Green Bay Packers: Options with High Ceiling/Risk in Each Round
Every year, prospects plummet for various reasons. Some do not pan out, others turn into stars. Some prospects fall due to character issues or lack of production in their final season. There have been notable players who have fallen due to a lack of elite talent.
Tom Brady fell to the sixth round because he supposedly didn't have sufficient arm strength. We all saw how that worked out. LeGarrette Blount fell two years ago because of character issues and turned into a serviceable back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after going undrafted.
So, who will be this year's Wes Welker or LeGarrette Blount?
I will break down players who have fallen down the boards, why they fell and how the Packers could use some of their picks on some of these guys.
Although character is a major factor in the Packers' draft decisions, some of these guys are worth the risk/reward for Ted Thompson.
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CB Janoris Jenkins (Northern Alabama)
Cornerback may not be the biggest need, but the talent of Janoris Jenkins is undeniable. Charles Woodson will be 36 this year and a high-ceiling prospect will be needed soon.
Jenkins was cited multiple times for marijuana use and tasered by police during a bar fight. Those are major concerns, but the fact that Jenkins was an All-SEC corner can't be ignored.
With the likes of Charles Woodson and Chad Clifton providing veteran leadership, Jenkins could right the ship and become a star.
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OLB Bruce Irvin (West Virginia)
The Packers' biggest need is arguably at outside linebacker. If the Packers do not address it in Round 1, they will undoubtedly be looking in Round 2. Irvin is a pass-rush specialist with the physical ability to be elite, but he comes with some baggage.
In March, Irvin was cited for destruction of property and disorderly conduct. He comes from a rough past, but seemed to overcome a lot. He was also a high school dropout.
Irvin is a case of ceiling outweighing risk.
RB LaMichael James (Oregon)
Running back isn't a need, but can you imagine the offense with our own version of Darren Sproles? James is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball. With power backs James Starks and Alex Green, the Oregon standout could be a perfect fit in Green Bay as the rich would get richer.
But James has quite the checkered past. He was arrested and later plead not guilty to misdemeanor charges of menacing, strangulation and assault. He allegedly grabbed his girlfriend by the neck during an argument and shoved her to the ground. He was suspended in 2010 for the Ducks opener.
Still, I think this pick is one that warrants some attention.
CB Josh Norman (Coastal Carolina)
Again, another cornerback that has some minor off-the-field issues, but he did not play against elite competition in college. Norman is a big corner who would do well learning under one of the game's best in Charles Woodson.
Norman has the instincts and ball skills to play nickel his first year in Green Bay. One minor downfall is that his on-the-field arrogance can sometimes get the best of him, but that is pushed to the wayside.
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S Janzen Jackson (McNeese State)
Safety may become a bigger need if Nick Collins does not return. Janzen Jackson is a safety with good instincts, fluid hips and closing speed necessary for the NFL. This picture shows him at Tennessee, where he began his college career.
But after allegedly being involved in a robbery and a failed drug test, Jackson was dismissed from the program and transferred to McNeese State. With three fourth-round picks, the Packers can gamble on Jackson.
OLB Frank Alexander (Oklahoma)
Alexander has a checkered past mainly because of the situation he was put in, rather than being trouble himself. He was stabbed during a nightclub brawl, with guns involved as well. He has the size to convert to outside linebacker if the Packers are willing to take a flier on him.
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CB Cliff Harris (Oregon)
This may be the biggest risk/reward pick of all. Harris was a top-20 pick coming into the 2011 season. Then he decided to take a different path, and a bad one.
One of the most exciting players in college football the last two years, Harris did it all. In 2010, Harris defended 23 passes, intercepted six and returned seven kickoffs for 143 yards. But he was dismissed from the team before the 2011 season after several run-ins with the law, including marijuana incidents.
Although he is only 175 pounds soaking wet, after an off-season program and grooming by the Packers leaders, Harris could resurrect his image in Green Bay.
RB Chris Rainey (Florida)
Percy Harvin 2.0. Rainey did it all in Florida's offense. A running back and wide receiver at Florida, Rainey may have been the fastest player in college football and showed it returning kicks.
But in 2010, his stock took a hit when he was cited for aggravated stalking of his then-girlfriend. If he can turn his life off-the-field around, he would give Green Bay another scary element for the offense and return game.
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OLB Jack Crawford (Penn State)
Another convert from defensive end to outside linebacker in the 3-4, Crawford would battle for a spot opposite Clay Matthews. Being a fifth-round pick, he most likely wouldn't start right away.
He has some drug-related baggage that the Packers could overlook if the board doesn't fall the way the Packers like. He reported to the police that his apartment was broken into, and the police found marijuana and other drug paraphernalia. No charges have been filed.
DE Jaye Howard (Florida)
The Packers' other biggest need besides linebacker is defensive end. Howard is 295 pounds and has the good first step needed to play the five technique. He has some off-the-field issues and work ethic concerns that could cause him to fall to mid-to-late rounds. He would definitely be worth the flier here in Round 6 as a rotational defensive end.
OLB Dante Paige-Moss (North Carolina)
Paige-Moss was thought to be a late first, early second-round pick coming into the 2011 season. But then his mouth got the better of him. He took to Twitter after a season-and-a-half long media ban. He bad-mouthed the city of Chapel Hill along with his coaches and some teammates. I think those qualities can easily be fixed and Paige-Moss could become a valuable piece for the Packers defense.
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RB Bryce Brown (Kansas State)
This is the most intriguing pick. Brown was the No. 2 running-back prospect coming out of high school behind the one and only Trent Richardson. At 6'1'' and 220 pounds, Brown has the size to be a three-down back in the NFL.
Scouts have compared his college skill-set to the likes of Adrian Peterson. That may be exaggerated. If true, he probably would have been drafted in the first two rounds. But maybe his baggage is enough to overshadow his skills.
Character concerns stemming from his involvement in the whole Nevin Shapiro ordeal at Miami will mean the running back that had been compared to Barry Sanders and Peterson going into college will come into the draft with the expectation that his name will not be called until Day 3, if at all. In the right environment, Brown could be the next Arian Foster. Definitely worth the risk in Round 7.
MLB Shawn Loiseau (Merrimack)
This kid is the epitome of a red flag. At age 17, he sent an alleged gang member into a coma with the aid of a lead pipe. He was facing murder charges at 17 years of age. The guy came out of the coma and the charges were dropped.
He was forgotten by Division I schools and headed to Merrimack. His past is exactly that. He has worked hard to repair his image. He is an excellent middle linebacker who could crack a 53-man roster. With A.J. Hawk seemingly on his last threads in Green Bay, Loiseau is a decent option to develop behind Desmond Bishop.