It’s that kind of season where NFL mock drafts are flowing around the Internet and it’s always fun to take some time to read them when you’re bored.
I’m not one to come out with a different one every week though, but I did participate in something that was really fun and interesting. I was the Green Bay Packers GM in a mock draft over at sportshoopla.com with every team having a GM that is a fan of that team, so it was hopefully pretty realistic. I will walk you through my picks and some of the scenarios I was faced with.
You can find a link to the full draft results here http://www.sportshoopla.com/threads/nos-2nd-annual-nfl-mock-draft-full-draft.177022/
Round 1 (30): Malcolm Brown DT Texas
Probably not the pick most people expected, but Brown was an absolute steal at this point in the draft and was by far the best player available on my board. I wouldn’t expect Brown to get far into the 20s on draft day if he makes it that far at all, but he fell in this draft. It was really a no-brainer.
Eric Kendricks was gone at #21 to Cincinnati and there was a huge run of corners before my pick with Marcus Peters, Kevin Johnson, Jalen Collins and P.J. Williams all being taken off the board.
Nose tackle may not be an immediate with Letroy Guion and B.J. Raji being brought back into the mix, but it’s a long term one with both of them being on one-year contracts. Also, Brown is not just a nose tackle and is versatile enough to play anywhere across the defensive line in a 3-4. Brown and Mike Daniels working together in the nickel would be a very nice duo.
Brown’s quickness off the ball at 320 pounds is really awesome and he can anchor one-on-one against the run game. Brown consistently made plays behind the line of scrimmage at Texas. He doesn’t possess great pass rushing moves, but his best football is in front of him and that’s something that he can develop since he’s a good athlete for his size.
Round 2 (62): Paul Dawson ILB TCU
This was another no-brainer decision, as Dawson was the highest rated player on my board at a huge position of need. I would compare getting Dawson here to getting Eddie Lacy in round two two years ago. Dawson is my second rated inside linebacker behind Kendricks and I would personally consider him with a first-round pick.
Dawson has the best tape in the class and improved his dreadful 4.9 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine to a 4.7 at his pro day, which is closer to what he has put on tape. He may be short, but that’s less of an issue lately and it’s more about athleticism. Dawson may never be a guy to take on blockers at the point of attack, but his instincts and agility more than make up for it. He has fast eyes, trusts his keys and absolutely attacks the ball. Dawson has great short-area burst and closing speed.
Also, Dawson is extremely fluid in coverage, which the Packers desperately need. He holds up well in space, gets good depth on his drops and has good range. His good instincts show up here as well with his ability to read the quarterback and get into passing lanes.
Landing Brown and Dawson in the first two rounds would really be a dream scenario for the Packers and would instantly improve their defense. I’m not just saying that because I drafted them either and tooting my own horn, it’s just the way this draft fell and I was able to take advantage.
Round 3 (94): T.J. Yeldon RB Alabama
This is where it gets interesting. Yes, the Packers biggest need left is a corner, but none of the corners available were close to T.J. Yeldon on my board. The gap was just too big to pass up Yeldon for Steven Nelson or Alex Carter. I have Yeldon as a late second-round pick/early third-round pick and he fell all the way to the end of the third.
James Starks is in the final year of his deal, DuJuan Harris is gone and Lacy’s running style is prone to injuries, so running back is not a complete non-need. It just is not very high on the list.
Yeldon is a good compliment to his former Alabama teammate because he does his best work outside the tackles and in open space with Lacy being able to run over the defense inside the tackles. Yeldon can change directions on a dime and is very light on his feet with excellent lateral agility. He doesn’t have elite speed, but his agility and his great cutting makes up for it.
Yeldon could also be great catching the ball out of the backfield, which is something Lacy improved greatly on last year, but is something Yeldon could excel at even more with his ability in space. He will need to fix his fumbling issues. Yeldon is probably the best case scenario in terms of talent at the end of round three.
Round 4 (129): Craig Mager CB Texas St.
Ted Thompson loves to find small school gems and I read recently on Twitter that Thompson was bringing Craig Mager to Green Bay for a pre-draft workout.
I believe in Casey Heyward starting outside, so I do not believe corner is a desperate need. I would have picked one higher, but the draft just never fell that way. Mager has the size at 5-11 1/2 and ran a great 4.4 at the NFL Combine. He was also one of the impressive defensive backs at the East-West Shrine game.
Mager is fluid and balanced in his movement skills with loose hips to be able to turn and run with receivers. He is also able to set the edge in the run game with his good size. Joe Whitt is the best coach on the defensive side of the ball for the Packers and I would like to see what he would be able to do with a small school kid with Mager’s skills.
Round 5 (166): Jesse James TE Penn State
The Packers haven’t had a tight end like Jesse James recently, who is 6-7, 261 pounds. The Green Bay tight ends were a horrible blocking unit last year, and James should be able to help that right away. Another problem the Packers had without a huge tight end was a big prototypical red zone threat, which hurt them at the end of the year. That is hopefully something James could provide as well with his size. He’s never going to stretch the field deep vertically, although he did run better at his pro day with a 4.69 40-yard dash. He does have enough speed to challenge the seam and can make tough catches in traffic.
Round 6 (206): Justin Coleman CB Tennessee
The Packers need depth at corner, so drafting two in the middle rounds seemed like a prudent decision. Justin Coleman is a good depth guy because he has the ability to play both outside and inside, although he profiles as more of a nickel back at his height. If the Packers let Sean Richardson leave than Micah Hyde becomes the top safety backup and they would need more inside help if he was forced to fill in at safety. Coleman had four interceptions in his senior season at Tennessee, so he showed some ball skills. However, his size and the fact that he’s not a blazer will hold back his draft stock.
The draft is still in progress, so I have not made the next two sixth-round compensatory picks or the seventh-round pick, but I wanted to get this up. How do you think I did in my role as Ted Thompson? Look at the draft board and see if you would have made any different decisions. Feel free to discuss in the comments.——————