See above.
Eric Kendricks, UCLA. Round 1-2. See above.
Paul Dawson, TCU. Round 2-3. See above.
Shaq Thompson, Washington. Round 2-3. Love him as a football player. As a RB, when he hit you, you went backgrounds and he fell forward. As an ILB, when he hit you, you hit the ground and often, you lost the ball. Great instincts.
Benardrick McKinney, Mississippi State. Round 2-3. Work hard ILB. Active in the middle of the defense. Directs traffic. A leader. Long defender with great reach. He glides as he runs. But, isn’t a punisher.
Denzel Perryman, _. Round 2-3. The fiercest of the hitters at ILB in the Draft. I first saw him when he was a Senior in High School. If the Packers draft him, I’ll share a story. It was awesome.
Jake Ryan, Michigan. Round 4-5. A football player. Smart. Savvy. Finds the football. Wants to succeed. A natural. Awesome hustle. But, somewhat limited athletically. After his ACL tear, he didn’t develop as fast or as much as I thought he might. Plays a little like AJ Hawk.
Ramik Wilson, Georgia. Round 4-5. His best is elite. His worst is undraftable. And, he offers both. Often. Lots of wasted steps. He trusts his instincts. He’s often wrong. But, when he’s right, he makes an immense impact. Great athlete. Can’t tell if some of his shortcomings were because the Georgia defense was so bad. It’s possible that he might elevate into a star if he were surrounded with great talent. High ceiling. Boom or bust player.
Ben Heeney, Kansas. Round 4-5. Classic Midwestern mindset. Hard worker. Tough. Smart. Leader. Limited athleticism.
Bryce Hager, Baylor. Round 5-6. Tenacious defender. Brings labor to each play with a blue collar approach. Excelled in a conference which really spread him out and limited his strengths. Still, he persevered and made plays. Seems like a fit for the NFC NORTH.
Martrell Spaight, Arkansas. Round 5-6. Good inside blitz. Recognizes and reads plays with excellence. Solid leader. Decent athleticism. But, has a tough time getting off of blockers. Solid player with limited upside.
Jeff Luc, Cincinnati. Round 5-6. A bully in the middle. Short, stout, and robust in his approach. Doesn’t look like an ideal ILB, but then you see him move and you’re shocked. Moves very well. And, he’ll pop you. Second hardest hitting ILB in the Draft, behind Perryman. Great football player.
Zach Vigil, Utah State. Round 5-6. A little undersized, but an overachiever. Would instantly make plays on special teams coverage units. He gets off blocks well. He shoots gaps with firmness. He comes on the blitz with committed intent. He can drop in coverage. Might be underrated and overlooked.
John Timu, Washington. Round 7-UDFA. Timu was underappreciated due to the other stars on the Washington defense. But, Timu keeps things together in the middle of the field. A leader. He sees things before they occur. He’s great in coverage. A little stiff, but capable as a run defender. He’s a fighter.
Quayshawn Nealy, Georgia Tech. Round 7-UDFA. If Nealy were 2 inches taller, he’d be a mid-round pick. He was the heart and soul of the Georgia Tech defense. He can come on the blitz. He’s gritty. A max effort performer.
Derrick Malone, Jr., Oregon. Round 7-UDFA. Exciting athlete who played a lot of OLB. Can drop with excellence. Loses the point of attack, but would benefit from hiding behind the DL on the inside of a defense. He has quickness. Solid role player potential who could aid on special teams.
Karl Mickelsen, Fresno State. Round 7-UDFA. Plays a lot bigger than he lists. A huge heart. A nose for the ball. A great competitor. Likely undrafted, I’d love to see him in Green Bay’s Training Camp.
The greatest need on the roster. Without a doubt. It’s too bad that there’s almost no chance Waynes is in Titletown, U.S.A. For the record, I don’t want PJ Williams or Ronald Darby.
Marcus Peters, Washington. Round 1-2. See above.
Jalen Collins, LSU. Round 1-2. See above.
Byron Jones, UCONN. Round 1-2. See above.
Kevin Johnson, Wake Forest. Round 1-2. Plays faster than he times and bigger than he checks in at the weigh in. Has a great break on the ball. Really quick. Should be able to play on the outside as well as in the slot. Jumps routes with confidence. But, not sure how tough he is.
Eric Rowe, Utah. Round 2-3. Is he a Safety or is he a CB? He’s fast enough to play CB, but he seems to me as though he doesn’t play with the speed that he times at. Looks like he might be a better Cover-2 CB. Or a zone CB. Not sure that he can turn and run. He’ll hit you. Plays with power. If he’s there in the 3rd round, he’s a no brainer.
Quinten Rollins, Miami of Ohio. Round 2-3. Plays like a middleweight boxer. He’s a feisty fighter. Quick on his feet. Utilizing his basketball skills to steal the ball, he displays great coordination. Both hand-eye coordination and foot-eye coordination. But, I see him solely as a slot CB.
Steven Nelson, Oregon State. Round 3. If he were 2 inches taller, he’d be a sure fire 1st round pick. He has great playmaking skills. A tough-minded CB who’ll get in your face and can offer a variety of talents. He’ll come on the blitz. Though he doesn’t have great speed, he’ll turn and run with a WR. He’ll help out in the run game as a sound tackler.
Josh Shaw, USC. Round 3. He runs with a confident swagger. He turns and runs with goodness. He sees the football. But, toughness might be an issue.
Alex Carter, Stanford. Round 4. While Carter isn’t littered with stats, he does get his hands on a fair amount of balls. He is aggressive and sees the ball; he just didn’t finish the play. He’s not afraid to step up in run support. Plays with resolve. Should have a future in the league as a 3rd or 4th CB.
Justin Coleman, Tennessee. Round 6. See above.
Ladarius Gunter, _. Round 6-7. Gunter can turn and run with the best of them. He’s a little soft, but he’s willing. He might translate best to FS, but he has a future in the league. High points the ball. Made some big plays when the lights were on. Some might have him as an undrafted prospect. I think he has a bright future.
Justin Cox, Mississippi State. Round 6-7. YOU CANNOT TEACH SPEED! Cox has it. He might have character issues, but that shouldn’t be an issue inside the Packers locker room. Get Joe Whitt’s hands on him and great things might follow. Has starters tools, but the film shows significant limitations. As a rookie, he’s likely to solely be a gunner on special teams. Truly, a developmental prospect.
Curtis Riley, Fresno State. Round 7-UDFA. Every time I watched Riley, he was making a play. Granted, he didn’t pick off passes, but he was doing everything else. He was fighting WR’s to break up passes. He was jumping routes. He was helping out in the run game. He’s a little stiff, but he has decent speed and could develop into a solid man-to-man cover corner. Raw player. Hope he gets a shot as he has upside.
Bernard Blake, Colorado State. Round 7-UDFA. Looks like he could step into the slot and play right away. Not afraid to get his hands on you, but he’s undersized. He high points the ball, so if he can add weight/strength, he might be able to develop into a player that can play on the outside.
The starters are set for the next couple of years, but the depth is a concern as Sean Richardson is likely gone after this year. Landon Collins is the only high-end prospect and he’ll be gone before the Packers select at #30.
Damarious Randall, Arizona State. Round 2-3. Hard hitter who finds the football. Great in the run game. Plays with passion. He can also step into the slot and cover a receiver. Gets his hands on the receiver and does a good job directing rounds.
Kurtis Drummond, Michigan State. Round 3-4. See above.
Cody Prewitt, Ole Miss. Round 3-4. An intimidator. Physical, middle-of-the field presence. Brings an attitude. Also, a playmaker who reads the QB and grabs picks. Good leadership qualities. Struggles in coverage, but if the balls in front of him, he’s going to make a play that’ll excite.
James Sample, Louisville. Round 4. Limited sample size, but what’s out there is a lot to like. 4 interceptions. Active around the line of scrimmage as he came up in run support. Great tackler. Put him in the box and he’ll be an additional LB.
Derron Smith, Fresno State. Round 4. A little undersized, but an absolutely confident football player. Carries himself with pride. Plays bigger than his height would suggest. High points the ball. Mentally, he’s robustly physical. Gets sideline to sideline in the secondary.
Gerod Holliman, Louisville. Round 5. Leader in the heart of the secondary. Bounce to his step. Plays with big time awareness and reads plays well. 14 interceptions last year. But, he misses a ton of tackles.
Chris Hackett, TCU. Round 6. A big time playmaker. 7 picks on the year. Plays the ball in the air. Not afraid to stick his nose in the box and make a tackle. If not for major speed concerns, he’d have all of the tools to be a starter in the NFL.
Jordan Richards, Stanford. Round 6. Razor sharp in the mind. He was the captain, the unquestioned leader. It was clear on the field and on the sideline. Richards was in charge. Highly productive on the field as a tackler. Not fleet of foot, so he’s best used just outside the 7-man box. Solid tackler who attacks with a vengeance in run support. Huge liability over the top, but should make for a solid special teams performer.
Nick Perry, Alabama. Round 7. There are times in which he flashes and shows mid-round potential. But, he’s still a developmental player who has not seen enough playing time. One-year starter. Made some key plays in the passing game, but also overran a number of plays in the run game. Was learning on the fly last year and improved as the year went along.
Yes, it’s Draft Weekend. Where Ted Thompson goes back to his Roots. And builds his team through the draft. This year – we’ll also see extremely heightened activity in UDFA. I’m anticipating Ted will trade down at some point to draft 11 players. He’ll add 15-16 via UDFA. There’s no one I’d prefer over Ted Thompson this weekend.
In Ted, I trust.
Go Pack Go!