Green Bay Packers 7-Round Mock Draft 2013 (Pre-NFL Scouting Combine)
Part of the player evaluation process for the 2013 NFL Draft has already taken place.
The East-West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl have both been played. The NFL Scouting Combine will soon be upon us, and Pro Days will be utilized to evaluate players' draft stock for the scouts, coaches and general managers of each team.
This will be the first of several complete seven-round mock drafts that I will do for the Packers. In the last few years I've been able to pinpoint some of the players the Packers would select in a given draft.
I have correctly identified selections like B.J. Raji, Bryan Bulaga, Mike Neal, C.J.Wilson, Alex Green and Davon House, as well as Nick Perry and Casey Hayward last season, over the course of the past four drafts.
Also, in March, the NFL will award compensatory picks to teams. At this point, I would think the Packers will get at least one compensatory pick, perhaps two, as the Packers lost quarterback Matt Flynn, center Scott Wells and cornerback Pat Lee to free agency.
In addition, I believe Ted Thompson will continue to be aggressive in this year's draft, just like he was last year when he traded up three times. Those trades included two in the second round. One of those trade ups allowed the Packers to select Hayward, who had a great rookie year.
Having an additional compensatory pick or two helps, although a team cannot trade away those particular picks.
Based on what I have seen up to this point, I would believe the players I list in this mock draft would interest the Packers. Both from a talent standpoint and from a team needs perspective.
Round 1: Defensive End Margus Hunt (SMU)
Weight: 277 pounds
It should be noted, that the Green Bay Packers were one of a number of NFL teams that interviewed Margus Hunt at the Senior Bowl. Hunt not only has great size, but he is also quite an athlete with a background in track & field.
Hunt also has a frame that can add weight without losing any mobility.
Hunt had a solid senior year for Southern Methodist University, as he had 28 tackles, six sacks, one interception, two pass deflections and three blocked kicks in the regular season. Hunt followed that up with a great performance in the Hawaii Bowl against Fresno State with a sack for a safety and two forced fumbles in a 43-10 loss.
Hunt is still raw, but he just keeps improving. He has excellent speed for his size, an 82-inch wing span and was named to the 2012 All-Conference USA first team.
Hunt is sort of the modern day version of Ted Hendricks with his kick-blocking ability. He blocked 17 kicks in his career at SMU.
Hunt got better as the week wore on in drills for the North team at the Senior Bowl.
The Packers need someone with Hunt's height and athleticism at defensive end in their 3-4 scheme.
Hunt can bring a dynamic difference to the Packers defense, much like J.J. Watt has done with the Houston Texans. Why? His athletic prowess, not to mention his size.
Think of the 17 balls Watt batted down this year for the Texans to go along with his 20.5 sacks.
Hunt keeps moving up the draft boards (and the NFL Scouting Combine will only help). He's considered a guy who could be selected as early as the first round in most circles. Hunt definitely won't get past the second round.
Round 2: Wide Receiver Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech)
Weight: 202 pounds
Quinton Patton had a monster senior season for Louisiana Tech, as he caught 104 passes for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns.
This was after he had 79 receptions for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns in his junior year.
Patton was named to the 2012 All-WAC first team and the 2012 AP All-American second team.
Patton followed that up by having a great week at the Senior Bowl. When the ball was anywhere near him on a pass attempt, he always seemed to go get the ball and catch it at the practices, even with great coverage.
Patton can go get it over the middle on a crossing pattern or a slant, while being very effective on deep patterns as well.
With the retirement of Donald Driver, and with Greg Jennings most likely leaving via free agency, the Green Bay Packers need to address their depth at wide receiver.
Ted Thompson likes to go after wide receivers early in the draft, too. Thompson has selected four wide receivers (Terrance Murphy, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb) in the second round in the eight drafts he has presided over for the Packers. He also has drafted one wide receiver (James Jones) in the third round.
Patton looks to be drafted in the third round at this point, but could go as early as the second round after his performance at the Senior Bowl.
Round 3: Running Back Montee Ball (Wisconsin)
Weight: 215 pounds
Montee Ball finished his senior season strong, as he was named the Grange-Griffin Big Ten Championship Game MVP, rushing for 202 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska. Then in the Rose Bowl, Ball rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown.
Ball also won the Doak Walker Award (nation's top running back) in 2012, and was named first-team All-Big Ten at running back in 2012 (like he was in 2011). Ball was named Big Ten Running Back of the Year this season as well
Like in 2011, Ball was also named to the first-team Associated Press All-American team at running back.
In 2012, Ball rushed for 1,730 yards and 21 touchdowns.
In 2011, when Ball was a Heisman finalist, the Badger running back rushed for 1,923 yards, had 33 rushing touchdowns and added six receiving touchdowns.
Ball also holds the Division I FBS all-time touchdown record with 82 trips to the end zone. Ball also holds the all-time FBS mark with 76 rushing touchdowns.
Overall in his career, Ball has 5,040 yards rushing, plus 58 receptions for 591 more yards.
Ball would fit a need for Green Bay at running back, plus he would adapt to the offensive scheme of Mike McCarthy very well. The Packers need a back that will bring the safeties up near the line of scrimmage, as opposed to playing strictly deep, like they did in 2012.
Ball is a natural cut-back runner who hits the hole hard and knows how to find the end zone. He also has excellent vision to go along with a nice blend of speed and power. Ball is also a very good receiver and a good blocker.
Ball may be go as early as the second round, so Ted Thompson may have to trade up to get his services before the end of the third round.
Round 4: Offensive Lineman David Quessenberry (San Jose State)
Weight: 295 pounds
David Quessenberry was the first offensive lineman in San Jose State history to be selected to the Senior Bowl. He certainly played like he belonged in Mobile, Ala.
Quessenberry was a key member of the offensive line for a San Jose State team that finished 11-2 and won the Military Bowl.
Quessenberry was also named to the 2012 All-WAC first team (coaches).
Quessenberry stood out at the Senior Bowl for a couple of reasons. First, he performed very well for the North team in drills. Second, he did that at multiple positions, including center. He also excelled at guard and tackle.
The Green Bay Packers absolutely love versatile offensive linemen.
The Packers need quality depth across their offensive line, especially on the inside, as there is no backup center behind Evan Dietrich-Smith right now, with Jeff Saturday retiring.
Quessenberry can fill that role, plus play guard or tackle if need be.
Round 5: Inside Linebacker A.J. Klein (Iowa State)
Weight: 246 pounds
A.J. Klein had a good week in practice during the East-West Shrine game, as he showed his tackling prowess.
Klein was named to the All-Big 12 First Team (media), as he had a stellar senior season. Klein had 98 tackles, 2.5 tackles for a loss, one sack, one pass broken up and an interception for a touchdown.
As a junior, Klein had 116 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss, six passes broken up, two sacks and an interception.
Klein is an inside linebacker who is very aggressive attacking the line of scrimmage and plays hard until he hears the whistle.
He could help fill a void at inside linebacker, especially if A.J. Hawk is not brought back in 2013 (due to his salary). The Packers also lost two inside linebackers (Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith) to season-ending injuries last season. Brad Jones is also an unrestricted free agent.
Klein is originally from Kimberly, Wis.
Klein looks to be selected in either the fourth or fifth round.
Round 6: Kicker Caleb Sturgis (Florida)
Weight: 186 pounds
Caleb Sturgis had a very strong week of practice for the East-West Shrine game because of his booming leg. Sturgis didn't hurt his status in the game either, as he made both field-goal attempts, including one from 48 yards out that would have been good from 60 yards.
Sturgis was named to the 2012 All-American third team, as well as the 2012 All-SEC first team (by coaches and media).
In 2012, Sturgis was 24-of-28 on field-goal attempts (including the Sugar Bowl). In 2011, Sturgis made 22-of-26 kicks.
The Packers will need someone to push Mason Crosby in training camp in 2013, especially when considering the roller-coaster year Crosby had in 2012.
Sturgis has the leg strength and the accuracy to give Crosby a good battle in camp.
Sturgis probably won't last until the seventh round, so if Ted Thompson wants someone who can really compete with Crosby, he will most likely have to take the former Gator in the sixth round.
Round 7: Defensive Lineman William Campbell (Michigan)
Weight: 315 pounds
William Campbell was a highly-touted recruit for Michigan out of Detroit, but until his senior year, he hadn't done too much. Campbell was named to the 2012 All-Big Ten honorable mention squad.
Campbell opened some eyes at the East-West Shrine game practices, and he fills the need for a bigger body along the defensive line for the Packers. The Packers need taller and bigger players on the defensive line in their 3-4 scheme.
Still, because he is looked at as an underachiever, most scouts rate him with a sixth- or seventh-round grade. The Packers might select someone like Campbell and hope that defensive-line coach Mike Trgovac can light a fire under the former Wolverine and get him to play up to his potential.