Green Bay Packers 2016 Draft: Mock Draft v1.0

UCLA Defensive Lineman kenny clark

Since we have hit the one month mark before the 2016 NFL Draft, it is time to take a look at the options the Green Bay Packers will have. I will not pretend to be foolish enough to predict what Ted Thompson will do over the course of 7 rounds and 9 draft picks, but will take a look at the type of player that would fill out the Packers roster at each pick. I will be doing this again as we get closer to the draft, and again after the draft, so everyone can analyze just how right or wrong I am.

1st Round – Pick # 27 – DT Kenny Clark, UCLA

It is becoming more and more obvious that the Packers will need to address defensive line early in the draft with the loss of BJ Raji. Clark seems to be a really good value at 27. With defensive line such a deep position it allows a player like Clark to slide down the board. Clark understands leverage well as a former wrestler, and possess a great combination of strength and quickness.  I love Linebacker Darron Lee from Ohio State, but I just couldn’t see a path to him sliding to the Packers. He possesses the kind of elite athleticism and coverage ability Packers fans covet, but I have a feeling he will be the Ryan Shazier of this draft and shoot up just out of Green Bay’s reach.

2nd Round – Pick #57 – LB Su’a Cravens, USC

I see Cravens as the equivalent to Deone Buchanon with the Cardinals. He has the coverage skills of a Safety (which he played in college), but is going to be the Dime Linebacker for the Packers. Cravens will be on the field in the situations where Joe Thomas was last season. He will cover Tight Ends and Runnings Backs out of the backfield. TE Austin Hooper of Stanford could be an option, but I think Jared Cook can serve as a band-aid at TE for a year or two. Baylor DE Shawn Oakmon is a high risk, high reward player who could also go in this range.

3rd Round – Pick  #88 – RB Kenyan Drake of Alabama

This was a tough pick for me. On one hand, the Packers are expecting a slimmed down Eddie Lacy for next season, have resigned James Starks, and have a young project in John Crockett. On the other hand, I love everything about Kenyan Drake. He’s explosive, plays like a receiver in the passing game, and doesn’t have the same wear on his body that many other college running backs do. I think this is a luxury pick the Packers can afford to make because they addressed TE in free agency.

4th Round – Pick #125 – LB Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame

I have no idea where to expect Smith to get drafted. He had the potential to be the top pick overall. Now he won’t even be able to play in 2016. If he lasts until the 4th Round, I think it would be the perfect spot to take him. With some patience Smith could be a major contributor in 2017, or he could turn into the next Marcus Lattimore and never play a snap. With two comp picks in the 4th round, I would be willing to gamble with this pick.

4th Round – Pick #131 – OT Joe Haeg, North Dakota St.

The Packers starting offensive line was really good last season when healthy. They stymied the fearsome pass rush of the Cardinals in the playoffs. However, they weren’t healthy very often. Green Bay’s depth on the inside of the line is good enough, but at Tackle it has been putrid. Don Barclay needs to be replaced, and Haeg gives you a player who can step in and be the backup right away. The Packers don’t mind small school offensive lineman, and Haeg has the potential to be a starter at the Right or Left Tackle if he’s given some time to develop.

4th Round – Pick #137 – ILB Antonio Morrison, Florida

Morrison is the type of gamble the Packers don’t take very often. He has had off the field issues in college and is coming off an injury. However, he provides the type of talent that would have to be intriguing for a team that has struggled at Inside Linebacker. Morrison is undersized but can really fly to the ball and make things happen when he gets there. Loading up with Morrison and Cravens gives GB some options for next season, and with Jaylon Smith added to the mix in 2017, this draft could turn a position of weakness into a position of strength.

5th Round – Pick #163 – NT Hassan Ridgeway, Texas

Ridgeway can be a guy who will contribute in the middle of the defense right away. He can be a pocket pusher in running situations, which Dom Capers will need to help replace BJ Raji.

6th Round – Pick #200 – DE Matt Ioannidis, Temple

Ionnidis is a player who provides a lot of position versatility and plays with a mean streak. He doesn’t offer a ton of quickness in the pass rush game, but he would be another important part of the Defensive Line rotation on early downs.

7th Round – Pick #248 – P Riley Dixon, Syracuse

Tim Masthay needs to be replaced. I’m not usually a fan of drafting a Punter, but Dixon is really special and I’d rather not fight for his services with other teams. He has great hang time, has dealt with the elements in college, and even has some skills on Punt fakes.

Undrafted Options

There are a few players I’m really intrigued by that probably won’t get drafted:

QB Jake Rudock, Michigan

Rudock has the skills you want in a developmental Practice Squad player. Under McCarthy’s tutelage he could be the next Scott Tolzien.

WR Byron Marshall, Oregon

Like many Oregon WRs has the skills of a Running Back. The Packers love WRs who can make plays after the catch, and Marshall could take a year to develop as a route runner.

FS Michael Caputo, Wisconsin

Just a hard-nosed, smart player who is always around the football. I think he would be great on Special Teams. It would be difficult to make the team at Safety, but could also be a really good Practice Squad player who would make the other players better during the week.

Andrew 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 host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig
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8 thoughts on “Green Bay Packers 2016 Draft: Mock Draft v1.0

    1. Doubtful and either way in his “mock” Cravens would be wasted 2nd RD pick. He has Jaylon Smith to the Packers in the 4th rd. By yr 2, Cravens would be a backup ILB and ST player, nothing more. Jaylon Smith and Cravens play the exact same style and position, and Smith if FAR more talented than Cravens. Not that Smith will fall to the 4th anyway. If Smith’s knee shows improvement and there isn’t nerve issue on his recheck before the draft, he would be a great pick at 27. And if it doesn’t check out, he still is probably gone by the packers pick in the 2nd. He’s a top 5 pick and a team is going to gamble on him and his outstanding talent WAY before the 4th rd.

      1. The idea would be that Cravens and Jaylon Smith could play side-by-side going forward. Having both being able to play in passing downs would be an extremem luxury. Unfortunately, the news on Smith’s knee looks pretty bad right now. I do still seeing him going in the 4th round area, but there are a few teams that will pick before the Packers that would probably look to take that risk.

        1. You need ILB that compliment each other. One of them needs to be a good run stuffer, who can step up and take on OG regularly. Neither Smith nor Cravens is the type of ILB that will ever be able to step into a hole and take on OL. It would be a waste of either one to ask them to do that. Packers already have a couple of those on the roster. Barrington and Ryan both fit that mold, unfortunately neither seems like they will be able to run w/ RB and cover TE’s. Hence the need to a chase and cover ILB that is present now.
          The only news on Smith’s knee is from the combine. That’s 2 months ago! Thats not news anymore. Prior to the draft he’ll get a medical re-check that will tell everyone if he is ever going to be the playmaker he seemed destined for. If the nerve has healed or wasn’t injured, he will probably go late 1st or early 2nd. If he has nerve dysfunction at the re-check he will fall farther. Its difficult to predict how far… But even w/ some nerve dysfunction I could see a team willing to risk a 2nd on a playmaker like him. Nerve dysfunction might very well end his career before he even plays a down in the NFL.

    2. It seems unlikely now. Watch for the Panthers to target him at the end of the 1st Round. An update will be coming in the next few days.

  1. I hate these kind of “mock” drafts. Its just a wish list for whatever you want, nothing more. If your going to do a mock, show us all the picks each team makes prior to and after the Packers pick, so we can judge it!
    Clark seems like a big reach at 27. Nice 2nd rd guy tho… Either way, the Packers have Guion and Pennel (after his suspension) at NT, I don’t want yet another NT. Would MUCH prefer Chris Jones at the end of the 2nd. Forced to play out of position at NT much of the time at Miss ST, Jones is a tremendously talented DL and a perfectly suited 34 DE for the Packers! Hell I’d rather have Vernon Butler than Clark for that matter.
    Since we’re doing this I’ll take Lee, Jones, Correa, a couple OL and Drake in the 4th.
    Give me a real 5 tech DE over NT all day long! At least he would be a 3 down DL instead of a 2 down (if that) NT!

    1. Fair enough. Projecting picks is an impossible art, but I think it’s interesting for most people to take a look at what might be available at each pick.
      I think a 5 tech is a great idea, but the Packers will often play only two d-lineman on 3rd down. With Mike Daniels and Datone Jones taking a lot of those snaps, that relieves some of the pressure to get a true 3 down player.

      1. I like Datone, but there isn’t enough of a pedigree that he’s established to say he is going to be re-signed and kept in that role (along w/ his new OLB snaps in replace of Neal). Beside Peppers is getting alot of pass rush downs at DT and both Peppers and Datone aren’t locks beyond this year. As soon as this year, or next latest, another interior pass rusher will be needed, and it would be nice if it were someone w/ length to disrupt passing lanes, something Daniels certainly doesn’t offer.

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