Packers' Draft Stock Watch: 8 Players Rising Up, Falling Down Green Bay's Board
With the NFL draft less than two months away, teams like the Green Bay Packers are beginning to finalize their draft boards. And as the Packers continue to watch tape and interview players, they'll continue to have individuals rise and fall on their board.
Now, there could be plenty of reasons why a player rises or falls. For example, Green Bay may have addressed a position during free agency and now it no longer needs to look to the draft to fill its need. One reason a player could be rising up a board is due to a strong showing during his pro day.
We'll take a look at these reasons and others as we break down who is rising and falling down the Packers' draft board.
Rising: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
While the Packers have a bevy of tight ends currently on their roster, they don't have a true No. 1 tight end. That's where Texas Tech's Jace Amaro comes into play.
After posting solid numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine, Amaro improved across the board during the Texas Tech pro day. In fact, one scout compared Amaro to Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers, according to Tommy Magelssen of The Dallas Morning News.
Those are some rather large shoes to fill, but Amaro certainly has the potential to become as dangerous of a receiving option as Davis. He's got a great combination of size and athleticism, and his hands are really quite impressive.
Adding Amaro would greatly improve the Packers offense for the foreseeable future. The best news is that Amaro would likely be available later in the first round if Green Bay wanted to trade back in order to draft him.
Falling: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
There are two reasons why defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman currently finds himself falling down the draft board of the Packers.
The first reason is that the Packers re-signed B.J. Raji and added Letroy Guion, who played defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings last year. With both Raji and Guion on the roster, the Packers simply don't have the need for a defensive tackle in the first round.
Secondly, Hageman is starting to draw some red flags for his play. For example, Russell Lande, scouting director for the Montreal Alouettes, feels that Hageman is simply too often a non-factor. While that is just the opinion of one scout, it's definitely likely that other teams have the same concerns as Lande.
Hageman certainly has the potential to be a dominant player, but bigger needs and questionable effort have seen him drop in the eyes of Green Bay.
Rising: Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
There is little doubt who the top safety in this year's draft is. Some might say it's Louisville's Calvin Pryor, who is a fine player, but Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix of Alabama is truly in a class of his own.
The more you watch Clinton-Dix, which the Packers have almost certainly done, the more you realize just how special he is. His ability to make plays on the ball is incredible, and he can also make an impact in every facet of the game.
The only real knock on Clinton-Dix's game is the fact that he can be too aggressive at times. However, the Packers would certainly have an overly aggressive safety any day of the week over the current safeties on their roster.
Clinton-Dix will continue to rise up the Packers' draft board right up until the first day of the draft. He might even become so coveted that Green Bay can't help itself from moving up to drat him.
Falling: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
Much like defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman, Louis Nix III finds himself falling down the Packers' draft board due to a lack of need at his position. In fact, Nix III is an extremely similar player to Raji, and the last thing the Packers need is two Rajis on the roster.
However, there's also another concern with Nix, and that is his knee. He had surgery back in November to repair it, but an injury like the one Nix had is always a little concerning, especially for defensive linemen.
For starters, it's possible that he could lose quite a bit of explosion off the snap due to this injury. That burst is ultimately what made him such a coveted prospect.
Now, it's certainly possible that Nix will turn out to be a fine player, but it's unlikely he'll have that opportunity with the Packers.
Rising: C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
There's an interesting relationship going on between the Packers and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. The reason for this is that the two parties don't really need each other.
Mosley is one of the best players in this draft, regardless of position, and the Packers aren't hurting bad enough for an inside linebacker to draft one in the first round. So, why is Mosley currently rising up the Packers' draft board?
Well, it looks like the two may be destined to meet when the draft actually rolls around. And if an elite player like Mosley is available when it's your turn to select, then you'd be foolish to not select him.
The fact that Mosley is such a complete linebacker and an instant upgrade over either A.J. Hawk or Brad Jones has to ultimately be exciting for Green Bay. If he's available when the Packers are drafting at the No. 21 pick, don't be surprised at all if they pick Mosley.
Falling: Dri Archer, KR/PR, Kent State
After posting absolutely blazing numbers at the NFL combine, including the fastest 40-yard dash, return specialist/all-around weapon Dri Acher found himself soaring up draft boards. With the Packers desperately needing some help in their return game, Archer looked like an ideal pick in the later rounds of the draft.
However, with each day that passes, it looks like the Packers simply have too many other needs on the roster to justify drafting a specialist without a real position like Archer. Had the Packers not re-signed James Starks, they could have had Archer play some running back, but now that won't be possible.
Archer will certainly have a place in the NFL, and if the Packers didn't have so many other needs to fill the two parties would have been a great fit. However, the needs for Green Bay are very real, so Archer will most likely be suiting up for another team once the 2014 season rolls around.
Rising: Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
Much like Alabama's Clinton-Dix, safety Calvin Pryor finds himself soaring up the Packers' draft board due to their massive need at his position.
Depending on who you ask, Pryor is either the top safety in this year's draft or a very close second behind Clinton-Dix. There is one thing that Pryor is better at than Clinton-Dix, though, and that is his ability to absolutely lay out an opponent.
Pryor is a huge hitter and a sure tackler, which is exactly what the Packers need in their secondary. Too often last year did the Packers' safeties allow big plays simply because they couldn't tackle the offensive player.
By adding a player like Pryor, Green Bay would instantly improve its secondary in a major way.
Falling: Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
When the Packers signed Julius Peppers, no one really knew what position he'd be playing in the 3-4 defense the Packers run. However, there are now reports out there, including one from Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin, that suggest the most likely position for Peppers will be linebacker.
That means the Packers' need for potential depth at outside linebacker has gone down. They may still take a late-round prospect with huge upside, but spending a second-round pick on a player like Kyle Van Noy from BYU just doesn't seem likely.
There is certainly a lot to like about Van Noy's all-around ability as a linebacker, but the need is no longer there for the Packers. With Clay Mathews and Peppers, Green Bay needs to focus its earlier picks in this year's draft on more important positions.
Van Noy would have been an ideal fit for the Packers not too long ago, but the assigning of Peppers' position in Green Bay has changed that.