The 4 most junior writers at PackersTalk.com got “together” this week and rotated picks for the first 100 selections in the upcomign NFL draft. Jacob Westendorf, Ian Hanley, Matt Bove and I played “GM” for 8 positions in each round. Ian was fortunate enough to make the first 3 selections for Green Bay and I made the final, compensatory selection. The results are below along with analysis of each Packers selection. The initial at the end of the selection indicates which writer made the selection. Jacob Westendorf became otherwise engaged so super-sub John Rehor stepped in with his own hard hitting draft analysis:
70. Jacksonville- Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado (R)
Ian Hanley-Not only was Mosley the best player available, he would also fill a big need for the Packers. Mosley is a hard hitting, sure tackler, who also possesses great instincts. I also considered Ohio State’s Ryan Shazier for this pick, as he has many of the same traits, but Mosley’s experience in a 3-4 defense swung my decision in his favor. Despite the injury concerns that are allegedly causing Mosley to fall down draft boards a bit, I still think Mosley would be a great value if he makes it to the Packers at 21.
Ross Uglem- I have been beating the drum for CJ Mosley since very early in the process. As far as I’m concerned he’s one of the best 10-12 players in this year’s draft but his positional value and recent string of minor injuries might cause his stock to take a hit. I’m all for injuries in “draft season” allowing us to select another superstar from Alabama later than we should be allowed to. Mosley is the perfect partner to AJ Hawk and his selection would send Brad Jones back to the super sub role his talents are more suited for. ILBs transfer very well to the NFL as young players and CJ Mosley would be the latest in a recent line (Willis, Bowman, Kuechly, Alonso) to greatly impact a defense.
Matt Bove- Mosley would be an easy selection for the Packers if he slips to #21. He is exactly the kind of coverage linebacker that they have been desperately needing for years now. He also will be a true sideline-to-sideline playmaker with his instincts and athleticism. Mosley would be a three down player in the middle for Green Bay for a long time.
John Rehor- Instant upgrade at the ILB position. Puts a playmaker along side AJ Hawk, and puts Brad Jones back where he belongs-as a backup. Ted Thompson will always pick the BPA on the board, and if Mosley is there, he is the player that needs to be picked. Good tackler, solid all around.
Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State- Pick 53
Ian- The Packers have a glaring need at safety and Bucannon would likely be able to start from day one. Bucannon was a play maker for the Cougars, forcing 7 fumbles and intercepting 15 passes over his four year career. There has been speculation that the Packers could move Micah Hyde to safety, but if the Packers have the opportunity to select a safety of Bucannon’s caliber in the 2nd round, I doubt that they could pass on him.
Ross- Green Bay has a big need at the safety position. The way that we mocked the first round, the two safeties that everyone seems to think are elite and are clearly above the rest, Pryor and Clinton-Dix are gone. It could be argued (and I would agree) that what the Packers really need is a free safety. They need a player with the range and ball skills of a Nick Collins or Darren Sharper, and Bucannon is not one of those players. What he does bring is a phyiscality and an ability to make plays. Bucannon had 15 INT and 7 FF during his career. His selection would provide an instant upgrade at the safety position.
Matt- Bucannon is not a player I would consider in the first round due to questionable coverage skills, but at this point in the second round he is a fine value at a position of need. He is a hard hitter and tackler, which the Packers need at safety. Also, Bucannon tested much better at the NFL Combine than what was expected.
John- this selection is more for depth than anything else IMO. From the sounds of it Micah Hyde is going to have the starting safety position opposite Morgan Burnett handed to him. It will be his job to lose. If he fails, this is where Buchanon could step in and contribute from day 1. Good speed, big hitter. Worry about him in one on matchups down the field though.
Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame- Pick 85
Ian- With the Packers offense becoming more balanced between the run and passing games, the Packers could use a strong blocker at tight end. At Notre Dame, Niklas was mainly used as a blocking tight end, and had only 37 receptions for his career. And while Niklas will not stretch the field like Eric Ebron or Jace Amaro, he would be an excellent red zone target, and has a lot of room to grow as a pass catcher.
Ross- This was the first spot where I disagreed with Ian. I don’t have a problem selecting a tight end on day 2 because I am not confident Jermichael Finley will return. What I do have a problem with is drafting a tight end that doesn’t seem to have grasped the position yet. I know that Notre Dame is considered a “tight end factory” but really how dynamic are John Carlson, Anthony Fasano, Kyle Rudolph and Tyler Eifert. They aren’t “difference makers”. I get that Niklas has elite size, but he certanliy doesn’t have elite speed and will not stretch the field. The way the board fell, I would have taken Attoachu from Georgia Tech and addressed TE either earlier or later. If forced to pick a TE, I’d have gone with CJ Fiederowicz.
Matt- Niklas is a monster at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, but is still a raw prospect. He does not have great speed, so he will have to rely on his size, route running and hands to make plays in the passing game. However, at his size Niklas should be a great blocker early in his NFL career. Notre Dame has been a tight end factory of late and Niklas could add to that group.
John- Big player, as in REALLY big (6’7″, 270 LBS). Good blocker, which is perfect for the revitalized Packers running game. Could be an H-Back type. Not a great route runner. Fills a need at TE, and would be a great value pick if he fell to the 3rd round.
Josh Huff, WR, Oregon- Pick 98
Ross- Josh Huff reminds me a lot of Greg Jennings. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, both players stand about 5’11” and weigh in around 200 lbs. The two players ran nearly identical 40 times, Jennings at 4.48 and Huff at 4.51. Neither player is going to be the best athlete on the field at any point in time, but both players have and adept ability to control their bodies and run routes. Both players are also fantastic after the catch. I struggled with my decision between Huff and Wisconsin’s Jared Abbrederis but chose Huff because of his ability to make plays after the catch.
Ian- The Packers are thin at wide receiver, at least relative to previous years, luckily for them this draft is so deep at wide receiver that they are able to find a player of Huff’s quality late in the 3rd round. Huff may not be the biggest or fastest receiver, but he’s tough and is not afraid to make catches over the middle of the field. Huff’s ability as a return man would also make him appealing to the Packers. The only other player that I would have had a hard time passing up at this spot would have been Boise State’s OLB/DE Demarcus Lawrence, who at pick 98 would be a good value.
Matt- In my opinion, this is a little bit early for Huff. He looks maxed out physically and likely will not add much more mass. Drops and a lack of focus have been issues for him. He is a very fluid route runner with good bursts in his cuts.
John- I actually prefer the player picked after Huff (WR Jared Abbrederis) in this spot more. Smaller size (5’11”, only 206 lbs) without top speed. Don’t really see him fitting in the Packers offense. A little taller, maybe. A little faster, probably. Possession type receiver? Not a fan of this selection