Packers Draft Prospects: Post Janis Edition

The utopia is broken. The 7th-round Playoff hero is no longer wearing Green and Gold, but instead he’s wearing mud brown and faded orange. But in honor of the people’s GOAT, let’s see what other gems can be found by the Packers in the NFL Draft.

Like the past few months, we’ll take a look at each position or position group and focus on one player for each before revealing a mock draft using FanSpeak’s Draft Simulator. Now, let’s go!

Quarterback – Tanner Lee, Nebraska
6’4″ 218 lbs.  Junior
Notable: 3143 Yards in 2017, 3-year starter at 2 schools (Tulane, Nebraska)
Projected Round: 6-7

A big, strong pocket passer, Lee has shown flashes of being a top flight prospect. Lee has very good arm strength that can drive the ball down the field and he can hit his targets down the field. He also sells play action and when he’s on, he can pick apart defenses. The biggest problem is consistency. He can either be a world-beater or holding a clipboard by halftime. Despite multiples years starting for multiple schools, he still struggles going through his progressions quickly, and some people aren’t sure if that can be corrected in the NFL. GMs are going to have to weigh the risk with this pick in the late rounds. He’s probably the biggest upside gamble among the late Day 3 tier of passers.

Running Back – Nyheim Hines, NC State
5’8″ 198 lbs. Junior
Notable: 4.38 40 Time, 4 48+yard TDs in 2017, 3 career KR TD, 1st Team All-ACC, All-American in Track
Projected Round: 3-4

Undersized but productive, Hines is one of the more intriguing running backs in this class. Seen by some scouts as too small to carry the load for a team, he nonetheless is one of the biggest home run threats at any position. With legitimate sprinter speed, he will not be caught from behind and he has shown the ability to create his own space with his burst and acceleration. He’s also experienced at multiple spots in an offense, having played slot receiver, tailback, and the occasional flanker during the past couple seasons. Durability is a question as he did miss time in both 2016 and 2017 while only being a starter for the latter year.

Wide Receiver – Anthony Miller, Memphis
5’11” 201 lbs. Senior
Notable: 3-Year Starter, 2017 All-American, 2 seasons with 90+Rec, 1400+Yards, 14+TD (2016-17)
Projected Round: 2-4

The most productive receiver in this class, Miller was a one man wrecking crew for the Tigers. A dynamite route runner, he excels on posts and double moves, evoking a lot of Greg Jennings memories. A tireless technician, he will almost always outwork his man and plays with an edge. Didn’t run at the Combine but his speed and quickness show up on tape. Might be undersized for a permanent role on the perimeter and despite his massive reception numbers he can be prone to drops. Work ethic and natural skill could make him one of the bigger steals from this class when looking back in five years.

Tight End – Christopher Herndon, Miami (FL)
6’4″ 253 lbs. Senior
Notable: 2nd Team All-ACC (2017)
Projected Round: 4-5

The starting tight end for the Hurricanes the past two years, Herndon was used in a variety of different roles, seeing snaps in-line and on the perimeter. And he was productive in each role, being a model of consistency game in and game out. More quick and intelligent than fast, Herndon isn’t likely to create the big play, but he’ll be a good safety net for his QB. Run blocking is still a work in progress as he is easy to read with his hand placement, leading to a quick counter move. Missed the final two games of last season with a torn MCL that required surgery.

Offensive Line – Martinas Rankin, Mississippi State (T)
6’4″ 308 lbs. Senior
Notable: 1st Team All-SEC (2017), 2 Year Starter at LT
Projected Round: 2-3

A former JUCO transfer, Rankin shows the desire to improve year to year and is willing to put in the work. With a great initial punch and a good kickout, he has a great base to build on as a blocker. A natural on the left side, Rankin uses his reach more than his strength in passing downs to re-direct his opponents. He can also pull effectively, showing good instincts to create a hole for his running back on the edge. However, he has struggled in the past with speed rushers, opening up his hips and being turned around and needs bulk up a tad in his lower body to be consistent with his anchor. An ideal swing tackle early in his career with starting potential.

Defensive Line – Rasheem Green, USC
6’4″ 275 lbs. Junior
Notable: 16.5 Sacks past 2 Seasons (10 in 2017), 1st Team All-Pac 12 (2017)
Projected Round: 2

A highly rated player coming in Southern California, Green didn’t disappoint, making an impact immediately with 19 tackles as a freshman before starting the past two years. A instinctive pass rusher, Green is comfortable over the guard or lining up outside the tackle, with a plan to beat his opponent on a play by play basis. A sound tackler, Green wraps up and drives the ball carrier through the ground. If he doesn’t get to the QB, he instinctively gets his hands up, using his long frame to block passes at the line. He sometimes gets too focused on his battle at the line, losing contain and being blocked out of the play and doesn’t consistently use his length and explosiveness as an athlete, preferring to finesse.

Edge – Kemoko Turay, Rutgers
6’5″ 253 lbs. Redshirt Senior
Notable: Freshman All-American (2014), 15.5 Career Sacks, 4.65 40 Time
Projected Round: 3

Turay is an interesting case of a pass rusher who looked like a surefire All-American candidate after his redshirt freshman year before having his numbers decrease exponentially over the next three. He had 7.5 of his 15.5 sacks that freshman year, making teams wonder if he relied too much on his natural athleticism. As a prospect, Turay has everything you want in an edge rusher. Agile and very quick with long arms, he at times controls his side of line of scrimmage. He just can’t tap into it consistently, struggling until this past season to find a counter move for his speed. Not a good finisher yet, can struggle to bring down the QB when he gets there. Needs to hit the weight room hard during camp, as he can add 10-15 pounds for sure without losing his quickness and burst.

Linebacker – Tegray Scales, Indiana
6’0″ 230 lbs. Senior
Notable: 2016 All-American,, 46 Career TFL, 18 Career Sacks, 8 Interceptions
Projected Round: 4-5

Scales was nothing but productive for a middling Indiana team for four years, dominating in 2016 before regressing to merely very good in 2017. Disruptive in the backfield, his 23.5 TFL in 2016 led the nation. He’s not particularly fast or particularly big, but Scales is one of the smarter linebackers in the Draft, almost always taking the best angle to make the tackle. Plays stronger than his frame would suggest, holding his own in the trenches and not being driven out of the play. Instant special teams starter with starter potential down the road.

Cornerback – Nick Nelson, Wisconsin
5’11” 200 lbs. Junior
Notable: 1st Team All-Big Ten (2017), 21 Passes Defensed in 2017
Projected Round: 3-5

Of all the corners in this deep class, none have had a more wide projection of their draft position than Nelson. A starter for two schools (Hawaii, Wisconsin), Nelson was the ultimate deflection specialist, never recording an interception in his college career but knocking down 42 passes. With the ability to high point and get a hand on the ball, Nelson is superb in man coverage, but his lack of straight line speed may hurt his stock, as will his lack of takeaways. Nelson is also extremely physical, and needs to make sure he keeps his hands in check at the next level, where the rules are much more tight for corners. Brings return ability, especially in punt game.

Safety – Stephen Roberts, Auburn
5’11” 186 lbs. Senior
Notable: 2 Year Starter, 136 Career Tackles
Projected Round: 5-7

Roberts is a hard safety to get a read on. He plays like a strong safety but has the frame and athleticism of a free safety. He has played both positions during his tenure at Auburn. Natural in coverage, Roberts can move up into the slot and cover smaller receivers, while also playing a centerfield role on third downs. With good feet and hips, Roberts has upside as a coverage safety, but his lack of strength and his spindly frame could limit him to that role.

Mock Draft #10 (April 1, 2018)
Draft Countdown’s Big Board, User-Voted Team Needs, Difficult Algorithm
1 (14) – Denzel Ward, CB. Ohio State
-Insanely athletic corner could start from Day 1
2 (45) – Dallas Goedert, TE. South Dakota State
-Graham’s presence will make sure he isn’t rushed into a prominent role. Top-flight potential.
3 (76) – Duke Ejiofor, Edge. Wake Forest
-Strong, powerful pass rusher could be Nick Perry-lite, without the injuries.
4 (101) – Tarvarus McFadden, CB. Florida State
-Big, lanky corner with great ball skills but lack of deep speed and struggles tackling push him down the board.
4 (133) – Josey Jewell, LB. Iowa
-Instinctive and productive, Jewell won’t pass the test on paper, but his tape shows a long term starter.
5 (138) – Dalton Schultz, TE. Stanford
-Already a good run blocker, he doesn’t get near enough credit for his work in the passing game.
5 (172) – Will Clapp, C. LSU
-Versatile interior lineman is assignment sure as it gets, despite below average athletic testing.
5 (174) – Kyle Lauletta, QB. Richmond
-Developmental prospect who needs a couple years. Ideal #3.
6 (186) – Kalen Ballage, RB. Arizona State
-A more explosive version of James Starks. Lack of consistency drives leads to vary degrees of draft stock.
6 (207) – Michael Joseph, S. Dubuque
-Got better every year with 8 INT in 2017. Big jump from DIII however.
7 (232) – Levi Wallace, CB. Alabama
-Former walk on plays with intelligence more than pure athleticism. Immediate Special Teams stalwart.
7 (239) – Javon Rolland-Jones, Edge. Arkansas State
-Played in the FBS, but 43.5 Career Sacks are hard to ignore.

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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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