Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Mock Draft: Full 7-Round Predictions
The process for evaluating the players for the 2012 NFL Draft is moving along. We have seen players compete in the East-West Shrine game, as well as last weekend's Senior Bowl. We still have the NFL Scouting Combine and the Pro Day workouts for each player to improve their status in the draft.
The Green Bay Packers have all seven selections in the draft as of this moment, but that will improve as we move closer to the draft, which will start on April 26th and continue through April 28th. In March, the NFL will announce the compensatory picks that will be awarded to teams for the draft.
It is expected that the Packers will get at least a couple of compensatory picks, as the Packers had a number of players leave the team in free agency in 2011, most notably DE Cullen Jenkins.
The Packers are also going to try to receive compensation for QB Matt Flynn this year, but either using the franchise tag and then trading Flynn, or by using a sign-and-trade scenario without using the franchise tag.
The Packers are hoping to get a late first-round pick or an early second-round pick for Flynn. If the Packers can't swing a trade, then Flynn would simply leave the team as an unrestricted free agent and the Packers would not receive compensation until the 2013 NFL draft in the form of a compensatory pick.
In this mock draft, I'm going to just use the seven selections that the Packers currently have. I will use the additional picks that the Packers will receive in later mock drafts. I'm guessing that the Packers may have as many as 10 or more picks when the draft is held in late April.
Ted Thompson needs to have a big draft early, like he did in 2009, when he was surprisingly aggressive and drafted B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews in the first-round.
Thompson was named the Executive of the Year by the Sporting News earlier this week. This is the second time in five years he has won the award, the last one coming in 2007.
1st Round: OLB Vinny Curry (Marshall)
Weight: 265 pounds
40 Time: 4.66 seconds
Curry was named 2011 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and also received second team All-America Honors from CBSSports.com.
Curry was also a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given annually to college football's best defensive end.
Curry played DE in college, but he projects to be an OLB in a 3-4 defensive scheme, which the Packers use.
Curry was ranked second nationally with 21.5 tackles for loss. He was also tied for second nationally with six forced fumbles, and tied for fifth with 11 sacks.
He had 72 tackles in 2011, one fumble recovery, three blocked extra points and one tackle for a safety. Curry also played very well in the 2012 Senior Bowl, recording a strip-sack. Curry is moving up the draft boards after his performance in the game.
The Packers need help with their pass rush, as the team finished tied for 27th in the NFL with just 29 sacks. Curry would be a nice bookend to LOLB Clay Matthews.
2nd Round: DE Billy Winn (Boise State)
Weight: 295 pounds
40 Time: 4.90 seconds
Winn was a second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection in 2011. He finished with 34 tackles, eight tackles for loss and three sacks, including two against Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl.
Winn also had a very solid game in the Senior Bowl.
In his career at Boise State, Winn had 133 total tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss and 16 sacks.
Winn is very good against the run and has flashed ability to also rush the passer.
The Packers have to improve the quality of depth on their defensive line. The unit only contributed six sacks for the season in 2011, and also seemed to wear down vs. the run.
The Packers hope to see DE Mike Neal completely healthy and productive in 2012, but the team cannot assume that Neal will be either, based on his first two years in the NFL.
3rd Round: C David Molk (Michigan)
Weight: 288 pounds
40 Time: 4.99 seconds
Molk was first team All-Big Ten and also the Rimington Trophy as the best center in the nation.
Molk had an excellent career at Michigan. He is quick, agile and moves to the second level with ease. He is a bit undersized, but so was Scott Wells when he was drafted out of Tennessee in 2004.
Molk is a perfect center for the zone-blocking scheme. He has the ability to pull in the run game.
The Packers need quality depth at C. They hope to extend Wells' contract, who had another fine campaign in 2011 and made the Pro Bowl. Wells is the fiery leader of the offensive line for the Packers, though he also just turned 31-years-old a few weeks ago.
4th Round: S Aaron Henry (Wisconsin)
Weight: 205 pounds
40 Time: 4.48 seconds
Henry was first team All-Big Ten at safety. He had 66 total tackles, with three tackles for a loss and had four interceptions, including one in the 2012 Rose Bowl.
Henry is a solid run defender who also has shown nice instincts in tracking the football through the air. In 2010, Henry's first year as a starter, he had 58 tackles, broke up seven passes and had two picks, both of which were returned for TDs.
Henry has played solidly for the Badgers in big games in 2011 and is developing nicely at the safety position, after starting off his career at Wisconsin as a cornerback.
Henry will add quality depth at the safety position for the Packers. They expect a status report on All-Pro safety Nick Collins in March on whether or not he can continue his NFL career. Charlie Peprah filled in for Collins for most of the 2011 and had five interceptions, but was a liability in coverage more often than not.
5th Round: CB Isaiah Frey (Nevada)
Weight: 190 pounds
40 Time: 4.45 seconds
Frey was first team All-WAC. Frey had five interceptions and broke up 16 passes. Nevada's pass defense improved greatly 2011, and Frey was a big reason why.
Frey has nice size for a CB and has some nice upside, as he is developing nicely. He would play on special teams to begin, but with proper coaching, could turn into a solid CB in the NFL.
The Packers need to get more quality depth in the secondary. CB Charles Woodson had another Pro Bowl season in 2011, but he may need to move to safety at some point as he gets older. CB Tramon Williams definitely had a down year compared to his Pro Bowl year in 2010.
CB Sam Shields started slowly in 2011, but improved as the year went on. CB Pat Lee may be running out of time to continue his career in Green Bay. Lee is solid on special teams, but has not shown the skills to be an elite CB in the NFL, at least not very often.
The Packers are high on the upside of CB Davon House, who was drafted in the 4th round in the 2011 NFL draft.
Most of the problems in the Green Bay secondary can be traced to a lack of pass pressure. Even with that, the Packers led the NFL with 31 interceptions.
6th Round: QB G.J. Kinne (Tulsa)
Weight: 215 pounds
40 Time: 4.63 seconds
Kinne was second team All-Conference USA at QB, after being Conference USA Player of the Year in 2010.
He threw 28 TD passes against 12 picks for 3,090 yards in 2011. He also completed 63 percent of his passes.
Kinne has decent mobility and has gotten better with his accuracy, especially when he is on the move. He also stands strong in the pocket and is one tough hombre when it comes to taking hits.
He can make all the throws and also has developed a nice touch, especially on deep passes.
The Packers will lose Matt Flynn in the near future, either to free agency or a trade in the near future, and right now would only have Graham Harrell and newly signed AFL QB Nick Hill to back up Aaron Rodgers.
7th Round: RB Brandon Bolden (Mississippi)
Weight: 220 pounds
40 Time: 4.55 seconds
Bolden had some injury issues his senior year, but his overall production at Ole Miss was very strong. In 2011, Bolden rushed for 472 yards and four TDs. However, in 2010, Bolden ran for 976 yards and and 14 TDs and had a 6.0 yard rushing average.
Bolden also caught 32 passes in 2010 and has excellent hands, which is a necessary attribute for a RB in the Green Bay offense.
Bolden has very nice size and can also run with power. He has shown excellent agility in the open field as he often leaped over a tackler to gain more yardage.
James Starks looks to be the starting back in Green Bay next season; the Packers may allow free agent Ryan Grant to walk and Alex Green, the 3rd round pick from 2011, is trying to come back from a serious knee injury that put him on injured reserve.
The Packers have Brandon Saine as an option at RB too, as he played decently when he was promoted to the roster from the practice squad after the injury to Green. Like Green, Saine was a rookie in 2011, albeit an undrafted one.