Green Bay Packers Last-Minute 7-Round Mock Draft and Top-100 Big Board
However, it is yet to be seen whether general manager Ted Thompson even keeps the Packers' original Round 1 selection; a recent report by Charlie Campbell of Walter Football suggests that the Packers have been discussing a trade with the Denver Broncos (No. 31) and the Cleveland Browns (No. 32) for the pick.
Packers fans might lose their minds if Green Bay doesn't make a selection on Day 1, but there's no arguing the value they could find with multiple picks in Rounds 2 or 3.
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 join all seven of the team's original selections and break down as follows:
Round 1: 27th overall
Round 2: 57th overall
Round 3: 88th overall
Round 4: 125th overall
Round 4: 131st overall (compensatory)
Round 4: 137th overall (compensatory)
Round 5: 163rd overall
Round 6: 200th overall
Round 7: 248th overall
We'll break down what the Packers' updated 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. The previous seven-round mock draft can be found here.
Top 100 Big Board
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.
The following prospects are ranked, and though that is a subjective exercise, the order is generally balanced between overall prospect rankings and needs.
|1||Jalen Ramsey||DB||Florida State|
|2||Joey Bosa||DE||Ohio State|
|5||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|6||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB||Florida|
|7||Darron Lee||OLB||Ohio State|
|9||Laquon Treadwell||WR||Ole Miss|
|12||Jack Conklin||OT||Michigan State|
|15||William Jackson III||CB||Houston|
|16||Eli Apple||CB||Ohio State|
|18||Robert Nkemdiche||DT||Ole Miss|
|22||Noah Spence||DE||Eastern Kentucky|
|23||Vernon Butler||DT||Louisiana Tech|
|27||Cody Whitehair||OG||Kansas State|
|29||Jaylon Smith||OLB||Notre Dame|
|31||Austin Johnson||DT||Penn State|
|33||Joshua Perry||OLB||Ohio State|
|34||Shilique Calhoun||DE||Michigan State|
|38||Adolphus Washington||DT||Ohio State|
|41||Le'Raven Clark||OT||Texas Tech|
|42||Kenneth Dixon||RB||Louisiana Tech|
|45||Carl Nassib||DE||Penn State|
|46||Kamalei Correa||OLB||Boise State|
|47||Braxton Miller||WR||Ohio State|
|48||Christian Westerman||OG||Arizona State|
|50||Chris Jones||DT||Mississippi State|
|52||Rashard Higgins||WR||Colorado State|
|55||Landon Turner||OG||North Carolina|
|58||Kyler Fackrell||OLB||Utah State|
|62||Javon Hargrave||DT||South Carolina State|
|63||Nick Vannett||TE||Ohio State|
|76||Jerell Adams||TE||South Carolina|
|79||Nick Vigil||ILB||Utah State|
|81||Joe Haeg||OT||North Dakota State|
|82||C.J. Prosise||RB||Notre Dame|
|85||Sheldon Day||DT||Notre Dame|
|86||Tyler Higbee||TE||Western Kentucky|
|93||Harlan Miller||CB||Southeastern Louisiana|
|94||Matt Judon||DE||Grand Valley State|
|96||Scooby Wright III||ILB||Arizona|
|98||Bryce Williams||TE||East Carolina|
|99||Tyler Ervin||RB||San Jose State|
Round 1, Pick 27: Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
The top-rated inside linebacker in this year's draft class by CBS Sports, Alabama's Reggie Ragland is exactly the kind of player the Packers look for in their developmental prospects.
Some analysts (and fans) are wary of Ragland's coverage ability, throwing around the term "thumper" in a negative sense. But Ragland could surprise everyone; with his size (6'1", 247 lbs), instincts and open-field tackling ability, he could develop into a three-down player in the NFL.
If the Packers are going to use a first-round pick on an inside linebacker, then ideally he would be ready to start Day 1.
However, that's not necessarily a prerequisite for Ragland, as Green Bay could open the season with second-year linebacker Jake Ryan next to middle linebacker Sam Barrington and give a rookie time to develop.
Ragland has some of the less quantifiable qualities that the Packers have proved to value in prospects; as CBS Sports' Dane Brugler and Rob Rang wrote, he is a "physical striker with reliable breakdown skills in the open field, wrapping, driving and finishing," and has the "dirtiest jersey on the field and plays each snap like it is his last."
Given how much this Green Bay defense feeds off momentum and energy, having another hard-working, driven playmaker on the field will only raise the level of the players around him.
If Ragland falls to No. 27, and there are legitimate scenarios in which he does, he would be a value pick for Thompson. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller reported that's about where the Packers value the Alabama prospect, and Crimson Tide players have always been a favorite of the organization.
Round 2, Pick 57: Chris Jones, DT, Mississippi State
Because the Packers passed on addressing their defensive line to draft Reggie Ragland in Round 1, Round 2 finds them adding a big man up front to mitigate the loss of B.J. Raji.
Chris Jones was getting some first-round buzz, which NFLDraftScout's Dane Brugler attributes to his foot quickness and body type.
But with the wealth of defensive-line talent available in this year's class, it's not a stretch to think Jones could be on the board for the Packers with their 57th overall pick.
At Mississippi State, Jones lined up mostly at the 1-technique and 3-technique spots but also and outside as a defensive end. He totaled 102 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks in 16 starts.
The Packers will be intrigued by Jones' versatility; per NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, he has "a body type and skill set to play all along the defensive line in both odd and even fronts."
That means Green Bay can either groom him to be its nose tackle of the future or play him at 3-technique or even 5-technique and thereby give Mike Daniels some help.
Jones has all the physical gifts but has not yet learned how to use them effectively. Dom Capers could work with that.
Round 3, Pick 88: Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State
Outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell could be gone by the 88th overall pick, and if he is, LSU's Deion Jones is another pass-rusher the Packers could consider in Round 3.
But if Fackrell is still available, he would be a perfect fit as Green Bay prepares for some major shake-ups at the position.
On one hand, they have Clay Matthews moving back to the edge. On the other, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, and Jayrone Elliott will all be free agents in 2017, while Mike Neal appears to be gone for good.
A three-year starter at Utah State, Fackrell's accomplished collegiate career was interrupted by an ACL tear in 2014 that ended his season.
However, the injury was bookended by the kind of play that would catch any NFL team's eye: in 2013, he had a team-high 13 tackles for loss and 82 tackles, five sacks and a 99-yard interception for a touchdown.
Then, in his bounce-back 2015 season, Fackrell led the nation with five fumble recoveries and led the team with 15 tackles for loss. He also set a Utah State record with 12 quarterback hurries and added four sacks.
In addition to Fackrell's athletic pluses, including a long frame and lateral quickness, he was also a celebrated leader on the Aggies. Per NFLDraftScout's Dane Brugler, Fackrell is "humble and hard-working, but also feisty and competitive—singled out as the leader of the defense by his head coach. Football junkie who already works and prepares like a professional."
Because Fackrell can be overaggressive and is best-suited to a 3-4 scheme, enough teams looking for something else could pass over him on the board to make him available in Round 3.
Round 4, Pick 125: Cole Toner, OT, Harvard
In 2017, four linemen—left tackle David Bakhtiari, center JC Tretter 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 look to target two.
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 tackles—and 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 131*: 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 41½" 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.
Round 4, Pick 137*: Tyler Higbee, TE, Western Kentucky
The Packers aren't destitute at the tight end position; they signed Jared Cook to a one-year prove-it deal this offseason, and Richard Rodgers is entering his third year in the league.
However, the Packers have been missing an impact player at the position for years, and are missing speed from their pass-catching corps more generally.
Could Tyler Higbee be that player?
Higbee has two traits the Packers need in a tight end: after-the-catch ability and speed. He has the acceleration to elude safeties and, most importantly, he can protect the ball in traffic.
So why the Round 4 projection?
Higbee isn't powerful enough yet to be an inline blocker, but a season in an NFL weight room could change that. He also missed six games with a knee injury in 2015 and was arrested in early April for an altercation and public intoxication.
If the Packers are comfortable drafting him and relying on Rodgers and Cook while Higbee matures and potentially serves a suspension, his upside is real, especially if they use a compensatory pick to select him.
*Compensatory pick; cannot be traded
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, 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 visited 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, Pick 248: Morgan Burns, CB, Kansas State
The Packers already have a defensive back on the roster named Morgan Burnett, and now, in a strange twist, they select Kansas State's Morgan Burns.
Aside from his familiar name, however, Burns will draw attention in the NFL for another quality: his ridiculous skill as a kick returner.
Per Hobie Teope of theTopeka Capital-Journal, the Packers had a pre-draft visit with Burns. The former high school sprinter is a speedy kick returner who returned four kicks for scores in 2015.
Of course, few teams have the luxury of devoting a roster spot solely to a kick returner, and as good as Burns is, he'll also need to prove that he can be a reserve cornerback. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein suggests that Burns could even take reps in camp as a running back, his former position, to show teams why he's worth a roster spot.
The Packers may look to take a player earlier who is perhaps a less talented returner but a more solid corner, but Burns offers real value this late in the draft.