Green Bay Packers' 7-Round Mock Draft and Top-100 Big Board

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2016

Green Bay Packers' 7-Round Mock Draft and Top-100 Big Board

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    The NFL draft is the foundation of building all NFL franchises but arguably none more than the Green Bay Packers, whose draft-and-develop strategy supplies the team with almost 100 percent of its personnel.

    Green Bay did make something of a splash in free agency this offseason, signing veteran tight end Jared Cook to a one-year prove-it deal to help address one of its weaker positions. 

    However, the Packers still have plenty of positions to focus on bolstering through the draft, many of which fall on the defensive side of the ball.

    Inside linebacker remains as much a pressing need as it was at this time last year—perhaps even more so, given head coach Mike McCarthy's confirmation this offseason, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky, that linebacker Clay Matthews will move back outside in 2016, vacating a starting spot on the inside. 

    The Packers also need some help on the defensive line, especially after nose tackle B.J. Raji announced he will take a hiatus from football in 2016.

    The team re-signed veteran Letroy Guion and has a talented young nose tackle in Mike Pennel, but it's unclear if either is the choice to anchor the line this fall. Moreover, Pennel is in a contract year. 

    Veteran outside linebacker Julius Peppers will also be a free agent in 2017, and while the Packers re-signed homegrown pass-rusher Nick Perry to a one-year deal this offseason, they let Mike Neal become a free agent. Though the team will be using Matthews outside, it needs to keep its arsenal of pass-rushers stocked. 

    Don't be surprised to also see the Packers target a tight end, a wide receiver and a defensive back with one of their nine selections in the draft. Slot corner Casey Hayward signed with the San Diego Chargers in free agency, and Micah Hyde will be an unrestricted free agent in 2017.  

    The Packers earned two fourth-round compensatory picks in this year's draft for the loss of cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House in 2015. Those picks and all seven of the team's original selections break down as follows:

    • Round 1: 27th overall 

    • Round 2: 55th overall 

    • Round 3: 88th overall

    • Round 4: 125th overall 

    • Round 4: 131st overall*

    • Round 4: 137th overall*

    • Round 5: 163rd overall 

    • Round 6: 200th overall 

    • Round 7: 248th overall 

    We'll break down what the Packers' top-100 big board looks like heading into Day 1, with prospects the team would select and roughly the order in which it would do so. That big board would take the team into the fourth round or so. 

    Then, we'll go over a full seven-round mock-draft scenario, focusing on which positions the team could address in which rounds.

    *Compensatory pick, cannot be traded

Top-100 Big Board

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    This big board contains the top 100 players that the Packers will likely target in the first few rounds of the draft, with some discretion given to team needs despite general manager Ted Thompson's pattern of drafting the best player available. 

    For instance, though Vernon Hargreaves III is considered the best cornerback in this year's draft class, it's unlikely the Packers would select him, even if he were to somehow fall to No. 27, given that they drafted defensive backs with their first two selections in the 2015 draft. 

    However, defensive end Joey Bosa is included because even though the chance of his dropping is almost nonexistent, the Packers would clearly select him in a heartbeat were he available at their pick. 

    The following prospects are ranked, and though that is a subjective exercise, the order is generally balanced between overall prospect rankings and needs. 

    Green Bay Packers Big Board
     Rank Player Position School
     1Joey BosaDE Ohio State
     2Myles Jack OLB  UCLA 
     3DeForest Buckner DE Oregon 
     4Darron Lee OLB Ohio State 
     5Shaq Lawson DE Clemson 
     6Sheldon Rankins DT Louisville 
     7Reggie Ragland ILB Alabama 
     8A'Shawn Robinson DT Alabama 
     9Jack ConklinOTMichigan State
     10Jarran Reed DT Alabama 
     11Andrew Billings DT Baylor 
     12Leonard Floyd OLB Georgia 
     13Robert NkemdicheDT Ole Miss 
     14Noah Spence DE Eastern Kentucky 
     15Emmanuel Ogbah DE Oklahoma State 
     16Kevin Dodd DE Clemson 
     17Vernon Butler DT Louisiana Tech 
     18Kenny Clark DT UCLA 
     19Cody Whitehair OG Kansas State 
     20Derrick HenryRBAlabama
     21Jaylon Smith OLB Notre Dame 
     22Jonathan BullardDE Florida 
     23Austin Johnson DT Penn State 
     24Vadal Alexander  OG LSU 
     25Joshua Perry OLB Ohio State 
     26Shilique Calhoun  DE Michigan State 
     27Shon Coleman  OT Auburn 
     28Hunter Henry TE Arkansas 
     29Kentrell Brothers ILB Missouri 
     30Adolphus Washington DT Ohio State 
     31Su'a CravensOLB USC 
     32Joshua Garnett OG Stanford 
     33Le'Raven Clark OT Texas Tech 
     34Kenneth Dixon RB Louisiana Tech 
     35Sterling Shepard WR Oklahoma 
     36Jalen Mills FS LSU 
     37Carl NassibDE Penn State 
     38Kamalei Correa OLB Boise State 
     39Braxton MillerWR Ohio State 
     40Christian Westerman OG Arizona State 
     41Austin Hooper TE Stanford 
     42Chris Jones DT Mississippi State 
     43Alex Collins RB Arkansas 
     44Rashard Higgins WR Colorado State 
     45Charles Tapper DE Oklahoma 
     46Jerald Hawkins  OT LSU 
     47Landon Turner OG North Carolina 
     48Dominique Alexander ILB Oklahoma 
     49Jordan Howard RB Indiana 
     50Kyler Fackrell OLB Utah State 
     51Sebastian Tretola OG Arkansas 
     52Maurice CanadyCB Virginia 
     53John TheusOT Georgia 
     54Javon Hargrave DT South Carolina State 
     55Shawn Oakman DE Baylor 
     56Nick Vannett TE Ohio State 
     57Kenny Lawler WR California 
     58Deion Jones OLB LSU 
     59Zack Sanchez CB Oklahoma 
     60Jordan Payton WR UCLA 
     61Kyle Murphy  OT Stanford 
     62Cyrus Jones CB Alabama 
     63Tyler Matakevich ILB Temple 
     64Kolby Listenbee WR TCU 
     65Kenyan Drake RB Alabama 
     66Keyarris Garrett WR Tulsa 
     67Connor McGovernOG Missouri 
     68Jordan Jenkins OLB Georgia 
     69Jerell Adams TE South Carolina 
     70Bronson Kaufusi DE BYU 
     71Jason Fanaika DE Utah 
     72Nick Vigil ILB Utah State 
     73Paul Perkins RB UCLA 
     74Joe Haeg OT North Dakota State 
     75C.J. Prosise RB Notre Dame 
     76Eric Striker OLB Oklahoma 
     77Jonathan Jones CB Auburn 
     78Sheldon DayDTNotre Dame 
     79Tyler Higbee TE Western Kentucky 
     80Cole Toner OT Harvard 
     81Jihad Ward DE Illinois 
     82Spencer Drango OG Baylor 
     83Joe Schobert OLB Wisconsin 
     84Eric Murray CB Minnesota  
     85Daniel LascoRBCalifornia 
     86Harlan Miller CB Southeastern Louisiana 
     87Matt Judon DE Grand Valley State 
     88Malcolm Mitchell WR Georgia 
     89Scooby Wright IIIILB Arizona 
     90Sean Davis FS Maryland 
     91Bryce Williams TE East Carolina 
     92Tyler Ervin RB San Jose State 
     93Hassan Ridgeway DT Texas 
     94Tajae Sharpe WR Massachusetts
     95Fahn Cooper OT Ole Miss 
     96Graham GlasgowOGMichigan 
     97Kelvin Taylor RB Florida 
     98Tom Hackett Utah 
     99Willie Beavers OT Western Michigan 
     100Ben Braunecker  TE Harvard 

Round 1

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Round 1, Pick 27: Andrew Billings, DT, Baylor

    In this scenario for the Packers' first overall pick of the draft, let's assume that the players listed higher on the Packers' big board are already off the board, notably inside linebacker Reggie Ragland and defensive tackle Jarran Reed.

    Some analysts like the Packers to take tight end Hunter Henry here, but Ted Thompson rarely goes offense in the first round, and the signing of free agent Jared Cook gives the GM some flexibility as to when he targets a tight end prospect. 

    With Ragland off the board, defensive tackle is both one of Green Bay's biggest needs and also one of the best value positions in Round 1, with plenty of talented players in Alabama's Reed, Louisville's Sheldon Rankins, UCLA's Kenny Clark and, of course, Andrew Billings. 

    Baylor product Billings is the choice here, a young prospect who could be groomed to eventually anchor the middle in Green Bay's front seven. With B.J. Raji on a hiatus from football and young stud Mike Pennel on a four-game suspension to start the season, it's the perfect time for the Packers to beef up their defensive line 

    Speaking of beef, however, Billings is a solid target for the Packers because he is powerful but not enormous. Measuring 6'1" and 311 pounds, Billings is trimmer than some of his fellow linemen; Butler is 6'4" and 323, while Clark is 6'3" and 314. 

    Billings is a nice balance between the gigantic two-gappers the Packers used to anchor their line with and their new focus on getting smaller and faster up front.

    CBS Sports' Rob Rang called Billings "surprisingly athletic," and his colleague, Dane Brugler, noted that the prospect is "a load in the middle with brute power to engage blockers and toss them aside" and "tough to block due to his blend of power and quickness."

    Billings still has to develop and perfect his technique, but he's a great prospect for Dom Capers to fine-tune for his defense.

Round 2

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Round 2, Pick 55: Austin Hooper, TE, Stanford

    Some may argue that after signing veteran tight end Jared Cook to a one-year deal in free agency, the Packers won't look to address the position this early in the draft. 

    However, such a move is straight from Ted Thompson's playbook.

    In the last five years, the Packers have targeted tight ends in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft in D.J. Williams (Round 5), Ryan Taylor (Round 7), Richard Rodgers (Round 3) and Kennard Backman (Round 6).

    While Rodgers is developing at a nice pace and will likely earn the majority of starts in 2016, none of those players has been a difference-maker for the Packers. If Green Bay wants to have that kind of player sharing the field with Aaron Rodgers, it needs to find him now. 

    Could Austin Hooper be a Greg Olsen-Travis Kelce-Tyler Eifert-type player, given time to develop in Green Bay's system?

    The jury is still out, but given the overall weakness of this year's tight end class, if the Packers want any chance of finding a star, they'll have to strike before the end of Day 2. 

    At Stanford—"Tight End U"Hooper amassed 74 catches for 937 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons. Perhaps the reason he will catch the Packers' eye is his ability to gain yards after the catch, a crucial aspect of the Green Bay offense. 

    CBS Sports' Rob Rang wrote Hooper is a "determined runner after the catch, lowering his shoulder and spinning through would-be tacklers for additional yardage. Intriguing prospect whose best football still lies ahead of him."

    Though most see Hooper as a "move" tight end, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein thinks he's more versatile than that and is able to also play inline. 

    Given that Hooper could benefit from a year in an NFL weight room, pairing him with Rodgers and Cook in 2016 could jump-start his development and give the Packers a solid weapon in the near future.  

Round 3

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Round 3, Pick 88: Tyler Matakevich, ILB, Temple

    Some may feel that Round 3 is too late for the Packers to be addressing one of their most pressing needs in inside linebacker, but given Ted Thompson's focus on value, walking away with starting-caliber players in Billings and Hooper to this point finally allows him to turn his focus to inside 'backer. 

    Though he may be a Day 2 selection, Tyler Matakevich will fight his way onto the field for whichever NFL team selects him. Undersized at 6'0" and 238 pounds, the Temple product is nonetheless a tireless athlete who has proved his dedication to the game time and time again. 

    To wit, the linebacker had the most career tackles by any active player in the FBS at the end of the 2015 season, per CBS Sports

    While we can't know for sure, it's also possible that the Packers are extremely high on Matakevich based on comments an anonymous NFC North executive gave to NFLDraftScout.com:

    Mat is the heart and soul of that defense, everything goes through him. That's something that shows up on film and during practice. He knows his physical limitations, but works like the devil to max out all of his senses. You don't have as much production as he has just by accident.

    Again, while it's not a definite that a Packers executive spoke those words, it's quite possible. 

    CBS Sports' Dane Brugler highlighted some strengths that could make Matakevich a strong addition to the Green Bay front seven. Per Brugler, he "has terrific timing as a blitzer and plays like a controlled mad man, hitting another gear once he sees red. He also does a nice job floating in zone coverage to attack throwing lanes and break up throws."

    Some teams may have Matakevich down as a 4-3 "Will" linebacker only, and some Packers fans may worry his play production does not make up for his lack of size.

    But as long as he can limit missed tackles and nail his technique, Matakevich could be a high-motor, high-impact addition to the Green Bay front seven. 

Round 4

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Round 4, Pick 125: Sheldon Day, DT, Notre Dame

    The fourth round of the draft is where Ted Thompson and the Packers can make or break their 2016 draft class. With three selections all relatively close together, Green Bay has an opportunity to own the round. 

    Given that this is the Packers' only non-compensatory pick in Round 4, Thomspon could look to deal it. But if he keeps this selection, it would be well-used to address the defensive line yet again. 

    Notre Dame's Sheldon Day is not necessarily the kind of defensive tackle the Packers would have selected a few years ago, but they have been making a move toward lighter, more athletic linemen in the front seven, and Day fits that mold. 

    The 6'1", 293-pound prospect isn't a stout two-gapper, but he's explosive and energetic. 

    CBS Sports' Dane Brugler expanded on Day's high-energy playing style:

    Often the first to move off the snap with explosive quickness and natural bend to alter his momentum on the move and disrupt the blocker's rhythm. A controlled athlete in space to break down and finish with a motor that never quits revving. Rangy and plays with a ton of energy, closing like a mad man. Highly active hands with a quick swim move to be disruptive. Never quits, with the chase skills to catch ballcarriers from behind. Smart defender with the mid-play instincts to adjust his plan of attack.

    That scouting report makes him sound notably similar to another defensive lineman the Packers drafted: Mike Daniels. 

    The Packers' penchant to draft players other teams consider "tweeners" isn't well-received by everyone, but they do end up stealing some athletes other squads regret passing up on.

    About Day, NFL.com's Lance Zierlein wrote, "There will be teams who scratch him off their draft board due to size and scheme concerns, but his ability to rush the passer from the interior will be sought out by others who recognize his potential value."

    Like Daniels, Day could be a versatile and productive interior rusher on the Packers front seven. 

    Round 4, Pick 131*: Cole Toner, OT, Harvard

    The Packers have a situation developing on the offensive line. In 2017, four of their starting five—left tackle David Bakhtiari, center Corey Linsley and guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton—are slated to become free agents, and it's not likely the team will be able to re-sign all four players.

    Thompson has drafted at least one offensive lineman in every year of his tenure with the Packers except one (2015, though he did sign undrafted free-agent lineman Matt Rotheram). In 2016, he could double-dip given the contract situation. 

    CBS Sports grades Harvard's Cole Toner as the 125th best overall prospect in the draft, and there's a chance he won't be on the board by the Packers' pick at No. 131. But given that he's graded 15th among offensive tacklesand some teams will choose to take guards—it's possible. 

    Toner became Harvard's starting right tackle as a true freshman because of injury and held on to the job.

    Some have questioned his true talent given his conference, but he held his own at the Senior Bowl and only looks to get stronger with time spent in an NFL weight room. 

    CBS Sports' Rob Rang wrote that Toner "shows a legitimate NFL-caliber combination of size, agility and tenacity" and that he's best-suited to a zone-blocking scheme.

    That should attract Green Bay's attention. 

    Round 4, Pick 137*: Daniel Lasco, RB, California

    How early (or late) the Packers select a running back this year doesn't necessarily indicate their plans for Eddie Lacy's future, given both Thompson's propensity to target the best available player and the fact that the Packers won't have a true handle on Lacy's progress until training camp. 

    But Round 4 is a nice compromise; it's not so early that the team will feel compelled to get its costly rookie starts right away, and it's not so late that the starting-caliber players will be gone. 

    Daniel Lasco helped his draft stock climb with an impressive combine performance, benching 23 reps of 225 pounds, topping all running back prospects with a 41 ½" vertical jump and 11'3" broad jump, and running a 4.46-second 40-yard dash.

    Still, the fact that Lasco missed much of the 2015 season because of injury and his tendency to run upright could keep him squarely in Day 3 of the draft. 

    As for fit with the Packers, Lasco may not ever be a workhorse, but he'd be a nice supplement to Green Bay's backfield with his speed and agility.

    CBS Sports' Rob Rang wrote that Lasco has "legitimate NFL athleticism" as well as "good initial quickness to and through the hole, showing the 0-to-60 acceleration to offer big-play potential."

    He also has a nose for the end zone, having rushed for 12 touchdowns at California in 2014. 

    *Compensatory pick; cannot be traded

Round 5

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Round 5, Pick 163: Joe Dahl, OG, Washington State

    After selecting an offensive tackle in Round 4, Ted Thompson goes back to the well for a guard this time in Round 5. 

    Thompson doesn't often draft college guards to play guard for the Packers; Josh Sitton played mostly right tackle at UCF, and T.J. Lang was a starting left tackle at Eastern Michigan.

    But Washington State product Joe Dahl is a versatile lineman who initially started at left guard for the Cougars before moving over to left tackle in the New Mexico Bowl that year and remaining there from 2014 on. 

    Despite his extensive experience on the blind side at WSU, Dahl projects as an NFL guard.

    He can hold his own against pass-rushers and in the run game alike; per CBS Sports' Rob Rang, "Dahl shows impressive initial quickness out of stance, quickly sealing off opponents from the action and showing the foot speed and agility to track down defenders at the second level."

    Though Dahl underwent surgery on his foot in late 2015, he put concerns to rest at the combine, where he was a top performer among offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash (5.18 seconds), bench press (28 reps at 225 pounds) and broad jump (9'1"). 

Round 6

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    John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

    Round 6, Pick 200: Mitch Mathews, WR, BYU

    A few weeks out from the draft, the buzz is increasing around BYU receiver Mitch Mathews.

    Per Mathews' agent, Brett Tessler, Mathews will be visiting with the Packers in the second week of April, but "many teams" are showing interest in the prospect. 

    Mathews generated buzz in September 2015 when he connected with BYU backup Tanner Mangum on a 42-yard game-winning Hail Mary pass. 

    However, the 6'6", 222-pound pass-catcher isn't just a one-trick pony. Mathews has great size and performed well at BYU's pro day, running a 4.49-second 40-yard dash with a 36" vertical jump and a 10'9" broad jump, according to NFLDraftScout.com.

    If the Packers like what they see in their workout with Mathews, he'd be a great developmental prospect to grab in the late rounds as someone who could contribute on special teams and possibly give the team another red-zone threat. 

Round 7

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Round 7, Pick 248: Kavon Frazier, FS, Central Michigan

    There's no doubt that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has locked down the starting free job for the Packers for the foreseeable future. 

    However, given that versatile defensive back Micah Hyde is set to hit unrestricted free agency next March and 2015 draft selection Damarious Randall is grouped with the corners, the Packers could afford to deepen their safety stable. 

    Central Michigan safety Kavon Frazier would be able to contribute right away on special teams for the Packers and could fight for snaps on defense later on in his pro career.

    He's a playmaker who had five career interceptions at Central Michigan and, in 2015, had an interception, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles (and one recovered) and a blocked punt. 

    Given his late-round status, Frazier nonetheless has a lot of qualities teams would look for in a much higher selection. "Frazier brings an attitude to the secondary that puts all opposing offensive players on notice with his big-hitting ability," wrote CBS Sports' Bo Marchionte. "The tempo-setting safety with a physical and nasty demeanor, Frazier's energy and passion elevates those around him."

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