General manager Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers has to feel a bit giddy. The Packers now will have nine draft picks in the 2014 NFL draft, which is being called the deepest draft class in years.
During a conference call with reporters just before the NFL Scouting Combine, via Pro Football Talk, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock gave his take on the upcoming draft that will take place starting on May 8.
“From my perspective, this is the deepest and best draft class I’ve seen in probably ten years,” Mayock said. “That’s been reinforced by most of the general managers and scouts I’ve talked to throughout the league. I had one GM tell me the other day that having a Top-20 pick this year is very similar to having a Top-10 pick last year.”
Scout Chris Landry told me that this is an outstanding draft class when I talked with him recently: "In terms of overall grades, you are right, I'm not completely done yet, but I can tell you that I'm on pace to have a higher number of first-round grades that I've had in years. Maybe as high as 28 or 29, which is extraordinarily high."
Landry then went on to talk about the rest of the prospects in this year's draft:
"It's really deep in the second and third rounds. Maybe even a little bit above that. So, there is really good value. And what that means is that when you are picking in the fifth or sixth round, you will be getting in a lot of cases third-round-value players. Because how you grade a player is how you see them and how they fit in a certain category. And that grade is corresponding to a round.
"But if you have more than 32 players with second-round grades, which you are definitely going to have this year, just do the numbers. If you have 42, you have 10 players who going to bleed into the third round with second-round grades. If you do the numbers going forward, I think there is going to be tremendous value here (in this draft)."
So if you see the usually very composed Thompson crack a smile at times between now and the draft, now you know why.
He and head coach Mike McCarthy have put together a draft-and-develop system in the eight years they have been together in Green Bay. It has been a successful formula, as the team has an 82-45-1 record in the regular season in that time with six playoff appearances, four NFC North titles and one Super Bowl victory.
This year's draft should definitely add to the talent and depth of the Packers in 2014 and beyond.
So with that being said, here is my fifth mock draft for the Packers. If you would like to reference my first four mock drafts, here is a link to the last one I did, which will also include links to the first three.