As we near the 2017 NFL Draft, the Packer’s needs have become more clear. Pass rush, Cornerback, Running Back, Guard, and Defensive Line depth all seem like areas Ted Thompson could target. Here’s my first look at where the Packers could go with their 8 picks:
1st Round, Pick 29
OLB TJ Watt – Wisconsin
I am not as big a fan of Watt as many seem to be. I think his tape is very inconsistent. He shows bursts of dominant play, followed by long stretches of mediocrity. He really is still learning the position, and I think his work ethic makes him more desirable to a NFL team than his production. He has the size and strength to hold his position and shed blockers in the run game, and the explosiveness to get to the QB. Being able to get to learn alongside Clay Matthews and Nick Perry should help his development.
2nd Round, Pick 61
CB Fabian Moreau – UCLA
Moreau is a converted Running Back, who showed great promise as a CB. He’s got great speed and quickness, but his strength really sets him apart. He is the rare college corner who will factor into the running game immediately, and he has the skillset to develop into a number one corner down the line. The Packers have an affinity for Pac 12 players (and UCLA in particular), and Moreau fits a huge need.
3rd Round, Pick 93
WR Cooper Kupp – Eastern Washington
Kupp can line up at any WR position, is a good route runner coming out of college, and catches everything thrown his way. He catches the ball outside his body and possesses strong hands (he mirrored his game after Larry Fitzgerald and it shows). His athleticism has been questioned, but receivers like Kupp have been proving why 40 times don’t always indicate future success of NFL receivers.
4th Round, Pick 134
RB Samaje Perine – Oklahoma
Perine is a true power back. He’d be the perfect complement to Ty Montgomery, and would be a great short yardage and goal line back. He is probably limited to running between the tackles, but adds a dimension the offense that they currently lack. As an added bonus, Perine broke Melvin Gordon’s single game rushing yard record as a true freshman running behind Aaron Ripkowski’s blocking.
5th Round, Pick 172
Jake Eldrenkamp – Washington
2017 is a weak draft for offensive lineman, but I think Eldrenkamp can be a steal. TJ Lang may be easier to replace than we think because the Packers don’t ask their Guards to pull, so there is less difficulty transitioning to the position out of college. Eldrenkamp brings good athleticism, length, and bend to the position, but needs to put on some more weight and strength. Best case scenario he would be the starting Right Guard, otherwise he could be expected to be a good depth player who would develop into a starting Guard once he adds more functional strength.
5th Round, Pick 182
OLB Ejuan Price – Pittsburgh
Price has injury concerns and stands only 5’11”. But he has one thing that will get him drafted in the middle rounds. He is an explosive force as a pass rusher. He’ll bring about Elvis Dumervil comparisons because of the size, but like Dumervil also has the explosiveness to blow by Tackles and the moves to get back inside. He will be limited to a pass rush specialist because he’ll get engulfed in running situations.
6th Round, Pick 212
QB Joshua Dobbs – Tennessee
Dobbs has excellent athleticism and delivery of the deep ball. He needs to develop his footwork, but Mike McCarthy could do wonders for Dobbs. The Packers may look to draft a developmental QB to take over the backup position in case Brett Hundley is traded next offseason.
7th Round, Pick 247
CB Brian Allen – Utah
Allen is a converted WR who is exceptionally raw in coverage. He is 6’3 with 4.48 speed, but would need a season at the professional level to learn technique and how to tackle.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