2014 NFL Draft Picks That Could Be Opening-Game Starters for the Packers
However, what separates Green Bay from a majority of the rest of the league is that they need a good amount of their draft picks to be ready to start from day one. This is due to the amount of holes and the lack of playmakers they currently have.
That's not to say the Packers won't be good if they don't find rookie starters, but they'll be much better if they can find some. The majority of the following players will either need to be drafted in the first or second round of this year's draft. There are some, however, who could drop into the later rounds.
Here are seven prospects who could start right away should Green Bay draft them.
Jace Amaro, Tight End, Texas Tech
The Packers don't necessarily need to draft a tight end in this year's draft. However, if they drafted one who could start right away, their offense would be much improved.
One of the few tight ends who would be able to make an instant impact is Texas Tech's Jace Amaro. In fact, Amaro would be the perfect tight end for the Packers offense.
For starters, Amaro has great hands and the ability to make plays after the catch. He's also a skilled route-runner who knows how to get open on a consistent basis. Finally, Amaro is a willing blocker with enough strength to be a factor in the ground game.
Adding Amaro as an opening-game starter would be a huge boost to the offense in Green Bay and make them more dangerous than they already are.
C.J. Mosley, Inside Linebacker, Alabama
One of the more popular picks in mock drafts lately is inside linebacker C.J. Mosley from Alabama.
Mosley is one of the few players in this year's draft who is talented enough to start for any team in the NFL from day one. He's as polished as any inside linebacker that's entered the league in years.
What makes Mosley such an instant-impact player is his ability to make plays in every aspect of the game. He can rush the quarterback, stop the run and drop back into coverage. There simply isn't a weak spot in Mosley's game.
If Mosley does fall to the Packers, he'd easily replace either A.J. Hawk or Brad Jones in the starting lineup.
Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, Free Safety, Alabama
Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix starts our streak of free safeties who could start from day one for the Packers. Out of all of the safeties in this year's draft, Clinton-Dix would be the most ideal for Green Bay.
What Clinton-Dix brings to the field is the ability to consistently make plays in the secondary. Considering the Packers safeties combined for exactly zero interceptions last year, a safety who can make plays would be greatly appreciated.
Not only will Clinton-Dix make an impact in the passing game, but he's got the physicality to make plays against the run too. Simply put, he's an all-around safety who is ready to start from day one.
Adding Clinton-Dix in the first round of this year's draft would be a huge get for the Packers defense.
Calvin Pryor, Free Safety, Louisville
If Clinton-Dix is the top safety in this year's draft, Louisville's Calvin Pryor is a close No. 2.
Pryor isn't quite as polished as Clinton-Dix as a playmaker, but he still makes plenty of plays on the ball. Pryor is also a much more physical player. Sure, that can sometimes lead to penalties, but the Packers have been missing a physical presence in the secondary for a long time.
By adding a player like Pryor, Green Bay would be getting a player who could start on opening day and make a huge impact for the foreseeable future.
Jimmie Ward, Free Safety, Northern Illinois
The last safety in this year's draft who could be an opening-game starter for the Packers is Jimmie Ward from Northern Illinois. Unlike Clinton-Dix and Pyror, it's a possibility that Ward could be available for Green Bay to select in the second round.
What makes Ward such an intriguing prospect for the Packers is his ability to create turnovers. He finished the 2013 college season with a whopping seven interceptions. It's that skill that Green Bay currently lacks with its group of safeties.
While Ward would need to improve against the run, his ability on passing plays overshadows any slight deficiencies he currently has. He'd be a big boost for the Packers defense right away, as he'd move into the starting lineup from day one.
Travis Swanson, Center, Arkansas
When the Packers failed to re-sign center Evan Dietrich-Smith, they left a huge hole in the middle of their offense line. They also guaranteed that quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be taking snaps from a fourth different center in as many years.
While the Packers could look to their current roster to replace Dietrich-Smith, it'd be a wiser decision to draft a player like Travis Swanson from Arkansas. Swanson is an experienced center who can be productive in both the run and pass game.
What ultimately pushes Swanson down draft boards is his lack of elite athleticism. However, he's still an extremely solid center in terms of blocking.
Adding Swanson would give the Packers a starting center that Rodgers would work with for years and years.
Ryan Shazier, Outside Linebacker, Ohio State
While Ryan Shazier played outside linebacker at Ohio State, that's not necessarily where the Packers would play him if they were to draft him.
One scenario that could happen if Shazier ended up in Green Bay would involve him making the switch to inside linebacker. His elite athleticism would make the transition quite a bit easier.
What would make Shazier such a scary prospect as an inside linebacker is his ability to get after the quarterback. By having him on the field with the likes of Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers, the Packers would be nearly impossible for an offense to block.
Shazier might not be extremely polished as an inside linebacker, but there's little doubt that he'd be an instant upgrade over both Hawk and Jones.
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