With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have released their final mock drafts for 2013. After months of endless analysis, the final projections still offer a shaky view of how the first round will play out.
This 2013 draft class has presented an unusual challenge for draft experts. The lack of consensus regarding not only the top five picks but the whole round has mock drafts looking very different from one another.
Near the end of the round, the Green Bay Packers' selection will very much depend on how the picks before them shake out. With their talented roster, the Packers are in a good position to get value without needing to address any one glaring hole in the first round.
Let's take a look at the experts and see what they have pencilled in for Green Bay.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
The Packers are surely in the market for a running back this offseason, but it's hard to imagine they act on this selection. While Lacy is largely considered the top running back in the class, he doesn't seem to be worth the Packers' first-round pick.
It really only makes sense for the Packers to draft Lacy in the first round if there isn't enough value at other positions. In Kiper's mock, Datone Jones, Jesse Williams, Jonathan Cyprien and Matt Elam were all available for the Packers. With that list of talent at areas of bigger need, it seems unlikely the Packers would pass and grab Lacy instead.
Lacy is a powerful back who would give the Packers a much-needed boost in the backfield. During his time at Alabama, Lacy showed good vision, making the the most of the holes supplied by his offensive line. His physical style of running would be a welcomed addition to a somewhat soft Packers team.
There are some serious concerns leading up to the draft. Lacy suffered through a hamstring injury leading up the draft and turned in a poor workout. Rightfully so, Lacy's work ethic and overall health are being questioned.
Overall, Lacy would be a decent addition for the Packers. While that's the case, it seems there will be better value available in the form of players who will have a bigger immediate impact.
Matt Elam, S, Florida
The Packers could use an upgrade at safety, but this pick seems unlikely with Datone Jones still on the board in McShay's mock. Another option still on the board in McShay's mock is Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International. While both players would be starters from day one, Cyprien seems to be the more well-rounded and disciplined safety.
Drafting Elam would definitely help fill a need in the Packers secondary. Since Nick Collins' career-ending neck injury in 2011, the Packers have struggled to find a consistent player next to the emerging star Morgan Burnett. In 2012, the Packers gave M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian chances to earn the job full-time, but neither had a big impact.
While Jennings was an undrafted free agent, McMillian was a fourth-round pick in last year's draft. Whether the Packers are already willing to give up McMillian as the guy remains to be seen.
Adding Elam would improve the Packers defense because of his hard-hitting, physical style of play. He's versatile, with the ability to play up in the box and around the slot as well as deep in the secondary. The Packers could definitely benefit from Elam's presence and overall motor.
While Elam is a punishing hitter, sometimes he's over-physical. If he doesn't make adjustments, Elam will be getting flagged on the regular.
Overall, getting Elam with the 26th pick would be a solid pick for the Packers. He's an immediate starter who will improve the defense. The only issue with McShay's mock is the value with other talented players still on the board.
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