Who Are the Experts Mocking to the Green Bay Packers?
You can literally find mock drafts everywhere for the Green Bay Packers. However, certain experts are worth trusting more than your regular Joe Schmo.
Today we're going to look at some of the top football experts and see whom they have the Packers drafting in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft. Among our experts are Matt Miller from right here at Bleacher Report, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler from CBSSports.com, Daniel Jeremiah and Matt Smith from NFL.com and Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay from ESPN (subscription required for ESPN mock drafts).
Here's the crazy thing about these different mock drafts: none of these experts have the Packers drafting the same player. This is often true with a handful of teams, and what this shows for Green Bay is how no one really knows what general manager Ted Thompson is thinking heading into the draft.
Sure, the Packers have plenty of obvious needs, but they won't dictate how Thompson attacks the first round. Let's take a look at each of these picks and break down why each one makes sense and why Green Bay may go a different direction.
Matt Miller, Bleacher Report: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
If C.J. Mosley falls to the Green Bay Packers with the 21st pick, they'd be foolish to pass on him. While inside linebacker isn't the biggest need on defense, he is a special talent that would improve the defense instantly.
What makes him such a unique prospect is his ability to be a three-down linebacker from Day 1. He's stout against the run, can get pressure on quarterbacks and also has the ability to drop into coverage when needed.
He'd also add some athleticism to the inside linebackers, which is currently lacking with A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones starting. There's little doubt that Mosley would be an impact player for Green Bay on the defensive side of the ball for years to come.
This is a great pick, but there's also a good chance that he is lone gone by the time the Packers get on the clock.
Rob Rang, CBS Sports: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
One of the more popular mock choices for the Green Bay Packers is Ra'Shede Hageman. Not only does he fill one of the bigger needs at defensive tackle, but his upside is through the roof.
Few players in this draft has the size, speed and athleticism that Hageman does. Now his overall game has some rough edges, but he'd still be able to come in right away and make an impact on the defense.
His biggest strength is his ability to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He's quick off the snap and consistently finds himself in the opponent's backfield.
Adding a player like Hageman in the first round would instantly make the Packers defense more dangerous.
Dane Brugler, CBS Sports: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Louis Nix III is another defensive lineman who would instantly improve the Green Bay Packers defense.
Where he is going to make the greatest impact is against the run. His combination of speed and strength helps him to consistently win at the point of attack, and he has the quickness to chase down the ball-carrier.
While he would fill a big need for the Packers defense, there's one problem with Dan Brugler's mock draft: Brugler has the Packers taking Nix with safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix still available.
If Clinton-Dix is available with the 21st pick, there is no way that the Packers could pass on him. However, if he is gone, then a player like Nix would be a fantastic fit along the defensive line.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah is the only expert on the list to give the Green Bay Packers one of the top safeties in this year's draft.
We all know that safety is the biggest need for the Packers heading into the offseason, and a player like Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be a huge get for Green Bay. He'd bring a playmaking ability that was sorely lacking on last year's team.
He would also start at free safety, which would allow Morgan Burnett to move back to strong safety. That's where Burnett is the most effective, and it would hopefully allow him to get back to playing at a high level.
This would be the most ideal pick for the Packers in the first round of the draft. Not only would Clinton-Dix fill the biggest need, but he'd also make a huge impact right away on the defense.
Matt Smith, NFL.com: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Of all the expert mock draftniks, NFL.com's Matt Smith has the most interesting pick for the Green Bay Packers.
Now the problem isn't that Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a bad player; it's just that no one else expects the Packers to draft him in the first round. In fact, some experts have him still available when the Packers select in the second round.
Seferian-Jenkins is a great all-around tight end who can make big plays and also be an impact blocker in the ground game. However, he's still a step below the top two tight ends in this year's draft in Texas Tech's Jace Amaro and UNC's Eric Ebron.
While the Packers will be looking for a tight end in the draft, they'd unlikely spend a first-round pick on a tight end other than Amaro or Ebron. Seferian-Jenkins would be a quality addition through the draft but not as a first-round prospect.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Figuring out the top safety in this year's draft depends solely on whom you ask. Some love Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, while others go with Louisville's Calvin Pryor.
To be completely honest, the Green Bay Packers couldn't go wrong with adding either player to the roster. While Pryor isn't quite as polished as Clinton-Dix is right now, his upside might be a little higher over the long run.
Pryor's biggest strength is his ability to lay out an opponent in the open field. He'd bring a toughness to the Packers defense that was missing in a big way during the 2013 season.
If he can get better in coverage, he has the ability to become a consistent Pro Bowler for the Packers. Even if he doesn't, he still has the overall talent to be an ideal first-round choice for Green Bay.
Todd McShay, ESPN: Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
Most experts have the Green Bay Packers taking a defensive lineman or safety in the first round of this year's draft. Those are the two biggest needs heading into the offseason, so it makes sense that the team would address them during the draft.
However, ESPN's Todd McShay has the Packers going a completely different direction by selecting a cornerback in Justin Gilbert. What makes this pick so interesting is that they already have two starting-caliber cornerbacks in Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward. There is also the good possibility that they re-sign Sam Shields in the offseason.
So, the biggest question with adding Gilbert is exactly where he'd fit in on the defense. There's no doubting that he's one of the top cornerbacks available this year, but it's a hard sell to see Green Bay selecting him in the first round with the talent already on the roster at the position.
Now if the Packers don't re-sign Shields, then drafting Gilbert would be more likely, but it's hard to imagine the team not bringing back Shields. Gilbert has the talent to go in the first round, but Green Bay is an unlikely destination for him on draft day.