2012 NFL Mock Draft: Green Bay Packers' 7-Round Predictions
The Green Bay Packers will draft in the 28th spot in the 2012 NFL Draft with some serious issues to address if they are to get back to the top for Super Bowl XLVII. The Packers have plenty of pieces together to make another run, but another solid draft class could put Green Bay over the top.
With glaring holes on the defensive side of the ball, it is safe to assume the Packers' draft class to be defensive-heavy. On offense, the most important piece of the offseason puzzle will be bringing back Jermichael Finley and Scott Wells.
This mock draft assumes that the Packers are able to bring back both Finley and Wells and remain in their own draft position and doesn't take into account the many trades that are likely to occur.
1. Fletcher Cox, DE, Mississippi State
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The Packers desperately need help on the defensive line and will look to remedy the problem by taking Fletcher Cox with their first pick. The 6'4" DE will be too good to pass up late in Round 1 for the Packers, who also need an OLB.
Cox can play in different positions on the line, something that will come in handy for Dom Capers, who was constantly shifting players around. Fletcher may need to put on some more weight to power through offensive linemen, but the 22-year old should have plenty of time to do that.
2. Bruce Irvin, OLB, West Virginia
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The Packers take care of their two biggest issues in 2011 by grabbing Bruce Irvin out of West Virginia in Round 2. The OLB has a troubled past, but his play on the field cannot be ignored.
Irvin is best known for his ability to get to the quarterback, something the Packers are in dire need of. He doesn't have much experience in pass defense but should be solid in rush defense. With the Packers so weak at OLB, Irvin should have a big opportunity to make an impact early.
3. Bernard Pierce, RB, Temple
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The Packers should let Ryan Grant walk this offseason as he has played to the end of his contract and can easily be replaced by younger backs. They replace Grant by drafting Bernard Pierce out of Temple in the third round. James Starks had every opportunity to take over as a feature back, but his inability to stay healthy may allow an opportunity for Pierce and returning youngsters Alex Green and Brandon Saine.
In his junior year, Pierce dominated for the Owls, gaining 1,481 yards on his 273 rushing attempts. He also found the end zone 27 times. The 6', 218-pound back is the same weight as Starks but two inches smaller.
4. Jamell Fleming, CB, Oklahoma
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The Packers struggled in the defensive backfield, in part because of a lack of pressure on the quarterback but also due to their tackling. With depth at cornerback an issue, the Packers look to stock up by selecting Jamell Fleming out of Oklahoma in the fourth round.
With Jarrett Bush and Pat Lee free agents and potentially gone, Fleming will have a chance to compete with the likes of Brandian Ross and Devon House for depth. Fleming is a high-effort player who could help in the tackling department.
5. Damien Jackson, S, Mississippi
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The Packers could be looking very weak at safety if Nick Colllins is unable to return to football after a scary neck injury. In order to remedy the situation, the Packers select Damien Jackson out of Mississippi to give Charlie Peprah and M.D. Jennings a run for their money.
At Mississippi, Jackson played both safety positions, something that has been important for the Packers in the last two years where Morgan Burnett and Collins each suffered season-ending injuries in back-to-back years. At 6'2", Jackson is a larger safety, something the Packers haven't had.
6. Russell Wilson, QB, Wisconsin
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With Matt Flynn headed out the door, the Packers need to draft another quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers and Graham Harrell. The Packers grab Russell Wilson from Wisconsin in the sixth round as Wilson's stock falls due to his height. Whether right or wrong, Wilson will be passed on by many teams because of his small stature.
There is a chance that Wilson falls to the sixth round, but the Packers have to use a compensation pick or manage to slide up into the fifth round to grab Wilson. His one year at Wisconsin speaks for itself and shows that Wilson has what it takes to be a great quarterback.
7. Mason Cloy, C, Clemson
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I expect the Packers to bring back center Scott Wells, but the age factor means it's time to bring in a potential replacement for the future. The Packers do so in the seventh round by taking Mason Cloy from Clemson off the board.
Most famous for his on-field proposal, Cloy can play the center position and hold his own. He may not develop into much, but it is worth the risk in the last room. The Packers could always benefit from the extra body on the offensive line in camp, if nothing else.