The 2012 NFL draft is now less than two months away. Scouts and coaches have gotten a good look at the 2012 prospects at the East-West Shrine game, the Senior Bowl and most recently the NFL Scouting Combine.
The players will get one more chance to impress their possible NFL employers with their performances at their respective pro days.
This draft will be different. I will utilize some players who I have already drafted, although not in all cases.
Also, I'm going to be a bit of prognosticator, as I will add some picks for the Green Bay Packers in this mock draft. The Packers already have all seven of their own selections in the draft, plus have an additional seventh round pick from the New York Jets in the Caleb Schlauderhoff trade from last season.
I am also give the Packers an additional second round pick, as I expect to see Matt Flynn moved to either the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns or Seattle Seahawks in a sign and trade deal after he is franchised (we will know by Monday if that indeed happens).
In addition to that, I'm going to give the Packers two additional compensatory picks (fourth and fifth rounds) for the free agents losses that the team incurred last year. I might be too conservative in my estimation of compensatory picks, as the Packers lost seven players to free agency in 2011.
Anyway, those additional picks I'm adding will give the Packers a total of 11 picks in the draft. That will give Ted Thompson quite a bit of ammunition to move up and be aggressive to select a player who he really wants in a given round.
Combine 40 Time: 4.64
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 at DE. 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.
Overall in his career at USC, Perry had 21.5 sacks, 29.5 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.
Perry looked great at the NFL Scouting Combine as he looked very quick and strong in his workouts. Some scouts see Perry as a classic 4-3 DE, while others see him as a OLB in the 3-4 scheme. Perry would be a perfect bookend to Matthews at ROLB.
Combine 40 Time: 4.95
The Director of College Scouting for the Packers is John Dorsey. Dorsey is a former LB for the Packers, who played his college ball at Connecticut. The Packers should look to Dorsey's alma mater for some more defensive help in the 2012 draft.
Why? DL Kendall Reyes. Reyes has nice size and also has nice quickness and speed. Reyes was a first team All-Big East selection at DT, but would be a perfect DE in the defensive scheme of the Packers. Reyes had 46 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and also had 4.5 sacks.
Reyes was also a four year starter and a team leader (two-time team captain) with the Huskies. Reyes played at the Senior Bowl and played like a man among boys in the practice sessions.
The Packers need to get some more pass rush ability from their defensive line. The Packers only had six sacks from the D-line in 2011.
Combine 40 Time: 4.57
Smith didn't play as well as a senior like he did as a junior, at least in terms of making interceptions. Smith didn't have any picks in 2011, while he had seven as a junior. Other than that, his play was not much different in terms of tackles and passes broken up.
Smith was a four year starter for the Irish and he plays fast and tackles with force. Had some coverage issues at times as a senior, but overall has been effective covering the pass, as he broke up 10 passes as a senior.
Plays the run effectively, as he averaged over 90 tackles per season his last two years at South Bend. Has the ability to play both safety positions.
Would be a special teams stalwart. Looked good at the Senior Bowl practices.
The Packers will know within a month whether All-Pro S Nick Collins can continue his NFL career after being lost for almost the entire 2011 season due to a neck injury. With or without Collins, the Packers have to upgrade their depth at the safety position.
Combine 40 Time: 4.57
Hayward was named All-SEC second team by both the AP and the coaches. Had a great senior year as he picked off seven passes for 107 yards. Has excellent instincts in tracking the football as Hayward had 15 career interceptions at Vandy.
Hayward anticipates the ball very well, as he also broke up 31 passes overall in his career. Also is aggressive against the run as he averaged over 63 tackles a season over three years.
Hayward doesn't have blinding speed, but he kept up with the very fast WRs in the SEC and he has an excellent burst in getting to the football.
Three year starter at CB. Very productive. Also played in the Senior Bowl.
The Packers need to add to the quality depth of their secondary, as both Tramon Williams and Sam Shields both regressed at CB in 2011. Charles Woodson isn't getting any younger either.
Combine 40 Time: 5.38
The Packers might go right back to the school where the team selected OT Derek Sherrod in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL draft. C Quentin Saulsberry is a versatile offensive lineman who played C last year at Mississippi State and was named 2011 AP All-SEC conference honorable mention at C.
Saulsberry has played four of the five positions on the offensive line, and the Packers love that type of versatility with their linemen. In 2010, Saulsberry started at RG. In 2009, Saulsberry started at LG. As a freshman in 2008, Saulsberry started at RT.
Played in the East-West Shrine game.
The Packers are still working on getting C Scott Wells a contract extension and there is a chance he may leave via free agency. Wells is also one of the best offensive linemen on the team. Wells is also a fiery leader. Bottom line, I believe the Packers will re-sign Wells, but quality depth is needed. The Packers have to look to the future, as Wells is now 31 years old.
40 Time: 4.55
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. When that happens, the Packers will only have Graham Harrell to back up Aaron Rodgers, although the Packers did sign AFL QB Nick Hill in late January.
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.
The transfer from North Carolina State also ran for 464 yards and six TDs for the Badgers. Mobility at QB is an important asset in the offense that the Packers run. Wilson was also first team All-Big Ten at QB.
Maturity and leadership are two great qualities that Wilson possesses.
Wilson also had a nice week at the Senior Bowl. Wilson looked very athletic at the NFL Scouting Combine and he was able to make all the throws necessary to succeed in the NFL.
Combine 40 Time: 4.45
Chris Rainey will play at the Senior Bowl this weekend for the South squad. Rainey is a very versatile athlete who has played RB, WR, KR and PR at Florida. Rainey was named to the All-SEC first team in 2011 by the coaches.
In 2011, Rainey rushed for 861 yards and had three TDs. Rainey also caught 31 passes for 381 yards and two more TDs. In addition to that, Rainey has blocked six punts in his career as a Gator, including one for a TD vs. Ohio State in this year's Gator Bowl.
Rainey has explosive speed and can outrun just about anyone on the football field. Rainey would add another dimension to the Packers' offense with his versatility and speed.
Rainey had a good week at the Senior Bowl as he showed off his impressive speed.
The Packers will need to carefully examine the off-the-field issues that Rainey has had, which includes aggravated-stalking charges from 2010, when he sent a threatening text message to a former girlfriend.
Combine 40 Time: 4.76
Ewing was a a poor man's John Kuhn with the Badgers. Ewing didn't carry the ball much at Wisconsin, but he did score two TDs running the ball. Was used more as a blocking back and as a receiver.
Caught 28 passes in his career at Madison, including 20 as a senior. Had two TD receptions. Also excelled on special teams.
Ewing has very good hands. Is a tough blue-collar FB who will do the little things to help out his teammates. Has a great work ethic and is very smart.
The Packers only carried one FB on their roster (John Kuhn) in 2011. Kuhn had a very nice campaign in 2011 as he made the Pro Bowl. Still, Kuhn will be 30 in September and added depth is necessary, especially if an injury should occur.
Combine 40 Time: 5.32
Robertson had a somewhat down year in 2011, as he had 49 tackles with eight tackles for a loss and 2.5 sacks. However in the East-West Shrine game practices, Robertson looked like a man among boys as he dominated the offensive linemen.
Robertson was SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week when he had four tackles, with two for losses (-10 yards), including a sack (-8 yards) in South Carolina's17-12 win against Florida.
In 2010, Robertson had 42 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss with four sacks.
Combine 40 Time: 5.52
McCants was on the Conference USA first team at OT. McCants started for four years at UAB, although he was academically ineligible in 2008. McCants started at LT the last two years.
Still developing and somewhat raw. Has all the measurables though, although he needs to add more strength.
Can pull and get to the next level. Can steer rushers to the outside of the pocket. Plays with a nasty attitude.
Was inconsistent at the Senior Bowl, but showed promise.
Combine 40 Time: 4.76
What's a draft for the Packers without taking a TE? Peterson didn't put up big numbers at LSU, due to mostly inconsistent QB play. Overall, Peterson had 39 receptions for the Tigers in his career, with 3 TDs.
Peterson has the speed and athleticism to be an effective receiver in the seam. Is extremely raw, but has real upside. Needs coaching to get to the next level. Was a decent blocker who improved that aspect of his game throughout his career.
Played at the Senior Bowl.
The Packers already have a log jam at TE, with Jermichael Finley, Tom Crabtree and Ryan Taylor on the roster already. Andrew Quarless suffered a major knee injury late in the 2011 season which makes his return in 2012 questionable. If nothing else, the potential of Peterson makes him a practice squad candidate.