With the 2017 season officially concluded, the next big event is the NFL Draft. And for the Packers, that means their highest draft position since 2009 when they picked 9th. So, just like 2 weeks ago, let’s take a look at a draft prospect at each position to keep tabs on and then reveal another FanSpeak Mock Draft.
Quarterback – Kurt Benkert, Virginia
6’4″ 215 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: School Record 3207 yards in 2017, 25-9 TD-INT
Projected Round: 3-5
Benkert is a typical pro-style prospect out of the ACC. He just played for a bad team with few weapons around him. He can make all the throws, and has good footwork in the pocket. He started for only two years and was stuck on an offense that didn’t cater to his skills very well. He could be a rising prospect during the combine. Could be a competent backup immediately with starter potential down the road. Reminds me a lot of Matt Hasselbeck.
Running Back – Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
6’2″ 235 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: 37 of his 154 carries went for either a First Down or Touchdown.
Projected Round: 4-7
A big, physical runner in the mold of Eddie Lacy or Chris Ivory, Scarbrough will run over you with a smile on his face. Broke out in a big way at the end of 2016 before sharing the load with Damien Harris in 2017. Doesn’t have that home run gear and has had questions asked about his effort. If everything clicks, he could be a future bellcow in the backfield.
Wide Receiver – DJ Moore, Maryland
5’11” 215 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: Big Ten Receiver of the Year, Single Season School Record for Receptions (80)
Projected Round: Late 1-3
Moore is a very good route runner who knows how to make cuts in space. Shows great hands, doesn’t let the ball into his body often. One of the best YAC receivers in the class, but he is more quick than straight line fast. Can become a very good slot receiver right away but has the skills, if not the height, to be be a starter on the outside.
Tight End – Adam Breneman, Massachusetts
6’4″ 250 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 2nd Team All-America (PFF), Mackey Award Semifinalist
Projected Round: 3-5
A transfer from Penn State, Breneman was one of the most productive tight ends in the nation the past two years. He shows a knack for getting open despite average speed. Great hands and a good blocker. Ken Dilger clone.
Offensive Tackle – Nick Gates, Nebraska
6’5″ 295 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: Honorable Mention All Big-Ten, 35 Career Starts
Projected Rounds: 3-4
One of the more natural pass protectors in the tackle class, Gates is long and athletic with a mean streak that was perfect for the Nebraska offense. He shows good footwork and a nice slide kickout from the left tackle spot. Can be a swing tackle as a rookie and eventually move into a starter’s role.
Guard/Center – Mason Cole, Michigan
6’5″ 305 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 2nd Team All-Big Ten, 51 Career Starts
Projected Round: 3-5
Cole is a durable, dependable player who plays extremely smart football. Versatility is his biggest calling card, having started for his first two seasons at left tackle before moving to center and back. Is a student of the game and knows his angles on the interior, setting strong seal blocks in the run game. Doesn’t always keep a strong anchor and can get bull rushed. Starter potential.
Defensive Line – Poona Ford, Texas
6’0″ 305 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats: 30 Career Starts, 1st Team All-Big 12
Projected Round: 6-UDFA
An undersized, yet productive linemen from the Big 12, Ford uses his natural leverage to hold down the middle of the line with almost ease. But his height and lack of burst is holding him back. He has great strength but doesn’t always use his upper body to shed blocks. A likely 2-down run stuffer at the NFL level.
Edge – Arden Key, LSU
6’6″ 265 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: 21 Career Sacks, 4 FF, 4 Passes Defensed. 2 time 1st Team All-SEC
Projected Round: 1-2
Key is a high first round talent but could fall to the 2nd round due to off-field concerns. He has elite length and bend for a pass rusher, and has an advanced repertoire of moves to get the lineman off balance. Could be a 12-15 sack guy if he gets it together. But that’s the big question. Was gone from the team for 4 months in 2017 for personal reasons. And while he has a wide repertoire of moves off the snap, he struggled if his first move doesn’t work. High risk-High Reward. Could be DeMarcus Lawrence or Randy Gregory.
Linebacker – Malik Jefferson, Texas
6’3″ 240 lbs. Junior
Notable Stats: Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year, 2nd Team All-America
Projected Round: 1-3
Jefferson has all the athletic tools you want in a middle linebacker: size, speed, physicality. Elite athlete in this draft class, he should test off the charts. But he is inconsistent with his angles and can be caught up in the muck at the line of scrimmage. He needs some seasoning at the next level, but the upside is there to have a Derrick Johnson-type career.
Cornerback – Levi Wallace, Alabama
6’0″ 183 lbs. Senior
Notable Stats 2nd Team All-SEC, 18 Passes Defended
Projected Round: 5-7
Former walk-on who became the glue of the Alabama secondary. Long arms help him despite his lack of height. Highly intelligent, doesn’t open his hips until the receiver makes a move and shows good closing speed. Biggest knock is his frame. Skinny and can get bodied up by physical receivers. Doesn’t always get his head turned and at times struggled to break down as a tackler. Willing to work and gets the most out of his ability
Safety – Kyzir White, West Virginia
6’2″ 216 lbs.
Notable Stats: 14.5 TFL, 4 Career Sacks, 3 INT
Projected Round: 2-3
An in-the-box safety through and through, White is one of the biggest hitters in the Draft. Plays every play at full bore no matter the situation. Good instincts and flows to the ball well. Recognizes play-action well and can be physical with tight ends. Biggest weakness is average speed which could limit him to a hybrid role. He can be a nickel linebacker or a prototypical strong safety in the NFL, and has a bright future at both.
MOCK DRAFT (February 6, 2018)
Used Matt Miller’s Big Board, User-Voted Team Needs, and the Difficult Algorithm
ROUND 1 (14) – Harold Landry, EDGE. Boston College
-Polished pass rusher who can step in a start immediately.
ROUND 2 (45) – Dallas Goedert, TE. South Dakota State
-Tall, athletic tight end the Packers need.
ROUND 3 (76) – Hercules Mata’afa, EDGE. Washington State
-Tweener pass rusher who put up big numbers in Pac 12.
ROUND 3 (101) – Josey Jewell, LB. Iowa
-Blue collar tackling machine. As dependable as it gets.
ROUND 4 (116) – Dante Pettis, WR. Washington
-Elite kick returner. Immediate home run hitter.
ROUND 5 (152) – Allen Lazard, WR. Iowa State
-Opposite of Pettis. Big, physical receiver with massive wingspan. Red zone monster.
ROUND 5 (173) – Kylie Fitts, EDGE. Utah
-Quickly becoming one of my favorite players to keep an eye on.
ROUND 5 (175) – Holton Hill, CB. Texas
-Long armed, physical corner needs a year, but has starter potential.
ROUND 5 (177) – Wyatt Teller, G. Virginia Tech
-Crazy strong with a mean streak, but inconsistent tape
ROUND 6 (189) – Christian Sam, LB. Arizona State
-242 tackles in 40 games. Best defender on Arizona State last year
ROUND 7 (232) – Riley Ferguson, QB. Memphis
-Developmental QB with lots of raw tools.
ROUND 7 (239) – Kentavius Street, DL. North Carolina State
–Strong and feisty in the trenches with pass rush limitations.
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.