Green Bay Packers' Mock Draft Roundup
With the 2014 NFL draft only a little over a week away, it's hard to not be constantly bombarded by mock drafts. While it can certainly be overwhelming at times, it is also enjoyable to see who all the "experts" believe a team like the Green Bay Packers will select.
What makes predicting who the Packers will pick so intriguing is that nearly everyone you speak to has a different opinion on who they should select. Some believe that Green Bay has to draft a safety in the first round or the draft will be a bust. Others believe that the only way the Packers will be successful is if they draft the best player available, no matter the position.
Because I'm going to round up the top mock drafts from around the web, that's what ultimately makes this article so enjoyable. I'll look at Packers' mock drafts from ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay (subscription required), CBS Sports' Dane Brugler and Bleacher Report's Matt Miller.
Since the only expert to make picks after the second round is Miller, I'll also throw in the picks that I think the Packers should make in each of the seven rounds. Let's take a look at the Packers' mock draft roundup.
Kiper Jr: Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State
McShay: Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville
Brugler: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Miller: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
Stein: C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama
If there is one thing that most can agree on with the Packers' first-round pick, it's that they're likely to address the defensive side of the ball. The only way that Green Bay will select an offensive player in Round 1 is if he's an elite talent like UNC tight end Eric Ebron.
The most popular position for the Packers to draft here is safety. This shouldn't come as a surprise due to the major need in the secondary. While Ward is a fine player, if Pryor is available at No. 21 he'd have to be selected.
Pryor's physicality and ball skills will likely push him up draft boards, making it unlikely he'll be available when Green Bay selects. As for Ward, drafting him in the first round seems like a stretch.
The second-most popular pick for Green Bay is a linebacker, specifically an inside linebacker. If the Packers were to select Shazier, they'd move him to play inside on their 3-4 defense. There would be plenty of risk in doing this simply due to Shazier's lack of experience playing inside linebacker.
What pick ultimately makes the most sense for Green Bay is Mosley. He's a three-down linebacker who can start from Day 1 and make an impact in all facets of the game. His presence on defense would be a huge boost to a unit that struggled mightily last year.
While everyone has his or her favorite defensive player for Green Bay to draft, any of the above players would be much welcomed on the Packers defense should they get drafted.
Kiper Jr: Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
Brugler: Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
Miller: Marcus Martin, OL, USC
Stein: Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
This is where we really start to get a wide variety of picks in mock drafts.
Kiper Jr.'s pick of Amaro would be ideal, but it's really quite hard imagining the Texas Tech tight end still available that late in the second round. His ability to make big plays after the catch could get him drafted late in the first round.
The most surprising pick above is Martin. Sure, the Packers need a center with Evan Dietrich-Smith now in Tampa Bay, but a second-round pick on a center seems quite unlikely. While Martin is plenty talented, Green Bay simply doesn't value interior offensive linemen that highly.
That leaves either Latimer or Bucannon as the most likely second-round pick for the Packers. If the Packers went with a safety in the first round, then it'd be possible they'd go with a receiver in the second round. This is particularly true if a receiver as talented as Latimer was available.
Don't be surprised if the Packers shock some people with this pick, especially if an extremely talented player takes a dive on draft day.
Miller: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Stein: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
The one thing that both Miller and myself have in common here is the Packers drafting an offensive player with the first of their two third-round picks.
Matthews actually makes some sense with this pick. For starters, he's an extremely similar player to James Jones, who is now a member of the Oakland Raiders. Furthermore, the Packers could use a polished rookie receiver to step in as the No. 3 or No. 4 receiver on the depth chart.
As for Fiedorowicz, he'd also be able to contribute in Year 1 as an all-around tight end. While he may not be more talented than Andrew Quarless or Brandon Bostick, he would add some much-needed depth and talent to the roster.
With Green Bay having needs on the offensive side of the ball, this would be a good time in the draft to start addressing those needs.
3rd Round (Compensatory Pick)
Miller: Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
Stein: Kenny Ladler, S, Vanderbilt
The Packers have an opportunity to really be aggressive with their compensatory pick in the third round. Since it's basically a free pick, they can take a player with a huge amount of upside at a position of need.
Both Lynch and Ladler fit that description. They both have the potential to be extremely productive players, but it will take the right system and some time for that to happen.
Lynch is a surprisingly athletic tight end with solid hands. While he won't blow people away with his speed, he knows how to get open by finding soft spots in coverage.
As for Ladler, he's an aggressive safety who has a knack for making plays in the secondary. He'll need a little time to smooth out the roughness to his game, but there is plenty of upside with him.
Depending how the rest of the draft has played out, either Lynch or Ladler would be welcomed selections with this third-round pick.
Miller: Lamin Barrow, LB, LSU
Stein: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
The selection of Barrow in the fourth round is an interesting one. He's not a name you usually hear attached to the Packers, but the pick would make a certain amount of sense.
Barrow is a raw prospect right now, but he's an extremely impressive athlete. It's likely that he'll need a few years to develop his skills before he's ready to contribute. That could work perfectly for Green Bay as it'd have him sit behind A.J. Hawk until he's ready to start.
Personally, I see the Packers going with a receiver like Coleman with this pick. Coleman is another raw prospect, but at 6'6" he has an incredible amount of size to work with. He could potentially become the Packers' red-zone target that they'll miss without tight end Jermichael Finley on the roster.
Much like the last pick we looked at, both Barrow and Coleman have high upsides. If they fully develop their natural talents, both players would be absolute steals at this point in the draft.
Miller: Russell Bodine, OL, North Carolina
Stein: Deandre Coleman, DL, California
Miller had the Packers selecting an offensive lineman in the second round and has them drafting another one in the fifth round. If there's one position that it's hard to imagine the Packers doubling down on in this year's draft, it's the offensive line.
With Bryan Bulaga returning from injury, the Packers simply don't have a need to spend numerous picks on offensive linemen. While Bodine has good quickness and strength, it's hard imagining him beating out either T.J. Lang or Josh Sitton for a starting job anytime soon.
That's why Coleman makes a little more sense with this pick. Coleman is the definition of a run-stopping defensive lineman. He certainly wouldn't be an every-down player for the Packers, but he would instantly help improve a run defense that struggled mightily at times.
With defensive line becoming a smaller need after free agency, the Packers can wait until the later rounds to get a player who can help them from Day 1 like Coleman.
5th Round (Compensatory Pick)
Miller: David Fales, QB, San Jose State
Stein: Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
The Packers get their second compensatory pick in the fifth round, and Miller has them selecting an extremely interesting pick.
There was a time when Fales was expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in this year's draft. However, he struggled throughout his senior season and is now an afterthought to many teams.
What makes this pick so interesting is that the Packers already have three quarterbacks on the depth chart. While it won't be surprising to see Green Bay draft a quarterback, it would be shocking to see it happen this early in the draft. Furthermore, it's hard to imagine the Packers drafting a player like Fales who simply doesn't have too much room to grow.
Instead of drafting a quarterback, the Packers would be wise to continue to improve their defense. What makes Exum such an intriguing prospect is that he has the potential to play either cornerback or safety in the NFL. The Packers could draft him and see where he has more potential before assigning him a permanent position.
Adding a player like Exum could pay off in a huge way for the Packers, much like the selection of Micah Hyde did last year.
Miller: Ryan Carrethers, NT, Arkansas State
Stein: Wesley Johnson, OL, Vanderbilt
Here's where I expect the Packers to address their need for a center in the draft. While Johnson played mostly offensive tackle while at Vanderbilt, he simply isn't going to play that position in the NFL.
However, his size, strength and short-area quickness should make the move inside quite a bit easier. He may not start in Year 1, but he'd be a center the Packers could develop to start for the foreseeable future.
As for Miller, he has them drafting a true nose tackle in Carrethers. At 6'1" and 337 pounds, Carrethers is a mammoth of a man who would be counted on to plug up opposing offensive lines. The only problem with Carrethers is that he's a lesser version of B.J. Raji without much room to grow as a prospect.
Both of these picks are certainly possible, and both players would add solid depth to the Packers roster.
Miller: Jay Prosch, FB, Auburn
Stein: Brett Smith, QB, Wyoming
In the seventh round of the draft, most teams are looking for players with a huge amount of upside.
That's what ultimately makes Miller's selection of Prosch such an interesting one. For starters, the Packers already have two fullbacks on the roster after re-signing John Kuhn. Secondly, Prosch doesn't have much room to grow as a prospect.
As for Smith, he's an impressive physical specimen who could develop into a valuable commodity for the Packers. He has all the tools to be a productive NFL quarterback, but he needs some coaching to ultimately get him to that point.
The seventh round has been the preferred drafting spot of quarterbacks for the Packers in recent drafts. Don't be surprised if it happens again this year.