2010 NFL Mock Draft: Seven Rounds with the Green Bay Packers
The Senior Bowl has come and gone and many players have seen their stock rise, while other players now will have a lot to prove during the NFL Combine this month.
With a few veterans aging at important positions and Ted Thompson's annual decision not to pursue any "filler" free agents, the NFL Draft will be the most important two days of the offseason for the Packers.
A few players have been linked to the Packers during the interview process at the Senior Bowl, Thompson has made a few comments on the type of players he would like to look for in the draft, and a few expiring contracts could also shake things up.
For now, this draft will not cover free agent signings, and none of the picks will be traded (I know, not very realistic). Both are too hard to predict, so all that will be mocked are the seven rounds.
*NOTE* The one assumption is that the Packers will receive a fifth round compensation pick for Seattle's Colin Cole. And no, Tim Tebow is not in it.
Round 1: Brandon Graham, OLB, Michigan
Chad Clifton, while not as fresh as he was five years ago, still has some gas left in the tank and should be brought back for at least another year.
Combined with the cream of the left tackle being off the board, Thompson sticks to his theory and goes with the best player available in the first round. It seems that Graham has become the "official unofficial pick" on the rumor mill, and that wouldn't be a bad thing.
The MVP of the Senior Bowl gets to the quarterback at will (28 career sacks in Ann Arbor) and has excellent intangibles to play opposite Clay Matthews at OLB.
Not gifted with overwhelming athleticism, Graham simply plays his game and wins the point of attack with brute strength and fundamentals.
The pick ends Aaron Kampman's career with the Green and Gold, and hopefully he is able to sign on for a team where he is able to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. Graham also bumps Brad Jones out of the starting lineup, as his productive season in 2009 could still use some fine tuning.
Round 2: Javier Arenas, CB, Alabama
While it's true Thompson likes his cornerbacks tall, what Arenas lacks in height he makes up for in fluid, man-to-man coverage that will be tough to pass on.
It's tough to tell whether or not Pat Lee is officially a bust due to injury, but he has not shown nearly enough to invest in the Packers' secondary if cornerback is not addressed.
Charles Woodson will maintain his level of play next season and Tramon Williams showed flashes of greatness at times, which he is sure to improve on in 2010.
If Al Harris comes back from his ACL injury, it will likely be in a nickel fashion (probably starting by the end of the season), but past that the Packers really have no one.
Arenas is a lockdown defender and, while height might be an issue when going up for the ball, his overall skills are good enough so that the opposing quarterback will have to have pinpoint accuracy to get one by Arenas.
He also returns kicks and punts, something the Packers have been looking for since Desmond Howard left.
Round Three: Selvish Capers, OT, West Virginia
With Clifton and potentially Mark Tauscher coming back next season, the Packers roll the dice with their current offensive line for one more season. In round three, they take a project and hopefully their future left tackle, Selvish Capers.
Once a tight end, Capers has the athleticism to excel in a zone blocking scheme but still needs to add a little more strength and get a mean streak to him.
A year or two sitting behind the veterans will do Capers wonders, and he falls into a perfect spot where he can really have the chance to excel.
If his pass blocking does not improve, he will stay at right tackle (where he played in college as the blind side protector for lefty Pat White), but some polishing could turn him into something special.
Round Four: Larry Asante, SS, Nebraska
The safety position is a tricky one for the Packers entering 2010. Nick Collins and Atari Bigsby should be back as restricted free agents, but past that the Packers are thin.
As was shown in the playoff loss to Arizona, Matt Giordano, and Derrick Martin are not answers (even as backups), and an upgrade is needed.
Enter Asante, one of the hardest hitting safeties and surest tacklers in the draft. Asante, along with top five pick Ndamukong Suh, was one of the main reasons Nebraska had such a talented defense last season that almost won them the Big XII Championship.
Asante will be a backup and a great special teamer with a chance to start in the future.
Round Five: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon
Thompson has admitted that he is looking for a speed back in this year's draft, and that is something the controversial Blount could bring to the table.
There aren't many Leon Washingtons in this year's draft that Thompson could wait this long for, but Blount has above-average speed and makes great cuts in the hole.
He seems to have turned things around since his altercation against Boise State and could be a real steal if teams are turned off by his character problems.
It's Thompson's way of doing things, and if he detects even one little problem with Blount's attitude, it will be a done deal. But the upside with Blount, once thought as a first-round running back, is huge.
Round Five (compensation): Marshall Newhouse, OG, TCU
Meet this year's T.J. Lang. Newhouse is a versatile offensive lineman who has the potential to play at either the guard position or tackle at the next level.
While Thompson usually likes his mid-round O-line from small schools, Newhouse has been a riser on draft boards for a while and is a perfect fit for the zone blocking scheme and could potentially wind up at right tackle.
Round Six: Chris Scott, OT, Tennessee
Scott was one of the better pass blockers in the SEC this past season and, while he is a big time project, he is worth taking a risk this late in the draft.
He is brought in for competition and hopefully can learn a thing or two underneath his fellow Volunteer Clifton.
Round Seven: Trindon Holliday, ATH, LSU
College football's fastest man and a former star athlete in track, Holliday could potentially give the Packers a new look in the Wildcat offense.
Many times, Holliday took hand-offs out of the shotgun formation and even saw some time at running back late in the season, despite wide receiver being his best option. He's a big unknown but, with his speed, could be worth a look late.
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