5 Late-Round NFL Draft Prospects Perfectly Suited for the Packers
In the nine years that Ted Thompson has run the draft for the Green Bay Packers, he has been able to come up with some very nice late-round talent. By late round, I mean fifth round or later.
The list includes:
- Defensive lineman Johnny Jolly (sixth round in 2006)
- Fullback Korey Hall (sixth round in 2007)
- Linebacker Desmond Bishop (sixth round in 2007)
- Kicker Mason Crosby (sixth round in 2007)
- Quarterback Matt Flynn (seventh round in 2008)
- Linebacker Brad Jones (seventh round in 2009)
- Tight Andrew Quarless (fifth round in 2010)
- Running back James Starks (sixth round in 2010)
- Defensive lineman C.J. Wilson (seventh round in 2010)
- Tight end Ryan Taylor (seventh round in 2011)
- Defensive back Micah Hyde (fifth round in 2013)
- Defensive lineman Josh Boyd (fifth round in 2013)
- Linebacker Sam Barrington (seventh round in 2013)
That's quite a list. Thompson has also done very well in the fourth round—especially along the offensive line, as Josh Sitton (2008), T.J. Lang (2009), David Bakhtiari (2013) and J.C. Tretter (2013) were all fourth-round selections.
For this slideshow, however, I am going to name five players whom I believe will be drafted in the fifth round or later but also have the attributes and talent to help the Packers in 2014 and beyond.
Wide Receiver Jeff Janis (Saginaw Valley State)
Weight: 219 pounds
Even though Jeff Janis played for a small school, he produced enough to get invited to the Senior Bowl, plus he looked very good at the NFL Scouting Combine.
In his senior year, he had 83 receptions for 1,572 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has excellent size, and he showed well at the combine, where he ran a 4.42 40-yard dash and put up 20 reps on the bench press.
In a normal year, Janis would probably get selected earlier than he will this year. But the 2014 wide receiver class is so deep that scout Chris Landry told me that as many as 18 receivers in this draft could eventually be starters.
With the loss of James Jones via free agency, the Packers will look to fortify the wide receiver position in this year's draft, especially knowing that both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in 2015.
Offensive Lineman Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt)
Weight: 297 pounds
The Packers love to have versatile offensive linemen—players who can play a couple of positions and sometimes three. That is why Green Bay should draft Wesley Johnson from Vanderbilt.
He played all three line positions at Vandy and was also a team captain. He is also experienced in zone blocking.
Johnson had 51 starts (the most in school history) and was All-SEC at left tackle in 2013. He also had seven starts at center in his career as a Commodore, plus he played some left guard.
With Marshall Newhouse leaving the Packers via free agency recently, a position is open for another lineman—especially one with the versatility of Johnson.
Defensive Back Bennett Jackson (Notre Dame)
Weight: 195 pounds
Bennett Jackson might be this year's version of Micah Hyde. He has the ability and size to play both cornerback and safety.
He started the last two years at cornerback for Notre Dame and was also a captain. Overall the last two seasons, he had 129 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, six interceptions (one for a touchdown), 11 passes defended and one forced fumble.
The former Golden Domer also has extensive experience on special teams, plus he tackles well. He has also returned kickoffs.
Jackson has the versatility to help the Packers at two positions in their defensive backfield.
Outside Linebacker Aaron Lynch (South Florida)
Weight: 249 pounds
In 2013, Ted Thompson selected linebacker Sam Barrington from South Florida in the seventh round. Although he ended up on injured reserve in 2013, do not be surprised to see him as a starter for the Packers at inside linebacker in 2014.
Thompson might look to South Florida again this year, as prospect Aaron Lynch has all sorts of ability. Although he played defensive end for the Bulls, Lynch looks to be an outside linebacker in the NFL.
He was a good enough player in high school to get a scholarship to Notre Dame, before he ended up transferring closer to home to South Florida.
In his two-year college career at both Notre Dame and South Florida, he had 62 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, 10.5 sacks and one forced fumble.
The Packers might be interested in a player like him, as the team is still looking for a solid and productive bookend opposite Clay Matthews at outside linebacker.
Lynch probably left school too early, but he has the size and talent to become a good player in the NFL. Nevertheless, he will need proper tutoring and mentoring.
Nose Tackle Beau Allen (Wisconsin)
Weight: 330 pounds
Defensive lineman Beau Allen was not a happy camper when he was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine. But he performed well at his pro day at Wisconsin.
He has played in both the 4-3 and the 3-4 with the Badgers. In his career at Wisconsin, he had 94 tackles, 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble.
He has the size to play the nose tackle position for the Packers in their base 3-4 alignment, as he is very stout versus the run. He would also add some needed depth, as B.J. Raji came back to the Packers on just a one-year deal after exploring free agency for a while.
If Raji does leave for good after the 2014 season, at least the Packers would have a capable nose tackle in Allen to fill the position.
Combine results courtesy of NFL.com.
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