McCarthy's Wish List: A 7-Round Best Case Scenario Packers Mock Draft
The Green Bay Packers are the best team the NFL has to offer. They have weapons galore on offense, as well as a great defense, with the best defensive coordinator in the league leading the way.
This team seems to be skilled and deep at almost every position and has star players all over the field. However, it's no easy task for any team to pave a path to the Superbowl, and if the Packers want to be back in the biggest game in sports next year, they will have to add even more talent to their already stacked team.
The champs have positions where they could improve, and if they are able to get quality players in the draft to fill these holes, the Packers present and future could be filled with Lombardi Trophies.
If the Packers are able to land these dream draft picks late in each round, success for the Packers in the future would be almost guaranteed.
First Round—Colorado LT Nate Solder
Solder against Oklahoma
Weight: 314 Pounds
With Chad Clifton's career slowly coming to a close, the Packers have no real replacement for him at the moment. When Clifton's knees give out or he decides to retire, the Packers will desperately need someone to step in and make sure there is stability on the line.
This team can't afford another season like 2009, where the Packers let up the most sacks in the NFL. They need to keep their best player and leader, Aaron Rodgers, off the ground and throwing touchdown passes for years to come if they want to continue this Super Bowl success.
That's where Solder comes in, being one of the best all-around blocking tackles in the draft.
He was outstanding in his tenure at Colorado. He started almost every game in three years and dominated in the run game especially.
To go along with his already molded run blocking ability, Solder's athleticism for his size is outstanding. He runs about a 4.8 40 time, despite being one of the tallest players in the draft.
Although the chance is slight, if the Packers are able to land a player like Solder this late in the draft, he and Brian Bulaga would be the cornerstones for the Packers line for years to come. Solder would have a chance to harness his skills for a year behind Clifton as well, making him a perfect for the Packers (and really any team).
Second Round—Villanova OG/OT Ben Ijalana
Ijalana lined up at LT
Weight: 320 Pounds
Even if the Packers do get a player like Solder with their first pick, a talent like Ijalana cannot be passed up on this late in the draft. While not the draft's quickest player, Ijalana has good size and can play interior line or at tackle.
The Packers love versatility in their lineman, and they would certainty be getting that with Ijalana.
Even though his footwork and technique are both developing, he would have time to work on those skills in a year behind Chad Clifton or Daryn Colledge. This pick would be based on mostly upside, but the Packers are able to develop him like they have with many players in the past, Ijalana could turn into a great, versatile lineman for the Packers.
(Ijalana is lined up at LT in the video)
Third Round—Iowa DE Christian Ballard
Ballard against Wisconson
Weight: 290 Pounds
Ballard has good size for a 3-4 defensive end, which will be one of the Packers' biggest positions of need next season. With Cullen Jenkins entering free agency and Johnny Jolly's future in question, the Packers could have a problem with that position in 2011. However, if Ballard falls to their spot in the third round, the Packers will have themselves a capable player who can start right away at end, without Jenkins and Jolly in the mix.
Ballard's similarity to Jenkins shows up consistently in his play, being a big man who can rush the passer and stop the run effectively. Ballard has the ability to be not just a block eater, but an impact rusher over time thanks to his mixture of quickness and size.
The versatility provided by Ballard makes him a steal this late in the third round, and he would be able to compete and likely win the starting defensive end job (assuming neither Jolly or Jenkins are wearing green and gold next year). While it would surprise me if Ballard fell this far, this would definitly be a best case scenario pick for the Packers.
Fourth Round—Boise State WR Titus Young
Young vs. Fresno State
Weight: 174 Pounds
With the future of WR James Jones in question, the Packers may need to get another offensive weapon through the draft. If Young falls this late to the Packers in the fourth round, there should be no question among the Packers front office to take him.
While size is a question of Titus, his speed and burst of the line makes him a valuable weapon both underneath and on deep routes. Young was a part of one of college football's best passing attacks last year at Boise State, where he caught 71 balls for 1215 yards and nine touchdowns.
Not only does Young provide a solid option at receiver, but he is one of the elite kick returners in this draft. The Packers so desperately need some explosiveness and experience at the kick returner spot, making Young an almost perfect pick for them. However, this is probably the biggest stretch of the seven rounds, being that Young would need to free fall from a second-round draft projection to late in the fourth round.
Fourth Round (Proj. Supplementory Pick)—Virginia Tech CB Rashad Carmichael
Carmichael's junior season
Weight: 185 Pounds
With Charles Woodson aging, the Packers will soon need another corner who can cover with Sam Shields and Tramon Williams. While Corner isn't their biggest need, the Packers would have to be fools to pass up on Carmichael this late in the fourth round.
While it is a stretch he falls here, stranger things have happened, and the Packers would be getting a quality player if it did.
With 4.3 speed and outstanding athleticism, there is no question Carmichael has what it takes to be an NFL corner. He has good ball skills and while his size could be an issue in the Packers bump and run style coverage, his talent this late in the draft still makes him a great value.
Carmichael also had a great deal of success at Virginia Tech, picking 10 passes and recording 95 tackles in his last two years.
While Carmichael may not be the perfect fit for the Packers style of defense, if he bulks up a bit, Green Bay could have themselves a gem at this spot.
Fifth Round—Mississippi State OLB K.J. Wright
KJ Wright #34
Weight: 246 Pounds
I believe Ted Thompson still has faith in Brad Jones, Frank Zombo and Erik Walden to hold down the OLB position opposite Clay Matthews, but adding a talent like Wright to somewhat a position of need would be a great opportunity for the Pack.
Wright has good size and athleticism for a outside linebacker and had a lot of success in the SEC with Mississippi State. He recorded 98 tackles and eight for a loss in his senior year with the Bulldogs, using his size and motor to make plays all over the field.
Most importantly, however, Wright never missed a game in four years at Mississippi State. He could provide some stability for the Packers after having five OLBs go down in the last two years.
At the very least, Wright would be able to compete for a starting position for the Packers this year, and could be a solid player down the road for them. Wright would be great value here in the fifth round.
Sixth Round—West Virgina RB Noel Divine
Weight: 160 Pounds
While Devine is far too small to be an every down NFL back, the Packers don't need a player like that right now. James Starks and Ryan Grant are both effective runners who can carry the load for a team, but with Brandon Jackson not likely to return in free agency, the Packers will need to find a scat back to replace him.
Devine can be that kind of back for the Packers, being a great receiver and a solid blocker as well. He can provide an elusive pass catcher out of the backfield on third downs, and a player with the potential for a big play any time he gets the ball.
Devine caught 98 passes in his time as a Mountaineer and had multiple runs of 50 yards or more. While Noel can't be a three down back for any team, he fits the Packers' needs perfectly. If Devine falls to the Packers in the sixth round, it will be a steal given his explosive pass-catching and kick-returning ability.
Seventh Round—Oregon State OC Alex Linnenkohl
Sorry, No video on Linnenkohl- Look for Center #60
Weight: 303 Pounds
With Scott Wells coming up on 31 years old, the Packers could use a young center to polish and have in case of injury. While not someone who will dominate, Linnenkohl provides a solid push in the run game and could be the Packers center of the future here in the seventh round.
Linnenkohl works hard and gets good push off the line and can play either center or guard (as I said before, the Pack love those versatile lineman). This kid would provide much needed depth to the interior of the Packers line, and someday could be starter for this squad.
Alex could be the next Scott Wells (also a seventh-round pick) and would be great value this late in the draft.