Green Bay Packers Predictions for Day 2
On Day 1 of the draft, the Green Bay Packers made one of the best value picks of the draft, taking the consensus top safety heading into the draft at No. 21.
HaHa Clinton-Dix is a perfect fit for Green Bay, where he's slated to make an immediate impact as a starting free safety from day one. Ted Thompson didn't panic to move up when Clinton-Dix was slipping, which could have saved the Packers a draft pick.
Now, that doesn't solve every issue the Packers have, though. With three picks remaining in the top 100, the Packers will make a bulk of their future impact on Day 2, Rounds 2 and 3.
Updated Needs for the Green Bay Packers
With safety off the board, Green Bay's needs change up a little bit. The HaHa Clinton-Dix selection impacted not only safety but also corner, where Micah Hyde will likely now stay after being discussed as a potential safety this offseason.
With no true starter on the roster, Andrew Quarless is currently slated as the No. 1 player there. With only Eric Ebron going in the first round, there should be plenty of tight end prospects in the second and third rounds for the Packers to consider. Players like Jace Amaro, Troy Niklas or Austin Seferian-Jenkins could be in the mix.
With James Jones, Greg Jennings and Donald Driver leaving the team the past two offseasons, the Packers need a replacement at receiver. While Jarrett Boykin was solid his sophomore season, he could be improved on, and the Packers don't shy away from a No. 4 receiver, either. With prospects such as Cody Latimer and Jordan Matthews still on the board, the Packers could address this position with their next pick.
After C.J. Mosley and Ryan Shazier went off the board, it looked very unlikely that Green Bay would use a pick at inside linebacker to start off their draft. Kyle Van Noy leads the inside linebacker prospects in Day 2 and might not make it to Green Bay's next pick. If he does, he could be in real contention to be the selection, or a player later in Day 2, like Kevin Pierre-Louis, could be the pick.
With Micah Hyde solidified as an inside corner, and not a safety, this position is improved a bit, but the long-term solution at boundary corner has still yet to be addressed. With Tramon Williams and Davon House, two of the top three boundary corners on the team, hitting free agency next year, it wouldn't be crazy to think Green Bay would lean toward a Pierre Desir at No. 53.
While the signings of Julius Peppers and Mike Neal may impact the pass rushing of the Green Bay Packers currently, they're not long-term answers. Nick Perry isn't a sure thing at this point, Julius Peppers' contract makes him hard to keep in 2015, and Mike Neal may go back to the defensive line. If a pass-rusher like Jeremiah Attaochu should fall to No. 53, Green Bay could pick him up.
Day 1 Recap & Analysis
After waiting for the first 20 picks of the draft to come in, the Packers took HaHa Clinton-Dix, free safety of the present and future.
A combo free and strong safety hybrid, Clinton-Dix should be able to come in day one and start at safety next to Morgan Burnett. Almost universally thought of as the top safety of the class, Clinton-Dix slipped into the middle of the draft and was taken surprisingly after Calvin Pryor.
The pick made an impact in the overall secondary, though. Giving Micah Hyde the chance to play corner again, instead of safety, this would potentially free up Casey Hayward to play outside corner, with Tramon Williams coming up at what seems to be the end of his Packers career.
In all likelihood, this puts safety out of play for at least until Day 3, if not altogether.
With the drafting of safety, though, it pushes back some other needs on the team. At this point, there's still a vacancy at starting tight end. If a player like Austin Seferian-Jenkins starts to drop, Ted Thompson could decide to make the move up for the athletic tight end, who could come in as a day-one starter.
Other needs, such as receiver, inside and outside linebacker, and cornerback also weren't addressed on Day 1 and could be during Day 2.
Top Day 2 Targets
Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
A receiver who received a lot of buzz after his pro day, Latimer was present at Radio City for the first day of the draft. This would likely mean he's thought of at least as a potential first-rounder. If he's available at No. 53, Green Bay could find its James Jones replacement.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Like Latimer, Matthews was also at Radio City for the first day of the draft. Matthews was coached by James Franklin, who was Jordy Nelson's offensive coordinator at Kansas State and was formerly a Packers receivers coach. If Matthews should make it to the Packers, he could be a Nelson clone in Mike McCarthy's system.
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
A rich man's version of Zach Ertz, Amaro is more of a jumbo slot player than a tight end or true wide receiver. Green Bay split out Finley off the offensive line at times but never as a slot player. If McCarthy is open to the idea of using a player like Amaro in that way, he'd be an early contributor to the offense.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
A large, fast tight end, Seferian-Jenkins moved up boards after recovering from his foot injury and running well during workouts. A day-one starter at tight end, he could be the Packers' next pick.
Joel Bitonio, OC, Nevada
Just too much talent to pass up, Bitonio could be someone to consider for Green Bay. He's getting looks at center, guard and tackle, and he would fit a zone-blocking scheme well. If still available in mid-to-late Day 2, Green Bay could bring him in as competition for J.C. Tretter or as swing offensive line depth.
Ra'Shede Hageman, DE, Minnesota
An athletic monster, Hageman could be one of the steals of the draft. If he puts it all together, he could be a J.J. Watt-caliber NFL player. The issue is consistency. Is he consistent enough for Thompson to spend a second-rounder on?
Scott Crichton, OLB, Oregon State
Another athletic college defensive lineman, Crichton has played all over the defensive line. Against Oregon, he was a nose tackle, beating up on the top center in college football, but usually, he was a pass-rusher at Oregon State. He's a player Dom Capers could love because of his versatility.
Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Georgia Tech
Likely the best pass-rusher left on the board heading into Day 2, Attaochu might not even come close to the Packers' next pick. If he does, though, he could be a steal. Matching him up with Clay Matthews and Nick Perry would keep legs fresh at all times, without losing quality reps.
Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood
A tall, fast cornerback from a D-II school, Desir's body type is in the mold that Ted Thompson looks for. Thompson is known for disliking smaller cornerbacks, and you'll never be able to call 6'1" Desir that. Desir to Green Bay could be the long-term solution that it has been asking for at boundary corner.
What Are the Experts Saying?
Dane Brugler of CBSSports.com released his second-round mock late Thursday night, which has Green Bay taking Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Brugler writes, "A player Ted Thompson likely considered in the first round is here for them in the second round."
A solid pick by Brugler, some have speculated that Seferian-Jenkins could have been the pick at No. 21 before the draft kicked off. It fills an immediate need and is likely the pick if he's still there.
Other interesting options for the Packers in that situation are Marcus Martin, Jack Mewhort, Troy Niklas and Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
Marcus Martin was a guard at USC for two years before flipping to center in 2013 and declaring for the 2014 NFL draft. Jack Mewhort played tackle for Ohio State but was a center in high school. Both could be interior offensive linemen who swing inside and out but could also push J.C. Tretter for the starting center position.
Troy Niklas is a blocking tight end from Notre Dame who has some upside but is coming off double groin surgery.
Stanley Jean-Baptiste is the ideal Ted Thompson cornerback, athletically. He's very raw and not exactly young, but he's got all the measurables that you'd want. Lengthy and speedy, Seattle hit on Richard Sherman due to keying on those traits.
Green Bay Packers Predictions for Day 2
Green Bay Packers Will Trade Back
In the second round, the Green Bay Packers could try to maximize their draft value by punting the pick and picking up a another pick. The Packers did so as recently as 2013, when they traded back and eventually drafted Eddie Lacy in the second round. The same occurred later, when the Packers took starting left tackle David Bakhtiari.
Green Bay Packers Will Draft a Tight End
With no starting options on the roster, look for Ted Thompson to draft a pass-catching tight end in Day 2. Maybe he won't reach for a guy, but he may move into a position where he thinks he can find value in a tight end, potentially moving up for a prospect like Austin Seferian-Jenkins or moving back for C.J. Fiedorowicz.
Green Bay Packers Will Draft a Linebacker
With Brad Jones not living up to his potential, and the potential of his contract, the Packers could look at linebackers like Kyle Van Noy, Kevin Pierre-Louis or Jackson Jeffcoat in Day 2. All three athletic 'backers could play that WILB role next to the defensive fullback A.J. Hawk. With Hawk clearing up space for them, they could use closing speed and recognition to make the tackles Jones seems to be missing by misreading plays.
Green Bay Packers Will Trade Up
Ted Thompson isn't just about acquiring extra picks, although it doesn't hurt, but simply putting himself into a position where the players he wants to add to the team are the best players available. Sometimes that means moving down and punting the pick, while other times it means moving up. With three picks, one being an immovable compensatory pick, Ted Thompson has the ability to move up by packaging his second- and third-rounders, while still keeping one more top-100 selection.
Updated Green Bay Packers Mock Draft
Round 2, Pick No. 53: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
The large, fast University of Washington prospect is a match made in heaven for the Packers. A threat in the red zone, Seferian-Jenkins could soon hit potential on the level of someone like Rob Gronkowski.
Coming in as the day-one starter, Austin Seferian-Jenkins would be one of the most impactful skill players in the league as a rookie.
Round 3, Pick No. 85: Jackson Jeffcoat, OLB/ILB, Texas
A flex linebacker in the same mold of Brad Jones, Jeffcoat could be the steal of the draft. After peaking both early and late in his college career, the teams who have done their homework on the son of an NFL player would love to steal him late in Day 2.
Jeffcoat could push Brad Jones for a starting spot as an inside linebacker or join Clay Matthews and Nick Perry in the pass-rushing linebacker rotation.
Round 3, Pick No. 98: Vinnie Sunseri, SS, Alabama
A smart, speedy safety hampered by an injury, Sunseri could be the enforcer the defense has been looking for. When watching the Super Bowl, Kam Chancellor set the tone from the first snap and greatly impacted the game. Sunseri can be played in the same mold.
While likely not a day-one starter, Dom Capers does use three safety formations, and Vinnie Sunseri would likely be the best "Bat" to contribute there and on special teams.
Round 4, Pick No. 121: Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
The tall route-runner from Wisconsin would be a great fit for the Packers, who wouldn't have to look far for the prospect. The former quarterback figures to be an outside receiver, which would allow Randall Cobb to continue to thrive in the slot.
On day one, he'd push Jarrett Boykin for the outside job in three-wide receiver sets. At worst, he's a fourth receiver in his rookie season.
Round 5, Pick No. 161: Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
An early declaration, Smith is the type of quarterback Mike McCarthy would like to develop. As a passer, Smith makes good decisions, and as a runner, he'd be one of the best athletes at quarterback the day he gets drafted.
Round 5, Pick No. 176: Brandon Linder, OL, Miami
When looking for swing linemen, whom the Packers always take in these middle rounds, Linder sticks out. Experienced at both tackle and guard, some project him to be able to play center, too.
Linder could solidify the interior offensive line by becoming that swing lineman currently needed, due to the absence of Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Round 6, Pick No. 197: Beau Allen, NT, Wisconsin
Allen, like Abbrederis, is a homegrown prospect. With B.J. Raji's contract limited to the short term, Green Bay could take a shot at a nose tackle to develop for a year in the meantime. Allen is one of the best in that role in the late rounds.
Likely a second nose tackle on the roster, he may have to spend time on the practice squad in 2014, but by 2015, he should have made enough strides to make the roster, if not replace Raji.
Round 7, Pick No. 236: Nikita Whitlock, FB/ILB, Wake Forest
A college defensive tackle, Whitlock projects as a back, be it on offense or defense. Like Spencer Havner and Korey Hall in the past, the Packers could look at that flex linebacker, fullback, special teams contributor in the late rounds.
While he's not likely to be the starting fullback or inside linebacker in 2014, or even compete for those jobs, Whitlock's availability on special teams could be a factor for keeping him on the roster.