Tight end Jace Amaro is one prospect the Packers need to target in the 2014 NFL draft.
With the 2013 NFL season coming to an end, the Green Bay Packers need to start looking at prospects for the 2014 draft. With the way this season has gone for Green Bay, there are plenty of holes the team needs to fill.
The biggest positional needs for the Packers, however, are at quarterback, tight end, defensive tackle and safety. These positions either lack depth, talent or both, and they are areas that Green Bay absolutely needs to address in this year's draft.
Today we're going to look at eight prospects the Packers should be looking at. Since there are four positions with the biggest need, we'll look at two prospects from each of those positions. One prospect will be an early-round player, while the other will be someone the Packers could target in the later rounds of the draft.
Let's take a look at finding a proper backup for quarterback Aaron Rodgers first.
First and foremost, the Green Bay Packers aren't going to spend an early pick on a quarterback. The earliest round that they'd start looking for one would be the third round, and even that would be a slight reach.
However, if a player like David Fales is available in the third round, the Packers should jump all over him. Fales has all the makings of being a successful NFL quarterback with the ability to make all the throws in the NFL.
Where Fales needs to improve is with the velocity on his throws downfield. He's also not an elite athlete, but he does move around well in the pocket in order to open up passing lanes.
While drafting a quarterback as talented as Fales may seem like overkill for the Packers, we've seen this year how important having a talented backup is. Fales has the talent to step in and be a serviceable backup from day one for Green Bay.
There was once a time when Logan Thomas was considered a top quarterback prospect. Unfortunately, he's proven to be quite a bit raw over the past few college seasons, and he is now seen as a late-round, developmental pick.
However, Thomas might be the exact type of quarterback that could thrive with the Green Bay Packers. Sure, it'd take quite a bit of work to get him to the point where he could be a solid backup, but that would be fine for the Packers.
Thomas has a huge arm with plenty of athletic ability, but his decision making and consistency need to improve in a major way. If the Packers can properly develop Thomas, he could end up being a steal at the end of the 2014 draft.
If you're looking for a potential first-round pick for the Green Bay Packers, you probably don't need to look any further than tight end Jace Amaro from Texas Tech. Amaro has the potential to be an absolute difference maker at the tight end position for the Packers. He's an athletic freak who is a mismatch down the field for opposing defenders.
The closest comparison to Amaro is Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints. That's how potentially dominant he can become in the NFL. Of course, there are still areas where Amaro can improve, specifically with his blocking.
However, Amaro's upside definitely outweighs any doubts about him learning to be an effective blocker. With Jermichael Finley's career still up in the air, Amaro looks like an ideal prospect for the Packers to draft.
The biggest issue surrounding Colt Lyerla is the fact that he is a huge risk as a prospect. He was arrested earlier in the year for drug possession after leaving football at the University of Oregon.
While his off-field issues are potentially a major issue, his ability on the field could put those doubts to rest. Lyerla has the speed, size and athletic ability to be a constant threat in the receiving game for the Green Bay Packers.
Lyerla is likely going to be available in the later rounds simply due to his off-field issues. However, if the Packers feel confident in his talent and they feel like he can stay out of trouble, he could end up becoming an impact player and an absolute steal for Green Bay.
What the Green Bay Packers currently lack on their defensive line is a "freak" athlete. Ra'Shede Hageman could potentially become that player.
Hageman is listed as 6'6" and 311 pounds on the University of Minnesota website. Despite being so large, Hageman possess elite quickness off the snap and the power to simply dominate offensive linemen. His overall skill set and potential could make him a future All-Pro at his position.
The only problem with Hageman is that he might get drafted too high for the Packers to select him. Of course, if Green Bay continues to play like it has in recent weeks, it might be picking higher than anyone expected in the 2014 NFL draft.
Had Dominique Easley stayed healthy, there is no way he would have been considered a late-round prospect in this year's draft. However, Easley tore his ACL earlier in the year, which will almost certainly make him available later in the draft.
Before his injury, Easley possessed the ability to explode through the line of scrimmage and create negative plays. He can make an impact in the run game, but he also has the ability to get pressure on the quarterback.
The only question surrounding Easley is how healthy he'll be once the NFL Combine and draft roll around. Any questions about his health will likely cause him to be drafted later to the point where he could become quite the steal for the Green Bay Packers.
The biggest weakness for the Green Bay Packers this year has been in their secondary. This is especially true at the safety position where neither Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings or Jerron McMillian have proved to be valuable assets moving forward.
What a player like Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix brings to the field is the talent and winning mentality to impact the game from day one. He's got the ability to make big plays due to his athletic ability and ball-hawking skills.
Clinton-Dix's ability to create turnovers would be his most valuable trait to the Packers. It'd likely take a first-round pick to get Clinton-Dix, but he would be well worth the pick as he'd instantly improve the Packers secondary.
Dion Bailey had a brief stint at outside linebacker at USC last year, but he's back playing his more natural position of safety this year. However, that year at outside linebacker has made him a more desirable prospect.
Not only does Bailey have the ball skills to be an effective safety, but his instincts and ability to lay out opponents in the open field are also desirable traits. The only real problem with Bailey is that he is still an extremely raw prospect. This is due to having switched positions multiple times in college.
However, Bailey's upside could turn him into an extremely special player in the right defensive scheme. While the Green Bay Packers would likely have to bring him along slowly, he could end up becoming quite the player for the Packers defense.