With Free Agency underway, Ted Thompson resumed his neverending mission to anger fans on twitter when the news broke that Jared Cook would not sign with the team. But, he had a Plan-B. He always has a Plan-B.
Getting Martellus Bennett in Green Bay is an amazing coup for the team, but that’s not where Ted excels. He excels in the Draft. And with a month and a half to go before we see the college prospects get selected to 1 of 32 different teams, I decided to take a very early look at what this team could do at the end of April. This is my first, very early, edition of the Packers Draft Class Projection.
Note: I used the website FanSpeak to create this mock.
ROUND 1, PICK 29: TJ Watt, LB. Wisconsin
I know that this seems like a homer pick, but the fact that the team actually used one of their official meetings on him means something. They usually reserve those for the late round guys who they can maybe sign after the draft. On top of that, Watt tested amazing and his tape shows top flight potential. Running a 4.69 at 252 pounds is no joke and he showed great explosiveness with a 10’8” broad jump. He is the perfect guy to be a rotational guy in 2017 and step into the lineup in 2018 as Clay Matthews moves inside.
ROUND 2, PICK 61: Cordea Tankersley, CB. Clemson
Now here comes the position everyone is up in arms, demanding Ted address ASAP. And Tankersley, if he falls here, is a slam dunk. Running a 4.4 40 time at 6’1” with long arms that can disrupt receivers at the line, he can step in and become a good boundary corner with good coaching. His only knock was some inconsistency with his hand placement and backpedal. Compared on nfl.com to Dre Kirkpatrick, Tankerley has the pedigree from a good program and the ball skills to make an impact.
ROUND 3, PICK 93: Jourdan Lewis, CB. Michigan
After taking a flyer on more of a project in Round 2, Ted takes his time and gets a pure playmaker in Round 3. Lewis has great ball skills and knows how to break on a pass as well as anyone in the class. He is the perfect slot corner to cause chaos in the middle of the field despite his small frame (5’10” 188 lbs.). This is great value at pick 93.
ROUND 4, PICK 134: Jaleel Johnson, DL. Iowa
The Packers tend to do well with Iowa guys in the trenches (See: Bulaga, Bryan and Daniels, Mike), and Johnson is in that mold. A high motor guy with good athleticism to jump gaps and rush the passer, Johnson was highly productive last season, racking up 7.5 sacks. This is a depth pick for the Packers to replace Letroy Guion and the value here is too good.
ROUND 5, PICK 172: Demontae Kazee, CB. San Diego State
Another corner to continue to build up the secondary, Kazee is a talented corner with a ton of experience in the Mountain West, being named conference Defensive Player of the Year twice. He is a natural ball hawk with 15 interceptions the past two seasons, and is very similar to Casey Hayward in the way he reads routes.
ROUND 5, PICK 182(Compensatory): Eric Saubert, TE. Drake
With Martellus Bennett in the fold, the Packers can look toward a tight end in the later rounds who has a high ceiling and can learn from a guy like the Martysaurus Rex. At 6’5”and 253 lbs, Saubert is a natural receiver who has a knack for getting open. However, like Bennett early in his career, Saubert needs a lot of work as a blocker and more consistent focus to avoid stretches of drops. But if he can realize his potential, the team has a nice receiving complement for the offense.
ROUND 6, PICK 212: Kyle Fuller, C. Baylor
A behemoth in the middle at 6’5” and 304 lbs, Fuller has the size and length to anchor well in pass protection while setting a strong base in the run game. He’s not the most athletic guy in the draft among the offensive line, but he isn’t a guy who will succeed on the second level much. In Round 6, this is very much a depth pick and a guy who can learn from Corey Linsley, another guy who people thought would only be a depth lineman.
ROUND 7, PICK 247: Keionta Davis, DL/LB. Chattanooga
A bigger edge rusher for the 3-4, Davis has a similar build to guys like Nick Perry and Datone Jones, but doesn’t have their athleticism. Davis is a bull in the pass rush, with good upper body strength, and is another guy with a high motor who never quits on plays. But he struggles with long-armed tackles and bending around the corner. A project in Round 7 for the Packers.
And there we have it, Mock Draft #1 from me. I know you guys will notice that there’s no running back taken here. The simple explanation for that is this: at each pick, I didn’t see any of them worth that pick. It was either way too early for the backs available, or the good ones went just before I was on the clock. Plus, I fully expect Eddie Lacy to be back in Green Bay.——————
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.