We are just a little less than four months away from the 2014 NFL Draft, which will be held in May for the first time ever. The dates are May 8th through the 10th.
Still, this is a very busy time for general managers, personnel people and scouts in the NFL, as the all-star bowl games are about to begin, starting with the East-West Shrine game in St. Petersburg, Florida this upcoming Saturday.
Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers is in attendance, and one can be sure that he will be looking for prospects who can help the Pack in 2014.
That being said, I've put together my second mock draft for the Packers. If you want to review my first effort, please take a look here.
Like my first mock draft, I'm basing this one on team needs and where the players are expecting to be selected, at least at this point of the draft process.
Weight: 208 pounds
Calvin Pryor of Louisville is the second-best safety in this year's draft. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama is the best safety in the draft, but he probably will be off the board by the time the Packers select with the 21st pick of the first round.
We won't find out for sure until the NFL Scouting Combine and his pro day, but Pryor is among the fastest of all the top safeties, as he's been timed as fast as 4.47 in the 40-yard dash.
Pryor was named to the 2013 All-American Athletic Conference First Team as he had 75 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
Last season, the hard-hitting safety was named to the 2012 All-Big East Second Team as he had 100 tackles, two interceptions and five forced fumbles.
As a freshman, Pryor had 43 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.
In case you weren't counting, that's seven interceptions and nine forced fumbles in his three-year career at Louisville.
That is the type of production that the Packers badly need at the safety position.
Weight: 245 pounds
There are some very nice inside linebackers in the the draft this year, and one of them is definitely Shayne Skov of Stanford.
Skov was named to the 2013 All-Pac-12 First Team as he was one of the leaders of a defense which was ranked as the third-best rushing defense in the country. Skov had 109 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles this past season.
In his career at Stanford, Skov had 355 tackles, 40.5 tackles for a loss, 16 sacks, 12 passes defended and five forced fumbles.
The Packers desperately need a playmaker like Skov at inside linebacker. Someone who creates havoc at the line of scrimmage or behind it, like the former Cardinal did during his time at Stanford.
Skov did suffer a torn ACL in 2011, but he obviously regained his explosiveness in 2013.
The Packers recently signed a former teammate of Skov's at Stanford when they signed outside linebacker Chase Thomas, who was an undrafted rookie in 2013.
Weight: 265 pounds
C.J. Fiedorowicz was named to the 2013 All-Big Ten First Team by the coaches and the 2013 All-Big Ten Second Team by the media.
The big tight end had 30 catches for 299 yards and six touchdowns for the Hawkeyes this past season. In his career at Iowa, Fiedorowicz had 91 receptions for 899 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Fiedorowicz is a big target for a quarterback to find, especially in red-zone situations. Fiedorowicz has soft hands for a receiver and also has nice body control.
In addition to that, he can also sneak up on you with his speed and athleticism, even at his size.
An added plus is that Fiedorowicz is a punishing blocker in the run game, which will be served well in Green Bay with backs like Eddie Lacy running the football.
Weight: 315 pounds
Offensive tackle Justin Britt of Missouri is one of the players that Ted Thompson of the Packers will most likely have his eye on at the East-West Shrine game practices.
Britt was named to the 2013 All-SEC First Team by the media and to the 2013 All-SEC Second Team by the coaches.
Britt played left tackle as a senior and did a nice job against defensive end Jadeveon Clowney when the Tigers took on South Carolina.
Britt suffered an ACL tear in 2012 after starting six games at right tackle and three games at left tackle. The season prior to that, Britt started all 13 games at left tackle.
Britt has the versatility that the Packers look for with prospects on the offensive line, as he can play on either side of the line, plus has the ability to move inside if need be.
Weight: 315 pounds
Deandre Coleman of California was named to the 2013 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention team by the coaches.
For the season, Coleman had 39 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. In his career at Cal, Coleman had 123 tackles, 25 tackles for a loss and six sacks.
Coleman has the prototypical size you are looking for as a 3-4 defensive end. The Packers are going to need some help on the defensive line in 2014, as the team currently has several players who will be unrestricted free agents this year.
The list includes B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson. One can expect that at least two of those players will be gone. Maybe more.
That is why a player like Coleman will be needed.
Weight: 255 pounds
Outside linebacker Devon Kennard of USC is another player who was invited to the East-West Shrine game.
Kennard was named to the 2013 All-Pac-12 Second Team by the coaches as he had 60 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss and nine sacks.
Kennard was a team captain this past season for the Trojans. He is also versatile, as he has played defensive end, middle linebacker and outside linebacker during his time at USC.
In his career at USC, Kennard had 195 tackles, 26 tackles for a loss and 15 sacks.
Ted Thompson also seems to like the defensive ends/outside linebackers who come out of USC, as he has drafted both Clay Matthews (2009) and Nick Perry (2012) in the first round to try and help the defense of the Packers.
Kennard would be a later-round pick, but he could still definitely help.
Weight: 325 pounds
Beau Allen of Wisconsin is another player who will be participating in the East-West Shrine game.
Allen was named to the All-Big Ten Honorable Mention team by both the coaches and the media, as he helped a defense which was ranked seventh in total defense and fifth in rushing defense in the country.
The former Badger was a stout run defender who tied up blockers so that linebackers like Chris Borland could get to the ball-carrier. For the season, Allen had 20 tackles, two tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
In his career at Wisconsin, Allen had 94 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss and had eight sacks. He also blocked two kicks, plus recovered a fumble for a touchdown this past season versus Arizona State.
There is a decent chance that the Packers will lose either B.J. Raji or Ryan Pickett to free agency this year. Perhaps even both. If the 34-year-old Pickett does remain with the Packers, the team would be wise to find a capable backup who could be groomed to take over in the future.
Allen would fit that bill.