Green Bay Packers 2014 NFL Draft Fact or Fiction
The Packers are a team who still has plenty of holes to fill. While most of their needs fall on the defensive side of the ball, the Packers could also target some offensive players in this year's draft.
What makes determining whether the buzz and rumors for Green Bay are fact or fiction is general manager Ted Thompson. Few know what Thompson is thinking, and even less can predict how he'll use his draft picks.
Today, we'll do our best to determine whether the news concerning the 2014 draft is fact or fiction.
The Packers Will Target an Offensive Tackle Early: Fiction
There are quite a few major needs for the Packers in this upcoming draft, none of which are at offensive tackle. However, former general manager Mark Dominik believes that the Packers could draft one in the earlier rounds of this year's draft, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.
While the offensive tackles weren't great last year, there is reason to believe that they'll be much improved in 2014. For starters, Green Bay will be getting Bryan Bulaga back from an injury that forced him to miss all of last year.
Bulaga was set to make the switch to left tackle before getting injured. His return will allow the Packers some flexibility with him and second-year tackle David Bakhtiari. Simply put, the Packers can afford to wait until the later rounds to draft a developmental player at offensive tackle, if they draft one at all.
If the Packers were going to address the offensive line early, the only position that really makes sense is center. However, even an early-round pick on a center seems like a stretch with so many needs on the defensive side of the ball.
Brock Jensen Is a Potential Draft Target: Fact
With only quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Scott Tolzien currently on the roster, the Packers could potentially be looking to draft a quarterback this year.
However, they won't be spending an early pick on one, but a late-round selection. One name that continues to pop up is North Dakota State's Brock Jensen.
In fact, the Packers have scheduled a visit with Jensen, according to Wes Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press Gazette. Since Green Bay only has 30 predraft visits, the fact that its using one on a late-round-quarterback prospect like Jensen is significant.
With ideal size and plenty of upside, don't be surprised if the Packers select Jensen with one of their last picks in the draft.
Aaron Murray Is an Option as a Developmental QB: Fiction
We've already talked about the Packers' need to add another quarterback to its roster.
One name that Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel brought up as a potential option is Aaron Murray from Georgia. While Murray certainly has experience, it's unlikely that he'll be a draft pick of the Packers.
For starters, it's quite possible that Murray has already reached his ceiling as a prospect. The Packers want a quarterback with a large amount of potential, not one who is already maxed out.
There are also injury concerns about a torn ACL he suffered at the end of Georgia's season. Simply put, Green Bay isn't going to draft a quarterback to be No. 3 on its depth chart that doesn't have much room to grow.
Packers Will Definitely Pick a Safety: Fact
There is no denying that the biggest need for the Packers still remains a safety. That's why it shouldn't come as a surprise that Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com is confident that Green Bay will definitely draft one in this year's draft.
Demovsky doesn't specify what round he expects the Packers to select one. However, it wouldn't be surprising to see them use an early-round pick on a safety.
A few names that would be ideal for the Packers are Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Louisville's Calvin Pryor and Northern Illinois' Jimmie Ward. All those players would need to be drafted in either the first or second round of the draft.
What shouldn't surprise anyone is if the Packers decide to draft more than one safety. They could look at one in the earlier rounds and a developmental player in the later rounds.
Kelvin Benjamin a First-Round Target: Fiction
It's never a bad thing to give a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers more weapons. That's probably the thinking behind Brian Carriveau of CheeseheadTV.com suggesting that wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin could be the receiver the Packers are missing.
While the idea of giving Rodgers a big target like Benjamin is nice, it's highly unlikely that it'll happen. For starters, Green Bay would have to spend an early pick on Benjamin. The only way the Packers are going to spend an early pick on a receiver is if it's an elite prospect who falls to them. Benjamin is far from an elite prospect.
Secondly, there are some major concerns about Benjamin, including his knack for dropping passes on a consistent basis. He also needs plenty of work as an overall route-runner.
There's certainly a chance that the Packers will add a receiver in this year's draft to replace the departed James Jones, but it simply won't be Benjamin.
The Packers Drafting a Tight End in the First Round: Fiction
If you look around the web at mock drafts, one of the common positions that "experts" have the Packers selecting in the first round is tight end. In fact, in Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com's latest mock draft, he has Green Bay selecting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins at pick No. 21.
While tight end is certainly a need for the Packers, it simply isn't as big of one as a number of defensive positions. The only tight end that Green Bay could potentially draft in the first round would be North Carolina's Eric Ebron.
However, it's extremely unlikely that Ebron falls out of the first 15 picks, much less all the way down to the 21st pick. Without an elite talent like Ebron to pick, the Packers simply won't be drafting Seferian-Jenkins, or any other tight end, in the first round of this year's draft.
The Packers Will Draft a Small-School Wide Receiver: Fact
Over the past few years we've seen an increase in small-school prospects getting drafted. Whether it's offensive linemen or quarterbacks, NFL teams are more willing to draft players who didn't play at a top university.
That's why it isn't too surprising that the Packers had a predraft visit with UT-Martin wide receiver Jeremy Butler, according to Daniel Jonsson of NFLDraftDiamonds.com. Butler has good size at 6'2" and 220 pounds along with the ability to be physical in the passing game.
He's more polished than you'd expect from most smaller-school prospects. This is ultimately the reason why it wouldn't be surprising to see the Packers draft Butler. He'd likely be available in the late rounds of the draft, and he's capable of making an impact early in his career.
ILB C.J. Mosely a Potential First-Round Pick: Fact
Despite returning both starting inside linebackers from last year's team, ESPN's Rob Demovsky still believes the Packers could spend a first-round pick on a replacement for either A.J. Hawk or Brad Jones.
The name that Demovsky suggest is Alabama's C.J. Mosley. While Mosley is an elite talent in this year's draft, many people expect him to slide on draft day. The reason for this is that the teams in the top half of the draft simply don't have a huge need at inside linebacker.
If he's available at pick No. 21, it'd be hard for the Packers to pass on a player like Mosley. His athleticism and all-around capabilities would instantly improve the Packers defense.
The only way the Packers wouldn't select Mosley if he's available is if his teammate Clinton-Dix is still available. It's unlikely that'll be the case, so don't be surprised if Mosley is a member of the Packers come May.