For General Manger Ted Thompson and the Packers, the NFL Draft is truly “Where Champions are Built,” because key steals in April were the reason the Green and Gold brought the Lombardi Trophy back home this past season.
Even though the Packers are the returning champions, Thompson and the team are aware of some holes to fill. Read on to see where the team may go in the draft and what to expect this weekend.
By: Nick Grays
1st Round – 32nd overall
2nd Round – 64th overall
3rd Round – 96th overall
4th Round – 129th overall and 131st overall (Compensatory)
5th Round – 163rd overall
6th Round – 197th overall (from Carolina)
7th Round – 204th overall and 233rd overall
Primary Needs (3)
Outside Linebacker, Offensive Line and Defensive Line
There’s a lot of speculation about what the Packers will do with their first few picks, but let’s throw out a few players I could see Ted Thompson drafting in accordance to the team’s needs.
The most likely position the Packers will address early if possible is outside linebacker. If UCLA’s Akeem Ayers is available here, it seems like Thompson will surely go after the second-rated linebacker in the draft.
Another guy that scouts really liked was Arizona’s Brooks Reed, if Ayers is off the board at 32.
Either pick would be a great short-term fix in the Packers 3-4 defense.
Last year’s first round draft pick and right tackle Brian Bulaga, from the Iowa Hawkeyes, might be joined by a rookie left tackle because veteran Chad Clifton won’t be around forever. Add in the fact that left guard Daryn Colledge’s return to Green Bay is questionable and you have a legitimate question mark in star quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ protection.
The only problem with drafting an offensive lineman is whether there will be any good ones left come the 32nd pick of the draft. If Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi lasts towards the end of the first round, he’s expected to go to the Chicago Bears at 29, so that leaves Mississippi State’s Derrek Sherrod for the Packers. This is assuming Colorado’s Nate Solder is also off the board at this point.
Sherrod would be a great pick for Thompson because he provides a lot of flexibility of where he could play on the line. If Buluga works out better on the left side, Sherrod could move from the guard position and play right tackle.
Third in priority, if key players have already been drafted on the offensive line and at outside linebacker, is defensive end where Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward would be a great addition.
Cullen Jenkins’ departure and Johnny Jolly’s codeine addiction leaves the team with a huge hole to fill on the defensive line. Heyward isn’t the flashiest of defensive ends, but he is experienced and could play significant minutes in the NFL right away after starting as a Buckeye for four years.
As most mock drafters know, general managers and teams can go in an entirely different direction than predicted when building for the future. Starting Thursday, we will see what Ted Thompson’s next chapter in the Packers franchise is all about.
While I have addressed the team’s primary needs and the best players to fit those needs, never underestimate the ability of a general manger to select the best player available.
The Sports Bank Mock Draft has GB picking the following players in the first three rounds:
1st Round – Nate Solder (OT) Colorado
2nd Round – Chris Carter (DE/OLB) Fresno State
3rd Round – Terrell McClain (DT) South Florida
Nick Grays is a senior editor at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers, Green Bay Packers, and Milwaukee Brewers. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.