The draft is still three months away, and with Ted Thompson’s hesitance to jump into free agency, Packer fans usually have little to look forward to or talk about until May. So we start to look ahead to the draft, and try to figure out what goes on in the mind of Ted Thompson, and who he might draft in round 1.
The Packers made the playoffs for the fifth straight year, but this tumultuous season exposed many flaws with this team, the most glaring of which, is the Packers lack of play makers on the defensive side of the ball.
Obviously a team’s best chance at finding an impact player in the draft is going to be in round one, and the Packers first round picks over the past few years have been a rather mixed bag. Both Bryan Bulaga and Nick Perry have shown promise, but have spent as much time on injured reserve as they have playing. Derek Sherrod has been a non-factor due to injury, and Datone Jones’ rookie season was disappointing.
If the Packers are going to keep up with teams like the 49ers and Seahawks, they are going to need to start hitting on some of their first round picks. And here are some of the players and positions that may be on their radar come May 8th.
CJ Mosley 6’2” 232 Alabama
Two things will prevent the Packers from taking an inside linebacker in the first round. The first and most important reason is that that Mosley will probably be gone when the Packers pick, and there are really no other inside linebackers legitimately worthy of a first round pick.
The second reason is the Packers may not view inside linebacker as much of a need as I believe most Packer fans do. The Packers are currently paying both Brad Jones and AJ Hawk starter money. Jones was disappointing in his second year after being moved inside, and while durable, Hawk has been the poster boy for mediocrity over his eight year career, and despite this, the Packers have never really seemed inclined to find a replacement.
However, even if the Packers don’t think improving the inside linebacker position is a high priority, if Mosley is still around when the Packers pick, he would be awfully hard to pass up.
Eric Ebron 6’4” 245 North Carolina
Austin Seferian-Jenkins 6’6” 276 Washington
Jace Amaro 6’5” 260 Texas Tech
There seems to be somewhat of a consensus that Jermichael Finley will not be a Packer next year due to a combination of inconsistency, salary demands, and most importantly, health concerns. And if that is the case, the Packers will probably try to find a replacement in this draft.
Ebron, Amaro, and Seferian-Jenkins are all possible first round picks, and would provide the type of offensive threat that the Packers would be missing if Finley is not brought back.
Any one of these tight ends could help the Packers offense immensely, but the Packers may decide that fixing their much maligned defense will take precedence over finding Aaron Rodgers another weapon.
Calvin Pryor 6’2” 208 Louisville
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 6’1” 208 Alabama
There are many applicable adjectives that one could use to describe the safety play of the Packers last season, inadequate, insufficient, or just downright awful. And you could make a strong argument that safety is the Packers’ biggest need.
Clinton-Dix and Pryor are the top two safeties heading into the draft, and either would instantly upgrade the Packers’ safety group. But with teams like the Bears, Rams and Steelers all needing an upgrade at safety, and picking ahead of the Packers, will either Clinton-Dix or Pryor still be on the board when the Packers pick?
If Mosley is gone when the Packers pick, I would hope that Thompson gives serious consideration to either Clinton-Dix or Pryor if they are still on the board.
Stephon Tuitt 6’6” 312 Notre Dame
RaShede Hageman 6’6” 318 Minnesota
Louis Nix 6’2” 345 Notre Dame
Timmy Jernigan 6’2” 298 Florida State
BJ Raji, Ryan Pickett, CJ Wilson and Johnny Jolly are all free agents, which leaves only Datone Jones, Mike Daniels, Josh Boyd, and Jerel Worthy under contract.
Nix could immediately step in at nose tackle if Pickett and Raji are not brought back, and Tuitt, Hageman, and Jernigan would seem like ideal candidates for defensive end in the Packers 3-4 scheme.
The Packers selected Datone Jones with their first pick in the draft last year, but I still believe defensive line still remains a very viable option for the Packers in round one.
There are other positions the Packers could look at in round one as well. Cornerback could be a need if Sam Shields signs elsewhere, outside linebacker may be seen as a need if the Packers are worried about Nick Perry’s inability to stay healthy, and wide receiver could be the pick if there are concerns about being able to re-sign Jordy Nelson and Randal Cobb next year.——————