2011 NFL Draft: Best Case Scenarios for the Green Bay Packers
Just four days away from the 2011 NFL draft, and teams are pretty set in their draft boards.
The Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers find themselves picking last this year, and who Ted Thompson will pick is as big a mystery as ever.
Having won the Super Bowl and having lot's of players coming back from injury, Thompson will be all the more likely to stick to his BPA approach, making it hard to predict who will be available.
Much like Bryan Bulaga int he 2010 draft, Thompson will be pouncing on guys who for various reasons happen to slip past their expected draft range into the Packers' hands.
Here's who Ted would love to see fall into his lap.
Round 1, Pick 32: Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin
Carimi looks to be taken off the board in the mid-20s, so having him slip to 32 would be a dream scenario for the Pack.
They would get to keep him in-state, and his addition would allow the Packers to slide 2010 No. 1 pick Bryan Bulaga over to his more natural LT spot, while Carimi takes over at RT.
While Chad Clifton was selected to the Pro Bowl last year, he's still injury-prone and aging, and selecting Carimi would solidify the OT spots for the next decade.
Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State: With Cullen Jenkins all but gone and Johnny Jolly in legal trouble again, the Pack could use some more bodies along the defensive line.
Heyward has the bloodlines, the production, and the skill set to become an immediate contributor at DE.
Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona: With a 10-yard split just .05 seconds slower than Clay Matthews, Reed has the athleticism to stand up and upgrade the talent level at the OLB across from the Packers All-Pro pass rusher.
Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland: If the Packers don't think they'll be able to convince James Jones to stay, they could be targeting a WR early in the draft.
Smith has elite speed to stretch the defense, and brings an extra dimension as a great kick/punt returner.
Round 2, Pick 64: Ras-I Dowling, CB, Virginia
Dowling is looking to go off the board in the mid-second round, but injury concerns could push him back to the 64th pick.
If this happens, expect Ted Thompson to jump all over the opportunity to grab the big, athletic corner.
With Charles Woodson getting up in years and Tramon Williams and Sam Shields both measuring in at less that 5'11", Dowling's 6'2, 210-lb frame would be a welcome addition in the Packer secondary.
He also has the elite straight-line speed to keep up with faster receivers, and could play safety in a pinch.
Kendrick Ellis, DT/DE, Hampton: Ted loves going after small-school guys, so this wouldn't be out of character. Ellis has elite athleticism for a guy who's 6'5", 346 lbs.
He would add depth to the NT position so that star NT BJ Raji wouldn't have to play every down, and would also be involved in the DE rotation, especially on running downs.
Curtis Brown, CB, Texas: If the Packers think they need a corner early in the draft, Brown could be the pick here. He was overshadowed by Aaron Williams in college, but has the size and athleticism to be a starting corner in the NFL.
Titus Young, WR, Boise State: Same deal as the Torrey Smith possibility, Young is being hailed as the possible second coming of DeSean Jackson. He would add elite field-stretching speed and game-breaking return ability to the Packers.
Round 3, Pick 96: Bruce Carter, OLB, North Carolina
Bruce Carter is an elite athlete who, like Ras-I Dowling, will fall because of injury concerns.
But given time to heal from his torn ACL, Carter could end up being a steal at the end of the third round.
He would add a pass-rushing element across from Clay Matthews, but also can drop back in coverage and is good in pursuit against the run.
Shane Vereen, RB, California: I'm a huge fan of Vereen and actually almost put him as the best case scenario. He would allow the Packers to put an end to the Brandon Jackson project, as he's the consummate third-down back.
Vereen has good hands and quickness to catch passes. He put up 31 reps in the bench press at the Combine, and although his blocking technique could use some refinement, he would be a good pass-protector.
He comes from a long line of successful Golden Bear running backs and although he doesn't have the straight-line speed of first-round pick Jahvid Best, he has elite quickness, deceptive power, and a nose for the end zone (30 TDs in past two years)
Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado: Brown was overshadowed by possible first rounder Jimmy Smith for the Buffaloes this year, but could end up being the better pro due to intangibles. Brown was a team captain, has good size at 6'1", 210, and was an All-Big 12 performer.
Round 4, Pick 129: John Moffitt, OG, Wisconsin
John Moffitt would be another great pick if he fell to the end of the 4th round. He's a durable player, having started 42 games at LG in his Badger career.
He was a First Team All-American selection this year, as well as consensus First-Team All-Big Ten. He's got the quickness to play as a pulling guard on running plays, and has the versatility to play some center.
Cortez Allen, CB, The Citadel: Ted loves his DBs from smaller schools (Nick Collins, Tramon Williams), so Allen is right down his alley. Allen has good enough speed (4.5 40-yard dash) and above-average size (6'1", 197lbs).
He's a bit raw, having only played one year of high school football, but has the physical tools to be a steal, and has exceptional intangibles, having attended a millitary school.
Greg Romeus, DE, Pittsburgh: a preseason pick to go in the first round, Romeus has always had the physical ability, but his production has gone down each of the past two years after breaking out for 15.5 TFL and 7.5 sacks his sophomore year.
A former basketball player, Romeus has the athletic ability to play standing up, and the change could help him fulfill his massive potential.
Kelvin Sheppard, ILB, LSU: If the Packers decide that they've gotten too expensive at the ILB position, (AJ Hawk, Desmond Bishop, Nick Barnett, and Brandon Chillar are all payed starter money), the Pack could elect to trade or cut one of them and groom a cheaper option. Sheppard was a productive LB in college and has the athleticism to be a potential three-down LB in the NFL.
Ian Williams, NT, Notre Dame: If the Packers don't go with Kendrick Ellis early, they'll need to beef up the defensive line. Williams is a guy who can backup Raji at the nose, and also be a part of the rotation at DE.
Round 4, Pick 131: Curtis Marsh, CB, Utah State
Marsh is another small-school corner who made a name for himself at the Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, measured in at 6'1", 197 lbs, and showed well in positional drills.
His lack of competition in the WAC is concerning, but he played well against Boise State when matched up with Titus Young and Austin Pettis.
He will need some time to develop and acclimate to the NFL game, but could develop into a good starting corner down the road.
Any of the picks listed on the last slide.
Round 5, Pick 163: Cecil Shorts III, WR, Mt Union
It wouldn't take much of a fall for Shorts to land at the Packers fifth round pick, but he's such a perfect fit that Ted would love to have him even if there were better players on the board.
Shorts' skill set is the perfect replacement for Donald Driver, who won't be playing forever.
Shorts would see time as a punt returner and in 4 and 5-WR sets while he learns the nuances of the position from Driver before taking over for him in the future.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, Troy: Another receiving option, Kerley has the ideal slot-receiver skill set.
Brandon Bair, DE, Oregon: a 6'6", 276-lb, monster, Bair would be a good late-round addition to the defensive line. He would likely have to bulk up a little more, but he would provide good value and an immediate contribution.
Lawrence Guy, DT/DE, Arizona State: an alternative to Bair, is more athletic but didn't have the production to make him a high pick.
Chykie Brown, CB, Texas: The least-known corner out of the Longhorn secondary this year, Chykie Brown has physical tools that have scouts salivating, with sub 4.4 speed and a 39-inch vertical, but it's concerning that he was only the third corner on the depth chart as a redshirt senior.
He has some technique issues, such as being too upright in his backpedal, but that can be adjusted and his physical tools by themselves may be too much to pass up in the 5th round.
Round 6, Pick 197: Dion Lewis, RB, Pittsburgh
Scouts are questioning Lewis' decision to leave early after a disappointing sophomore year in which he failed to follow up on a spectacular freshman campaign.
Lewis received just a 5-6 round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee, yet chose to declare anyway. If the Packers can grab him this late, he'd be a steal.
Lewis ran a 4.47 at his pro day, with a lightning-quick 1.51 10-yard split. His small, compact body (5'7", 197 lbs) allows him to sneak through holes, but he still runs with good power for a little guy.
Chris Rucker, CB, Michigan State: Rucker is a mid-round talent who could slip due to character issues. Like all the other corners I've listed, Rucker has good size at 6'1", 195 lbs.
Neither his speed nor strength is exceptional, but his technique is as refined as you'll find in a corner this late in the draft.
Graig Cooper, RB, Miami: Cooper could end up being the steal of the draft. He was being looked at as a possible second round pick before his senior season, he tore his ACL in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl and only carried the ball 35 times last season.
The talent is there, and as a 6th round pick, you couldn't ask for more potential.
Mark Herzlich, LB, Boston College: By now everyone has heard Herzlich's incredible story as he fought back from being diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
While his production never reached his 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year form, Herzlich is a high-motor, high-character guy who would be a great pick in the later rounds.
Round 7, Pick 204: David Carter, DT/DE, UCLA
Carter was a Combine snub whose stock fell without Combine numbers.
However, this could just mean another seventh round DE find for the Packers, following in the footsteps of 2010 pick CJ Wilson, who made major contributions in his rookie year.
Carter measures in at 6'4" and just a hair under 300 lbs, but shows good athleticism with a sub 5.00-40 yard dash. Packers representatives were at his UCLA Pro Day.
Jeremy Beal, DE/OLB, Oklahoma: Perhaps no prospect's stock have taken a worse fall due to the Combine than Beal.
Beal proved to be much slower than anticipated(5.14 40-yard dash), and scouts are worried that his college production may have been the result of just a lack of quality lineman. However, the All-Big 12 performer would definitely be worth a look this late in the draft.
Kendric Burney, CB, North Carolina: Burney's an extremely talented corner who will fall to the late rounds due to his small stature (5'9", 181 lbs).
He was expected to make up for his physical limitations with great athletic testing, but ran a 4.65 40-yard dash and recorded only a 30' vertical. However, his college production, like Beal's, make him worthy of a 7th round flier.
Aldrick Robinson, WR, SMU: Robinson has the speed and return ability to immediately contribute in special teams while he gets used to the NFL game. His small size (5'10", 182 lbs) will likely keep him from becoming a starter, but he could make a solid career in the slot and return game.
Ryan Taylor, FB/TE, North Carolina: Taylor was a high school TE who caught 118 passes for 25 TDs his final two years in college before going to a North Carolina team that didn't utilize its TEs in the passing game.
Taylor is highly athletic, turning down a lacrosse scholarship from Duke to play football for the Tar Heels. He was the first player in recent Tar Heel history to play offense (TE), defense (LB), and special teams in the same game, and set North Carolina's single-season TE receptions record this past year.
May never become a starter, especially at a loaded TE position, but would be a great contributor at special teams and versatile player on the depth chart.
Round 7, Pick 233: Scott Tolzien, QB, Wisconsin
Tolzien comes from a pro-style offense that was very running-oriented in college, but showed glimpses of ability that could make him a serviceable pro.
Under Mike McCarthy, he could develop into a solid backup and thus make Matt Flynn expendable.
Any prospects from the previous slide.