This will be my final version of the Green Bay Packers Mock Draft. Some insight into what the Packers may do on Thursday:
1st Round – Pick # 27 – DE Jarran Reed, Alabama
I’m definitely hoping for a trade down here. I think this draft is just too deep not to try to accumulate some more picks and get multiple defensive lineman and address all their needs.
Some examples of what a trade down might look like: http://packerstalk.com/2016/04/24/green-bay-packers-2016-draft-trading-down/
There are some great options to consider at defensive line, but I have a difficult time finding a way that DTs Vernon Butler or Andrew Billings fall to the Packers. Reed keeps getting knocked for not having great sack numbers. However, he wasn’t asked to rush the passer much and college, and when he was, his hurries and pass knock downs were high. He will be strong against the run from day one, and has the ability to develop into a great NFL defensive lineman.
Previous Picks: DT Kenny Clark-UCLA, DT Vernon Butler Louisiana-Tech
2nd Round – Pick #57 – RB Derrick Henry, Alabama
There is a lot of noise that Henry could be sliding down draft boards because of the poor history of Alabama Running Backs in the NFL. Henry is an absolute battering ram, and I see him as more explosive than Eddie Lacy (even skinny Eddie Lacy). Henry is a luxury pick, but he’ll give the Packers insurance if Lacy can’t stay healthy, and if he decides to leave via free agency.
If someone like Notre Dame Center Nick Martin fell to the Packers he would be pretty difficult to pass up. Other consideration would be DE Jihad Ward of Illinois, DE Chris Jones of Mississippi State, and LB Su’a Cravens of USC.
Previous Picks: LB Su’a Cravens-USC, WR Braxton Miller-Ohio St.
3rd Round – Pick #88 – ILB Deion Jones, LSU
Jones has the athleticism to be a factor in the Packers ILB rotation, and possibly even take over a starting spot. It’s become clear that it is not a highly valued position in Dom Capers defense, but an upgrade is needed.
Previous Picks: RB Kenyan Drake-Alabama, OT Willie Beavers-Western Michigan
4th Round – Pick #125 – ILB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame
Smith’s medical reports have gone very poorly. Many mock drafts have him falling all the way to the end of the draft. Having two comp picks in the fourth round allows the Packers to roll the dice a bit. It’s hard to say if another team would take a gamble on Smith earlier in the draft, but this is where I would feel comfortable with the Packers doing so.
Previous Picks: LB Jaylon Smith-Notre Dame, LB Joe Schobert-Wisconsin
4th Round – Pick #131 – OT Jerald Hawkins, LSU
The Packers have a lot of impending free agents on the offensive line, and they need someone who can play tackle for when Bakhtiari or Bulaga inevitably get hurt. Hawkins gives the Packers a guy with some size and athleticism who could turn into a really good pro player, and would hopefully end Don Barclay’s time with the team. Plus, Ted Thompson has great luck on offensive linemen in the fourth round.
Previous Picks: OT Joe Haeg-North Dakota St, RB Jordan Howard-Indiana
4th Round – Pick #137 – OG Cole Toner, Harvard
I’m keeping Cole Toner as the one holdover from my second mock draft because I just love the way this guy plays. Toner is a tough guy who possesses the type of intelligence you’d expect from a Harvard player. I think Toner can be kicked inside and be a developmental Guard. The Packers risk losing a combination of Lang, Sitton, and Tretter next offseason, so Toner gives them some options.
Previous Pick: ILB Antonio Morrison-Florida, OT Cole Toner-Harvard
5th Round – Pick #163 – CB Daryl Worley, West Virginia
The Packers will need to find a fourth CB. Worley could compete with Gunter for that spot. He has great length and ball skills, which the Packers covet, and that may allow him to overcome a lack of acceleration and stiff hips.
Previous Picks: NT Hassan Ridgeway-Texas, CB Harlan Miller-SE Louisiana
6th Round – Pick #200 – RB/WR Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Reynolds position in the NFL is up for debate, but how electric he is with the ball is not. Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers would find ways to line him up all over the field to create mismatches, and despite a lack of experience, has the speed and acceleration to contribute on special teams.
Previous Picks: DE Matt Ioannidis-Temple, LB Kris Frost-Auburn
7th Round – Pick #248 – WR/TE Devon Cajuste, Stanford
I really want the Packers to draft a Punter to replace Tim Masthay. However, they are more likely to pick one up as an undrafted free agent. Cajuste can’t play on the line in the NFL, but he also runs to slow to be a productive WR. However, he runs good routes and has good hands. I think he could be a guy that might be able to make the team as a 3rd or 4th TE and contribute on 3rd downs by creating mismatches with smaller CBs in the slot.
Previous Pick: P Riley Dixon-SyracuseAndrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig