Packers Draft Prospects: Owners Meeting Edition

Allen Lazard, WR. Iowa State

Over the course of this week, the NFL Owners will meet (Mark Murphy represents the Packers), and go over rule changes, financial details, and the like. And while the rule changes are a step in the right direction (hopefully the catch rule), this week also means that we’re less than a month away from the NFL draft.

And over the past couple months, we have been looking at some of the prospects that could end up as Packers over the weekend of April 26-28. The Packers currently have 12 picks, the most in the league, and while it’s not likely that they’ll use all of them, likely trading up once or twice, that leaves a lot of options for a team that needs to replenish the roster with talent. So let’s take a look at this new batch of prospects.

For previous editions go here.

Quarterback – Chase Litton, Marshall
6’5″ 230 lbs. Junior
Notable: 4.90 40 Time, 34 Career Starts, 3115 Yards in 2017
Projected Round: 6-7

Litton is your prototypical big armed pocket passer from a small school. With a cannon for an arm and no fear in his game, Litton is a bit of a gunslinger, and his tape shows it. Sometimes that gets him into trouble as he can be prone to accuracy issues trying to push the ball, but he has shown some good ability to throw to the sidelines, especially against zone. He is a major project at this point and probably should’ve stayed in school for his senior season, but the tools are there if they can be refined by the right coach.

Running Back – Chris Warren, Texas
6’2″ 247 lbs. Junior
Notable: 25 Bench Reps, 8 TDs in 2017
Projected Round: 7-UFA

Warren is a big bruiser of a back who started to play more H-Back his last year for the Longhorns after he struggled coming back from a knee injury in 2016. He definitely has the frame to be a goal line battering ram in the mold of a Jeremy Hill but his instincts and agility leave a lot to be desired at this point. As a pure bruiser, he sometimes will drive through a tackler and show why he shared time with D’Onta Foreman in 2016, but other times his feet will slow down and he’ll be easy to tackle behind the line. If you’re looking for a 3rd and 2 specialist, he could be the guy in time, but his career will most likely consist of special teams coverage.

Wide Receiver – Allen Lazard, Iowa State
6’5″ 227 lbs. Senior
Notable: 4.55 40 Time, 38″ Vertical, 48 Straight Games with a Catch, 1st Team All-Big 12 (2016, 2017)
Projected Round: 4-5

A big, physical receiver with experience to spare, Lazard was one of the only constants during the past four years in Ames. Lining up outside but moving all over the formation as a boundary receiver, Lazard shined during the last two seasons, catching 140 passes for almost 2000 yards and 17 TD. Lazard is a solid route runner who isn’t afraid of the middle of the field, doing most of his work between the hashes. Great hands, plucking the ball out of the air with ease, and blocks well for a college receiver. However, his overall athleticism limits his ceiling. Like most big receivers, he can struggle with his cutting and agility during his routes, but as a red zone option early in his career, you can’t get much better in this class.

Tight End – Will Dissly, Washington
6’4″ 262 lbs. Senior
Notable: Former Defensive End, Academic All-Pac 12
Projected Round: 6-7

One of the better run blockers in this tight end class, Dissly is built to be in-line next to the tackles and to create a path. Playing with the edge of a defensive end, he shows plenty of nasty when he blocks and is always driving his feet until the whistle. As a receiver, he is unpolished and unproven, but he has been successful in crossing routes and settling down in zones. But any other route will take plenty of work in training camp. Dissly also showed high character, switching positions as the coaches urging after playing in 13 games in 2015 on the defensive line, and running with the opportunity.

Offensive Tackle – Cole Madison, Washington State
6’5″ 308 lbs. Senior
Notable: 2nd Team All-Pac 12 (2017), 26 Bench Reps, 47 Starts at RT (39 Consecutive)
Projected Round: 5-6

Former tight end who bulked up during his redshirt year to switch to the offensive line, Madison was a consistent member of the Mike Leach offense for four years, including the last three as the locked in starter at right tackle. As part of that air raid offense, Madison was asked to use his athleticism a lot as a pass protector, showing an aptitude for sealing the corner and quickness in his hand punch. Balance can be an issue as he can play too far on his heels and be slid back into the pocket, and may need to move to guard.

Interior O-Line – Skyler Phillips, Idaho State (G)
6’3″ 318 lbs. Senior
Notable: Senior Bowl Invitee, 4 Year Starter, 1st Team All-Big Sky (2017)
Projected Round: 5

Incredible strength and upper body power, Phillips has right guard written all over him. Experienced player who has overcome injuries and maintained a high level of play for a small program. A road grader who has a great punch out of his stance, rocking defensive linemen when contacted. Hand placement though is inconsistent and he can get too far outside the pads and draw some flags. Missed 7 games in 2016 with a concussion. Might have the greatest description for a strength on NFL’s draft site, “His arms look like thighs.” That’s power.

Defensive Line – Kahlil McKenzie, Tennessee
6’3″ 314 lbs. Junior
Notable:
Projected Round: 7-UFA

The son of Raiders GM and former Packers executive Reggie McKenzie and the nephew of former Packer Raleigh McKenzie, Kahlil was a five-star recruit coming into the SEC and didn’t quite live up to the billing. Part of that was the torn pectoral he suffered his sophomore year, but as a tackle who was known for his disruptiveness coming into college, he appeared a half second slow off the snap consistently. Long and powerful with his frame, McKenzie shows plenty of potential as a powerhouse, but he doesn’t have great hand placement and can get his pads way too high, leaving him vulnerable to being driven off the ball. A significant project with tools to be an NFL player, but will need a lot of time.

Edge – Jalyn Holmes, Ohio State
6’5″ 283 lbs. Senior
Notable: 51 Career Games Played, Honorable Mention All-Big 10 (2017), 81 7/8″ Wingspan
Projected Round: 3-4

Holmes was the “underrated” member of that lights-out Ohio State defensive line, never getting much recognition but doing his job game in and game out. As a college defensive end, he was at times undersized, especially with his frame making him look smaller, but he was surprisingly strong at the point of attack. A very good bull rush is his go-to move when going after the quarterback but he can transition into a speed move decently. Hips aren’t fluid in space and he needs to make a decision whether he’ll drop some weight to be a 3-4 OLB or bulk up to be a full time DE. As it is now, he’s the prototypical ‘tweener who has a lot of talent but no true position.

Linebacker – Christian Sam, Arizona State
6’1″ 244 lbs. Redshirt Junior
Notable: 13 Games of Double Digit Tackles, 127 Tackles in 2017 (Led Pac 12)
Projected Round: 5-6

The best word to describe Christian Sam during his time with the Sun Devils would be productive. All he did was make tackle after tackle, leading his conference last year. Had 98 in 2015 and 127 in 2017, missing 2016 with a foot injury. A very good athlete, Sam shows good speed and fluidity in the middle of the field. Instincts sometimes can be lacking and he can be caught out of position. A three-down prospect who was almost moved to cornerback early in his career. Isn’t great in the trenches and can be washed out of run plays.

Cornerback – Darius Phillips, Western Michigan
5’10” 193 lbs. Senior
Notable: 12 Career INT, 12 Career Return TD (5 INT/5 KR/1 PR/1 FR), 13 Career TFL
Projected Round: 5-6

One of the best in this class at creating a big play and tilting the field, Phillips has been a wunderkind in the return game and as a ballhawking corner. A former wide receiver who caught 2 TDs as a freshman, his instincts play up in coverage, tracking the ball and getting position over the receiver. Athletic, quick-twitch corner who shows good closing speed and mirror ability. Expert at jumping routes. As a returner, Phillips is decisive and instinctive at finding the lane, showing the speed to pull away after the first wave. Might have to stay in the slot where his slight frame will play better and control his hand checks.

Safety – Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State
6’3″ 202 lbs. Redshirt Senior
Notable: 1st Team All-Big 12 (2017), 4 Year Starter, 284 Career Tackles, 4.45 40 Time
Projected Round: 6-7

Long and athletic, Flowers was one of the cornerstones of the Cowboy defense for four years, making at least 60 tackles in every one. Amazing wingspan for a safety at 79 3/8″ that makes him a perfect fit for the deep center-field role in coverage. If it’s in his range, it’s not getting caught. An intelligent and instinctive player on the back end, he is a high effort tackler. Good at preventing YAC. Biggest issue is his physicality near the line as his frame is very lanky and on the thin side. Can struggle against physical receivers and tight ends if he can’t get position early enough.

Mock Draft #9 (March 26, 2018)
Matt Miller’s Big Board, FanSpeak Team Needs, Difficult Algorithm
1 (14) – Denzel Ward, CB. Ohio State
-The most talented corner in Draft falls due to run on QBs
2 (45) – Mike Hughes, CB. Central Florida
-The type of feisty, athletic corner you want on the outside.
3 (76) – Dante Pettis, WR. Washington
-Best kick returner in Draft. Is also an underrated and well-rounded receiver.
4 (101) – Mark Andrews, TE. Oklahoma
-Draft stock has fallen, but still has future as a starting TE.
4 (133) – Hercules Mata’afa, Edge. Washington State
-Undersized pass rusher with non-stop motor.
5 (138) – RJ McIntosh, DL. Miami (FL)
-Great athlete who relies on quickness and speed to make plays. Developmental prospect.
5 (172) – Kalen Ballage, RB. Arizona State
-A big play waiting to happen, one of the better pass catching backs in class.
5 (174) – Jack Cichy, LB. Wisconsin
-All he did is make plays for Badgers, but injuries are a BIG question.
6 (186) – Brandon Facyson, CB. Virginia Tech
-Long and athletic, deep speed is what drops him to sixth round.
6 (207) – Tray Matthews, S. Auburn
-In the box safety with injury issues. Special teams guy.
7 (232) – Equanimeous St. Brown, WR. Notre Dame
-Deep speed shows up on tape, but needs to play with more of an edge.
7 (239) – Oren Burks, LB. Vanderbilt
-Sam Barrington 2.0. Special Teams leader in NFL who could see time on defense by 2019.

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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.

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