4 Prospects the Green Bay Packers Might Trade Up for in the 2012 NFL Draft

Michael DulkaContributor IApril 16, 2012

4 Prospects the Green Bay Packers Might Trade Up for in the 2012 NFL Draft

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    The Green Bay Packers could trade up in the 2012 NFL draft in order to grab a defensive playmaker to add to their struggling unit. With the Super Bowl window open, the Packers may show more urgency with their picks this offseason. 

    General manager Ted Thompson's draft philosophy has always been selecting the most valuable player available when the Packers are on the clock. If there are prospects that Thompson likes, he has shown he is willing to trade up in order to get that player. He did so in order to grab B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft. 

    The Packers have obvious needs on defense, so the pick is likely to be a defensive player. With help needed in many spots, the Packers could go in a number of different directions depending on what is available. 

Courtney Upshaw, LB, Alabama

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    The Packers could look to address their pass-rushing issues by trading up to grab Courtney Upshaw. They may not have to trade up to get Upshaw, but if they see him lasting past the 20th pick the team may make a move to make sure they get Upshaw. 

    Upshaw would be a great fit for the Packers defense. His ability to set the edge in the run game would be a big improvement over Erik Walden. Any pass-rushing ability that Upshaw brings to the team would be a significant upgrade as well. 

Whitney Mercilus, DE/LB, Illinois

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    Just like with Upshaw, the Packers could complete a trade to move up and grab Whitney Mercilus if the opportunity presents itself. Depending on how the rest of the draft plays out, the Packers may not need to trade up to get him. Trading up to get Mercilus would show the Packers have him high on their board. 

    Mercilus is listed as a defensive end, but would be used as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker. Mercilus would be an excellent fit because of his ability to rush the passer, something the Packers desperately need.

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

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    With Charles Woodson getting up there in years, the Packers have to have a plan in place to eventually replace him. Jarrett Bush will likely fill the roll of the slot corner position that the Packers have created for Woodson. Outside of Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, who both struggled in 2011, the Packers' cornerback situation is questionable. They have young guys in Davon House and Brandian Ross, but the pair has been yet to be tested. 

    The Packers are likely to draft a cornerback at some point in the draft and could trade up to grab Dre Kirkpatrick in Round 1. Kirkpatrick is projected to be drafted somewhere around the 20th pick. Kirkpatrick is a solid tackler, something the Packers struggled with last season. 

Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

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    With the draft approaching quickly, the Packers and safety Nick Collins need to make a decision on the future. If Collins is forced to retire immediately, safety becomes a huge need for the Packers. They have a potential future star in Morgan Burnett, but Charlie Peprah, a capable backup, is not starter material.

    By trading up to grab Mark Barron, the Packers would address their concern at safety. The majority of mocks have Barron being selected by the Cowboys with pick No. 14, so the Packers would have to give up quite a lot to make the jump from 28 to 14. It may not be worth it, but if Collins is unable to play, it might be necessary.