Green Bay Packers 2014 Mock Draft: Round-by-Round Best-Case Scenarios
The Green Bay Packers' 2013 season is over following a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers. Now, it's time for this team to turn its attention to the offseason and the 2014 NFL draft, where it holds the 21st pick come May.
This is where the Packers have really thrived at improving their roster. Recent draft picks such as wide receiver Randall Cobb, cornerback Casey Hayward and running back Eddie Lacy had instant impacts during their rookie seasons.
Green Bay needs to find a few more of those types of players in this year's draft. While the defense certainly needs quite a bit of help, don't be surprised if the Packers also attempt to improve areas of their offense.
Today, we're going to look at the best-case scenarios for Green Bay in every round of the 2014 NFL draft.
The Pick: Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama
Anyone who watched the Green Bay Packers this season saw that their biggest needs reside in the secondary, specifically at the safety position.
Clinton-Dix is the type of prospect who can come in right away and make a big difference for the Packers. Clinton-Dix brings big hitting and the ability to make plays on the ball, both of which the Packers currently lack at the safety position.
Since former safety Nick Collins was forced to retire with a neck injury, Green Bay simply hasn't had a safety who could be a consistent playmaker. However, Clinton-Dix has displayed that ability all year and would step into the starting lineup from day one.
If Clinton-Dix is available in the first round, the Packers would be wise to draft him without a second thought.
Next Best: Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina
Ebron is a popular first-round pick for the Packers simply due to the uncertainty of tight end Jermichael Finley. However, backup Andrew Quarless showed enough in Finley's absence that Green Bay doesn't necessarily need to add a high pick to replace him.
Instead, the Packers can wait until the later rounds to draft a developmental prospect with a ton of upside. With that said, if Clinton-Dix is off the table, getting a game-changing weapon like Ebron makes quite a bit of sense for Green Bay.
The Pick: Ra'Shede Hageman, Defensive Tackle, Minnesota
The biggest question with Hageman is whether he'll be available later in the second round for the Packers to draft him.
Hageman's athleticism will cause him to test off the charts heading up to the draft, which could cause his stock to skyrocket. However, Hageman's lack of overall polish could cause him to drop to the Packers.
Should that happen, Green Bay would absolutely need to scoop him up. Hageman is the type of defensive lineman who can rush the passer and make an impact in the ground game. No one on the Packers' current defensive line can do both of those things.
Adding a talent like Hageman, who has a rather large ceiling, would go a long way in improving a defensive line that struggled all year long.
Next Best: Kyle Van Noy, Outside Linebacker, BYU
While outside linebacker may not seem like a need, a player such as Van Noy might be too good to pass up.
Van Noy has the all-around athletic ability the Packers currently lack opposite Clay Matthews. He'd be an instant upgrade in coverage over the likes of Mike Neal and Nick Perry and could provide solid pressure right away.
The Pick: James Hurst, Offensive Tackle, North Carolina
Even with offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga returning next season, it's hard to picture the Green Bay Packers being too excited about their offensive line for the 2014 season.
The reason for this is that neither David Bakhtiari nor Don Barclay was overly impressive this year. Barclay finished the year as the No. 54 offensive tackle, and Bakhtiari was the No. 60 offensive tackle in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Adding a talent such as Hurst, who has the potential to be a very good left tackle, would be a great move. The fact that Hurst will be recovering from a broken leg will likely cause his stock to drop far enough to make him an absolute steal of a pick.
This may not be the biggest position of need, but Hurst's overall talent level would instantly upgrade the depth on the offensive line.
Next Best: Anthony Johnson, Defensive Tackle, LSU
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Packers add a number of defensive linemen to their roster in the upcoming draft.
What Johnson brings to the field is impressive instincts. He's a good athlete with the ability to stop the run.
Johnson is a raw prospect at this point in his career, but the Packers need explosive players on their defense, and Johnson definitely fits that profile.
The Pick: A.J. Johnson, Inside Linebacker, Tennessee
Neither Brad Jones nor Jamari Lattimore had a strong season at inside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers. Sure, there were plenty of positive plays from the duo, but they were also too inconsistent to be relied upon too heavily.
Johnson is an experienced player with good athletic ability. However, his struggles disengaging from blocks and his overall lack of polish could cause him to drop in the draft.
Johnson would be an ideal pick for Green Bay because he'd have some of the best coaching from linebackers coach Kevin Greene. Once Johnson learns to be more focused on the game of football, he could become a star player opposite A.J. Hawk.
Next Best: Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville
It's definitely possible that Pryor gets drafted way higher than the fourth round. He's sort of an unknown name right now, but once offseason programs and testings begin, Pryor will likely shoot up draft boards.
Pryor is an elite athlete who has an impressive set of natural abilities. He's got good ball skills and the ability to stop the run and is also impressive at rushing the quarterback.
Overall, Pryor may need some time to be ready for the NFL, but his upside would be great for the Packers defense.
The Pick: Morgan Breslin, Outside Linebacker, USC
This late in the draft, the Green Bay Packers need to look for players who can either play right away or have a large amount of upside. Breslin could be a good mixture of both for Green Bay.
Breslin has been able to wreak havoc in opponents' backfields during his time at USC. Unfortunately, he's also had plenty of injuries over the course of his college career.
If Breslin can stay healthy, he could bring some instant talent to the Packers linebackers.
Next Best: Jordan Tripp, Outside Linebacker, Montana
The Packers should draft an outside linebacker at some point during this draft, and the fifth round seems like a good round for it.
Tripp comes from a small school, but he's been the leader of the defense at Montana for a number of years. He's a veteran player who simply understands how to play the game of football and not make mistakes.
It may take a year or two for Tripp's body to catch up to his skill set, but his obvious upside could get the Packers plenty interested come May.
The Pick: Ed Stinson, Defensive End, Alabama
Stinson isn't the biggest or fastest defensive end available in the draft. However, it's his ability to slow down the run that ultimately makes him an attractive prospect to the Green Bay Packers.
Few teams struggled as much as Green Bay did at stopping the run. Stinson isn't an incredible athlete, but he understands what to do on offense and knows how to play solid football.
While Stinson may never become a Pro Bowl player, he'd bring a consistency to the Packers defense that was missing in a big way in 2013.
Next Best: Josh Huff, Wide Receiver, Oregon
The only reason the Packers would draft Huff would be to help in special teams.
Green Bay could never really find an answer to return punts and kicks this year. While Huff isn't the most explosive athlete in the draft, he's got a great amount of burst and the ability to make big plays once the ball is in his hands.
The Packers desperately need a boost on kick and punt returns, and Huff is the player who could ultimately do it.
The Pick: Colt Lyerla, Tight End, Oregon
This is definitely going to sound like a crazy pick, especially because Lyerla just plead guilty to possession of cocaine.
However, Lyerla is loaded with talent, and if he can prove to the Green Bay Packers that he's past his dark days, he could end up being one of the biggest steals in the draft. It would definitely be a risky pick, but it could pay off in a huge way.
Next Best: Cornelius Lucas, Offensive Tackle, Kansas State
In the seventh round, a team is just looking for upside. Well, Lucas is a behemoth of a man at 6'8" and 328 pounds.
He's still extremely raw, and he likely wouldn't be able to contribute for a handful of years, but he could ultimately become a dominant offensive tackle for Green Bay.