The Green Bay Packers are always a tough nut to crack from a mock draft standpoint. GM Ted Thompson doesn't always do what we expect him to, and even when you're right, you still come away feeling like he pulled one over on you.
So my expectations of accuracy for the mocks floating out there are minimal. What I do like to see is some decent insight, so that's what we're going to look at here.
Not just whom the analysts pick, but a little insight into why.
We'll do this a few times during the spring up until the draft—no more than every other week, as people don't crank out mock drafts all that often.
I went as recent as I could, since we've lately had some roster movement which will influence who gets drafted where.
Unfortunately that knocks out a few mocks I would normally include, like Bleach Report's own Matt Miller (who is hip deep in some small project called the B/R 1000) and Mel Kiper (who last updated his mock on February 7).
Inevitably I will miss some of your favorite writers, so be sure to include them in the comments, and we can have a nice discussion, plus I'll try to add them to the rotation.
Russ Lande—National Football Post
Not only do the Packers have issues figuring their offensive tackle situation, but their interior offensive line needs work. Cooper is athletic enough to start at guard or center and should be able to challenge for a starting job as a rookie.
Other Notable Picks
The first thing that jumps out is Ryan Nassib at No. 7 to Arizona. Lande has been pounding the table for Nassib since just before the Senior Bowl, and he sticks to his guns here. He has Matt Barkley right after Nassib goes and drops Geno Smith out of the first round.
Now, any casual observer of the draft will raise an eyebrow and get cynical about this mock. However, it's early, and let's be honest—if there were ever a draft class that could go any number of ways because none of them is sensational, it's this quarterback class.
So don't just assume Lande is nuts. I know he does the work, and we have a long way to go before anything is proved right or wrong.
Sharrif Floyd to the Kansas City Chiefs first overall and three offensive tackles in the first 11 picks also stand out.
I'm torn, honestly.
On the one hand, I like the pick. I agree with Lande that Cooper is a great guard who has the versatility to start at center as well. Let's not short the versatility when it comes to Packers offensive linemen—the Packers love their guys to be able to do multiple things.
So from a talent standpoint, I wholeheartedly agree with this pick.
My problem is that I'm not sure Thompson pulls the trigger on a first-round guard—even if they need it and it's worth it. Anyway, we might think they need it, but do they? At the end of the day, they may feel content with Evan Dietrich-Smith at center and T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton at right and left guard, respectively.
So while I think it would be a good fit—Cooper could be better than what they have now—I don't see this being the pick.
Beyond all that, I don't know that Cooper will make it that far down the ladder in the first round. He will probably be long gone.
Eric Galko—Optimum Scouting
Despite drafting Nick Perry in the first round just a season ago, they need to add more unique rushers to this defense. Lemonier is a quick twitch, athletic rusher who can provide the speed rush ability off the edge that can give this Packers pass rush the edge it needs to allow Clay Matthews to have continued success.
Other Notable Picks
Galko slips Quinton Patton to the Seattle Seahawks, once again proving my point that the wide receivers really are a "which flavor do you prefer" situation. It also continues affirming my belief that the Packers will go for a receiver no earlier than the second round because the talent pool is pretty deep.
Galko is also the second guy in a row who has Matt Barkley going to the Cardinals (though unlike Lande, Smith gets drafted in the first and Nassib does not).
I would also imagine Minnesota Vikings fans would cheer—and Packers fans cringe—if Minnesota got Cordarrelle Patterson.
I really like this despite, as Galko points out, Perry being a first rounder last year. Sure, the jury is still out for Perry, but (1) you can't have too many pass-rushers and (2) the jury is still out on Perry.
We knew Perry was going to struggle moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, but even with those terms, he was disappointing last year. Lemonier is a much surer bet, a guy who is explosive off the edge and closes on the ball-carrier or quarterback quickly.
Now Lemonier's current "stock" is all over the place. Alec Ogletree and Jarvis Jones are both still available, as are some other interesting pass-rushers. Also, Galko has just four defensive tackles going in Round 1—there are at least two more I can think of (Kawann Short and Jesse Williams) who the Packers might consider since they really need some better run defenders.
So it's hard to say if, in a month-and-a-half, Lemonier's stock will hold or if he'll boost higher up.
Dane Brugler—CBS Sports
For most of the season, it seemed evident that the Packers needed to add more speed on defense and that was never more true than Green Bay's loss in the playoffs to San Francisco. Brown has a nose for the ball with the position versatility to play inside or outside in the Packers scheme.
Other Notable Picks
Jonathan Cooper (Lande's pick) goes to the Dallas Cowboys at No. 18, while Lemonier is nowhere to be found.
Brugler has just one quarterback going in the first round, which might make logical sense (this group isn't all that fabulous) but is incredibly unlikely in my opinion. Which only goes to highlight the inherent difficulty in any mock draft. Are you predicting what you think they will do or what you think they should do?
I am a pretty big fan of Brown, and while some teams have him going inside, many analysts have him going outside instead. I happen to think he can do either but like him outside more.
Given the way that Brugler has his mock layout, this pick works pretty well. As I said earlier, having more beef in the middle to shore up the run defense is a must, so that's a different way to go as well—and maybe slightly more pressing.
Still, as Brugler says, speed kills, and speed did kill the Packers in the playoffs. They need some of their own—Brown can supply that.
The release of Charles Woodson leaves the Packers without a playmaker in the middle of the field. Elam is a tenacious defender with superb instincts and awareness. He could upgrade a secondary that has slipped a bit in recent years.
Other Notable Picks
USC wide receiver Robert Woods at No. 27 leaps out to me, in part because he's really been overlooked in the conversation at his position.
Ziggy Ansah—a raw, unfinished prospect with some bust potential but great measurables—is such a perfect New York Jets pick it makes me sad to have grown up a Jets fan.
Brooks has a grand total of one quarterback going in the first—again, I don't believe this will happen but if it does, expect a ton of trading at the end of the first as teams jump back into the first round.
I don't like this pick at all. Elam is a free safety—so is Morgan Burnett. You aren't moving Burnett, so you'll move Elam to strong safety (where Woodson was playing)? What about M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian?
I can see the Packers taking safety depth but not early. As good as Elam is, this pick seems to make little sense.
Yes, Elam is a playmaker. Yes, Charles Woodson is gone. That's about it though.
Williams is the #2-rated 3-4 DE on the Drafttek Big Board, a nice value with pick 26 in the Draft. Williams will bring some "juice" to the Packers Defensive Line, something they tried to do last year by bringing in Free Agents Anthony Hargrove and Dan Muir, neither of whom are really 3-4 DEs and neither of whom made the team. The Packers also drafted two linemen last year that don't fit the classic 3-4 DE mold, Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels. Daniels is a situational player at best and Worthy was contributing, but tore his ACL and is likely to end up on the PUP list next season. Add in the fact that Ryan Pickett is in the last year of his contract at age 32, and the Packers need some help. A First-Team All-ACC Selection, Williams brings the juice with a good combination of size, quickness, power, and a very good motor for a big man. Whether rushing the passer or pursuing a running back, he doesn't stop until the whistle blows. While not spectacular in one area, Williams does a lot of things well and would be a solid addition to the Packers' Defensive Line
Other Notable Picks
Alec Ogletree to the Chicago Bears leaped out at me as something I think wouldn't happen. While they need some outside linebacker help, they don't need it desperately, which means this pick is another "conversion" pick where they take a guy and move him elsewhere—in this case, interior line.
I just don't see it, especially with a guy who has off-field issues.
This is another mock with just one quarterback in the first round and is made a little more eyebrow raising due to the Buffalo Bills grabbing a wide receiver. Not that they don't need one—but they need more help elsewhere.
I actually like the alternatives they listed—inside linebacker Kevin Minter and defensive tackle Jesse Williams—much better. Given that they need interior help much more than safety help, both picks make far more sense.
Again, Elam is good, but of all the spots on defense, is safety the first-round need? The value here doesn't work for me. Maybe Elam is better than Jennings/McMillian, but there is greater need—and plenty of value—elsewhere.
The Packers would like to find a left tackle in the first round, but there is none available worth the pick in this scenario. They also can address their need at running back in the second or third round. Nose tackle is not a pressing need, but it's tough to find massive pluggers with some mobility like Jenkins.
He's a massive two-gap nose tackle with wide trunk, and he has adequate-to-good initial quickness and body control for a guy his size. He has tree trunks for arms and flashes the ability to lock out.
Other Notable Picks
Bjoern Werner—whom I wouldn't mind seeing in green and gold—goes one pick before the Packers to Seattle, which is potentially unfair given that defense.
He might be good, but that's the highest I have ever seen him mocked or ranked in positional ranks. But hey, you're St. Louis, your line blows—you take what you can, when you can.
McShay is another guy with just one quarterback in the first.
I'm pretty much on board with McShay here—sure, they'd love a tackle, but there won't be one for them to grab. While nose tackle isn't a huge need, they really need a guy who can stop the run.
At 346 pounds, Jenkins is a load but quicker than you'd expect.
Who should be the pick at No. 26?
They could shoot for an outside pass-rusher here as well—there are plenty to choose from—but Jenkins is a solid choice.
So there you have the mock roundup for the Green Bay Packers.
As you can see, there isn't much of a consensus at this point save that the Packers will probably go defense with this first pick, which makes sense—that's where the value is likely to be at the end of the first.
Of course, there are a ton of different ways to go—we didn't even touch on the thorny issue of a running back in the first.
Who should be the pick? Chime in down in the comments.