Green Bay Packers: 2012 7-Round NFL Mock Draft
However, the ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl, and the Packers are well on their way to perhaps repeating as Super Bowl champions.
That being said, it's never too early for Ted Thompson, John Dorsey (Director of College Scouting) and company to look ahead to the 2012 NFL draft.
A number of events have to take place before the draft so we can get a better read on the players. Events like the East-West Shrine game, the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. Plus the players will still have their individual Pro Days to improve their standing with each team.
Right now, the Packers would be looking at a late first-round pick. If Green Bay wins the Super Bowl again, the Packers would be slotted at pick No. 32, just like in 2011. Based on that assumption, I'm going to do a seven round mock draft for the Packers, not including any trades or compensatory picks in this first mock draft.
1st Round: OLB Nick Perry (USC)
40 Time: 4.57
The Green Bay Packers struck gold in the first round in the 2009 NFL draft when they selected Clay Matthews out of USC (along with B.J. Raji), so Ted Thompson tries to repeat history by drafting another Trojan, this time OLB Nick Perry.
Perry declared for the draft in December after a nice junior season at USC. Perry had 9.5 sacks for the season, plus was a 2011 All-Pac-12 Conference first team member. Perry's size, speed and pass rushing ability make him a natural fit for the 3-4 scheme utilized by the Packers.
Besides the sacks, Perry had 54 total tackles, which included 13 tackles for losses, plus forced three fumbles.
2nd Round: DE Derek Wolfe (Cincinnati)
40 Time: 4.98
Wolfe had a great season in 2011, as he had 64 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for losses, two forced fumbles and 9.5 sacks. Wolfe was also named to 2011 All-Big East Conference first team.
The Packers need to generate a pass rush from their defensive line. B.J. Raji and Jarius Wynn led the D-line with three sacks apiece. DE Mike Neal injured his knee in training camp and has been largely ineffective since his return late in the season. Neal is still not 100 percent and has flashed potential, but the Packers need to reinforce some talent into the defensive line.
Besides rushing the passer well, Wolfe plays the run tough too, and he has a motor that never stops.
3rd Round: DB Brandon Taylor (LSU)
40 Time: 4.51
Brandon Taylor was sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of the LSU defensive backfield, as he had some very talented teammates playing with him in the Tiger secondary. Taylor had 65 tackles, broke up five passes, had a sack and had two interceptions.
Taylor will add quality depth to the safety position, as the status of All-Pro Nick Collins (neck) has not yet been determined on whether he will be able to resume his NFL career. Morgan Burnett and Charlie Peprah have eight interceptions between them, but Peprah is a liability in coverage at times.
Burnett has had a pretty solid second year in the NFL (second on the team in tackles), after missing most of his rookie year with a knee injury.
4th Round: C Scott Wedige (Northern Illinois)
40 Time: 5.14
Wedige played very well for the Huskies this year as he led an offensive line that propelled Northern Illinois to the MAC Championship. Wedige was first team All-Mac team at C. Wedige is a very good pass blocker and he has improved his run blocking as well.
The Packers hope to be able to give C Scott Wells a contract extension before he becomes a free agent in March. Wells has a fiery attitude, has graded out well again in 2011 and has great leadership skills. Even if they do re-up Wells, they will need to find a heir apparent to take over the position as Wells is 31 years old now.
5th Round: QB Russell Wilson (Wisconsin)
40 Time: 4.59
The Packers will be looking to draft a QB in the 2012 draft, as Matt Flynn will be leaving the team either via free agency or a trade. That is a certainty. If that happens, the Packers will only have Graham Harrell to back up Aaron Rodgers.
Wilson's stock is not as high as it should be due to concerns about his height. However, Wilson's production at Wisconsin was fabulous. Wilson threw 33 TD passes vs. just four picks for 3,175 yards. Wilson also ran for 464 yards and six TDs. Mobility at QB is an important asset in the offense that the Packers run. Wilson was also first team All-Big Ten at QB.
6th Round: OT Mitchell Schwartz (California)
40 Time: 5.17
With the advancing age of LT Chad Clifton (not to mention his injury woes), plus the broken leg suffered by 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod, the Packers need to make sure that they have quality depth at the OT position.
RT Bryan Bulaga has also suffered two knee injuries in 2011, but has been able to come back both times. Marshall Newhouse was able to start at both LT and RT while both Clifton and Bulaga were out with injuries. Overall, Newhouse was okay, although he had issues with better than average pass rushers.
Schwartz was first team All-Pac-12 at OT. Schwartz is a good pass blocker and has played both LT and RT for Cal. The Packers love that type of versatility from their offensive linemen.
7th Round: RB/KR Jeff Demps (Florida)
40 Time: 4.26
Demps would add another dimension to the Green Bay offense, plus could help out in kick returns as well. The Packers may not keep Ryan Grant after his season, plus rookie Alex Green is trying to come back from a difficult knee injury that put him on IR.
Demps has blazing speed and the Packers would be able to utilize him like the New Orleans Saints do with Darren Sproles on certain plays and formations.
Demps' stock isn't a high as it could be due to his size and durability concerns. Demps had 539 rushing and scored six TDs for the Gators. Demps also caught 10 passes for 250 yards for another TD.
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