The Green Bay Packers' Biggest Needs in NFL Draft After Start of Free Agency

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIMarch 21, 2014

The Green Bay Packers' Biggest Needs in NFL Draft After Start of Free Agency

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    Safety is still a huge draft need for the Packers after the first few weeks of free agency.
    Safety is still a huge draft need for the Packers after the first few weeks of free agency.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Now that we're a handful of weeks into NFL free agency, the needs for the Green Bay Packers in the upcoming draft have become a little clearer.

    For example, the need for defensive linemen isn't quite as severe due to the signing of defensive end Julius Peppers and the re-signing of defensive tackle B.J. Raji. Now there's still a need for depth at the position, but it's no longer as big of a need as other positions.

    Today we're going to rank the biggest positional needs for the Packers after the start of free agency and highlight an ideal player at each position.

5. Defensive Line

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    The Green Bay Packers still have a need along the defensive line despite B.J. Raji and Julius Peppers now on the roster. And the need for a defensive tackle or a defensive end is really quite equal.

    With Raji and Peppers likely taking up starting spots, the Packers don't necessarily need a starting-caliber lineman. Instead, they can take a player with an extremely high ceiling who may take a little time to develop.

    One player who fits that outline is defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman from Minnesota. Hageman is an extremely athletic player who has the potential to be disruptive to opposing offenses every time he steps on the field.

    However, there are also concerns about Hageman's drive and his ability to be an every-down player his first year in the league. By drafting Hageman and sitting him behind Raji for a year, the Packers could harness the most potential as possible out of Hageman.

4. Center

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    With center Evan Dietrich-Smith now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, center has now officially become a draft need for the Green Bay Packers. The problem for Green Bay is that there are only a handful of prospects who'd be ready to start right away.

    So, the Packers are ultimately going to need to spend an early-round pick in order to fill this need, which isn't ideal. However, if they wanted to wait an extra round they could draft Arkansas' Travis Swanson in the third or fourth round.

    Swanson isn't the most athletic center or overly powerful, but he's smart and has plenty of experience starting in a top college conference. He'd provide decent production in both the ground and passing game for the Packers.

    Unless the Packers find a center in free agency, don't be surprised to see them draft a player like Swanson in May.

3. Inside Linebacker

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    The inside linebacker position is one of the most interesting positions on the roster for the Green Bay Packers. While starters A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones have both been productive in past seasons, it'd be fairly easy for the Packers to upgrade either starter in this year's draft.

    What the Packers ultimately need at inside linebacker is a more complete and athletic player. Someone like C.J. Mosley from Alabama would be an ideal player to have playing across from Hawk or Jones.

    Mosley is the most complete linebacker available in the draft. He has the ability to make an impact in nearly every aspect of the game, and he'd instantly be one of the better defenders for Green Bay from day one.

    The biggest issue with getting a player like Mosley is that he's going to need to be drafted in the first round. However, if there aren't players who play a position of bigger need who aren't worth a first-round pick, then Mosley would be a fantastic pick.

2. Tight End

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    This may seem a little too high of a ranking for a position that currently has four players already on the roster, but the reality is that the Green Bay Packers still have a big need at tight end.

    The reason for this is because neither Andrew Quarless or Brandon Bostick, or any other tight end on the roster for that matter, is a true No. 1 tight end. They have the ability to be complementary players, but none will set the league on fire.

    That's why the Packers need to draft a tight end, and that's why a player like Jace Amaro from Texas Tech would be an ideal player. He's got fantastic hands, great athleticism and the potential be a huge weapon for the Packers offense.

    With Amaro joining the likes of wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, the Packers would have one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.

1. Safety

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    This should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone. After failing to bring in a safety in free agency, the Green Bay Packers' biggest need heading into the draft remains at safety.

    And the ideal player for the Packers remains Alabama's Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix. He's got every trait that Green Bay needs in a safety and should be atop its draft board heading into the NFL draft.

    What makes Clinton-Dix such a great prospect for the Packers is his instincts and playmaking abilities. He'd add an aggressiveness to the secondary that the team greatly lacked last year.

    While the Packers certainly have other needs on the roster, none even comes close to adding a starting-caliber safety in this year's draft.


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