Who Are the Experts Predicting to Green Bay in the First Round of the NFL Draft?
It's always fun to read various mock drafts. Some of them are very interesting and insightful. For this slideshow, I'm going to focus on some well-known sources for recent mock drafts (as in this week), focusing on the first-round pick that they have going to the Green Bay Packers.
It's very tough to correctly predict which player a team will select in the latter stages of Round 1, where the Packers will select the 26th pick, but it can be done.
I was able to do it myself last year when I predicted the Packers would select Nick Perry at No. 28. Plus, I was able to foresee the later selection of Casey Hayward.
Let's see who some of the experts have the Packers picking in Round 1 of the 2013 NFL draft.
Safety Matt Elam (Florida)
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I like Matt Elam as a safety, but I like a couple others more, including Jonathan Cyprien of Florida International and Phillip Thomas of Fresno State.
I also view Elam as more of a second-round value pick as opposed to a first-round selection. Both Cyprien and Thomas are players the Packers could select in Round 2.
Elam definitely has talent, but his lack of height (5'10") is detrimental.
If all three safeties were available to the Packers in the second round, I would probably take Thomas, as I recently did a profile story about him that shows he is an all-around performer at safety.
Running Back Montee Ball (Wisconsin)
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Gil Brandt of NFL.com on March 27
I really like Montee Ball, and because of the hamstring issues that Eddie Lacy currently has, I have Ball listed at the top of the running backs for the 2013 NFL draft.
I recently did a story on Ball, who definitely improved his draft stock at his pro day workout in Wisconsin, which included someone named Ted Thompson in attendance. Thompson even went out of his way to speak with Ball, which rarely happens.
There is no doubt that Ball does all the things the Packers would like their running backs to do. Plus, he knows how to find the end zone better than anyone in NCAA FBS history (82 touchdowns).
I could see this pick happening, especially if Lacy is chosen earlier in Round 1. That being said, I have a second-round grade on Ball right now. Still, this selection could actually occur depending on the Green Bay draft board at the time.
Linebacker Alec Ogletree (Georgia)
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I like this pick, although Alec Ogletree has demonstrated a number of red flags due to his off-the-field behavior and his recent injury history (broken foot in 2011).
There is no doubting his play on the field, however, as he was a definite playmaker his senior year at Georgia after missing the first four games of the season due to a suspension for a failed drug test.
Ogletree is versatile as well, as he can play both inside or outside at linebacker.
As long as Ted Thompson and company are okay with his off-field answers about the recent past, I would have no problem with the Packers selecting Ogletree in the first round.
Tight End Tyler Eifert (Notre Dame)
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Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com on March 25
Now that it's a virtual certainty that Jermichael Finley is returning to the Packers in 2013, this pick doesn't make a lot of sense, especially when looking at the Packers' other needs.
Don't get me wrong, Tyler Eifert is a fine tight end and looks to have a good future in the NFL, but the Packers have too many other holes to fill to select him at this point.
That being said, I could see the Packers taking a tight end in this draft, but probably not until Day 3 of the draft.
Running Back Eddie Lacy (Alabama)
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Pat Kirwin of CBSSports.com on March 25
I like Eddie Lacy quite a bit. I had the Packers taking Lacy in my latest mock draft. Lacy is the first running back most likely to be taken in Round 1.
That being said, this draft is very deep in running back talent. The Packers can get wait for later in the draft (in Rounds 2 through 4) to select a capable back.
Plus, Lacy has been hampered by a hamstring injury that hasn't allowed him to workout for scouts and coaches. Until he proves that his injury is fully healed, I would shy away from selecting him in Round 1.
Defensive Lineman Kawann Short (Purdue)
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Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com on March 25
I like Kawann Short. He had a great career at Purdue and followed it up with a nice showing at the Senior Bowl.
He doesn't have the prototypical size that the Packers are looking for at defensive end as Short is only 6'3", but he does weigh 315 pounds.
Short does have a decent wingspan, however, as he knocked down four passes this past year and blocked four kicks.
Short can do it all defensively, both in rushing the passer (18 career sacks) and stopping the run (48 tackles for loss).
I would have no problem if the Packers selected Short in Round 1.
Defensive Lineman Datone Jones (UCLA)
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Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com
I think Datone Jones would be a very solid pick for the Packers if they selected him in the first round. Jones has decent size at 6'4" and 280 pounds and the frame to get even bigger.
Jones had a nice career at UCLA, followed by a very good week at the Senior Bowl.
Furthermore, Jones is familiar with the 3-4 defense, which he played at UCLA both inside and outside.
I also like Margus Hunt at defensive end in this draft (whom I did a story about recently), but I would have no problem with the Packers selecting Jones at No. 26 either.
Offensive Guard/Center Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina)
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Russ Lande of the NationalFootballPost.com on March 27
I think Jonathan Cooper would be an interesting selection for the Packers in the first round, especially since he can play both guard and center.
Cooper was an All-American at guard his senior year as he led the way for running back Giovani Bernard, who also had a fabulous last year at North Carolina.
Cooper is an excellent run-blocker and keeps improving his pass-blocking.
I wouldn't have a problem if the Packers decided to select Cooper in the first round.