Jan 2, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; Wisconsin Badgers offensive lineman Ricky Wagner (58) in the 2012 Rose Bowl game against the Oregon Ducks at the Rose Bowl. Oregon defeated Wisconsin 45-38. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NFL Mock Draft: The Green Bay Packers Select...

Apr 28, 2011; New York, NY, USA; NFL commissioner Roger Goodell introduces the 32nd overall pick of the Green Bay Packers during the 2011 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Week 17 FanSided 2013 NFL Mock Draft has been released.

The fine folks over at FanSided.com do a new mock draft every week right up until the actual draft in April. While we at LombardiAve.com have the good fortune of having the playoffs to write about, draft season has already started for 20 NFL teams. We Packer fans have our own opinions about what needs the Packers should try to fill using the 2013 draft. In this article we’ll explore some possibilities for the Packers first pick.

Draft positions will shuffle some the remainder of the season, so the Packers position in round 1 will probably move around a bit. Here’s hoping that it ends up being the 32nd pick in round 1!

Sep 29, 2012; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard (26) carries the ball against the Idaho Vandals in the first half at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

According to FanSided, with the 27th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Giovani Bernard, Running Back, North Carolina

Analysis: It’s time for the Packers to address their problems in the running game and they can do that by adding the top running back prospect in this year’s class.

I respectfully beg to differ with the FanSided pick. Aside from the fact that there are very few running backs in the league that were drafted in the first round, TT and the Packers brain trust can be counted upon to find a better overall value, and a more talented player, than Bernard in the first round. There are not going to be any Adrian Petersons in the 2013 draft. A player like him you go after.

Don’t misunderstand though. Bernard is a good RB and he will probably make some NFL team better. However, the Packers just can’t be expected to draft a RB in the first round- especially with so many talented linemen coming out this year.

Many people believe TT drafts best available player. If last year’s draft showed us anything it is that TT will load up on needs when those needs are apparent. In the 2013 draft the Packers needs are obvious. It seems equally obvious to me that Ted will move to improve the offensive and defensive lines several times in this draft. A running back will almost certainly be picked, but I seriously doubt it will be in the first round.

Oct 20, 2012; College Station, TX, USA; Texas A

Let’s look at some of those linemen. In previous mocks I mentioned players like tackle Jake Matthews from Texas A&M and center/guard/tackle Barrett Jones from Alabama as being my own choices for the Packers first pick.

Jake Matthews would probably go much higher than the Packers draft position, so it would take some wheeling and dealing for the Packers to get him. Jake’s father is Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews and Packers LB Clay Matthews is his cousin. The bloodline is strong with this one. TT would probably have to wheel and deal to get into position to draft him. Much the same as he did to get cousin Clay. Will he do it? I hope he does.

Sep 1, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linesman Barrett Jones (75) blocks during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Cowboys Stadium. Alabama won 41-14. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

 

Barrett Jones is my value pick because he can play all three line positions. We know the Packers like versatile linemen, and Jones is as versatile as they come. He could step in at LT or he could solidify the C position. He’s intelligent. He’s strong at the point of attack. He’s also a legitimate first round talent. Therefore, from a value perspective, Jones is my first round pick. Unless some other team nabs him first.

I also mentioned tackle Oday Aboushi from Virginia and tackle Ricky Wagner from Wisconsin as other good, but not necessarily first-round, prospects. Would either of these guys be reaches for a first-round pick? Could be, but the line between a low first-round pick and a high second-round pick is pretty thin. Both of these guys might be available in the second round, but the Packers need to fill two roster positions on the O line. Unless TT believes the Packers are good long-term with Newhouse/Sherrod at LT and Dietrich-Smith at C, Matthews, Jones, Aboushi, and Wagner should all be on the short list of guys to watch on draft day.

Jan 2, 2012; Glendale, AZ, USA; Stanford Cardinal tight end (86) Zach Ertz leaps into the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated Stanford 41-38 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Zach Ertz from Stanford would also be a great addition for the offense. He’s a Graham/Witten/Gronk type who would look awesome catching Rodgers passes and moving the chains over the middle. The Packers have several decent and reliable enough tight ends who have shown true talent, and one very talented but inconsistent Excedrin Headache #88, but they need a guy who will become a household name for the right reasons…not the wrong ones. Ertz can also block and he’s the fastest of the TEs coming out.

 

November 10, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans safety T.J. McDonald (7) after intercepting a pass against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Safety T.J. McDonald from USC would help fill the gaping hole in the secondary left when Nick Collins was forced to retire. No disrespect to the current DBs, who have come a long way this season. But at 6-3 and 205 McDonald would give the Packers a hard-hitting presence in the secondary with speed and a nose for the football. And he can tackle. Thompson went DB-heavy last draft and that strategy has yielded several talented young contributors to a much improved defense. It’s simply not possible to have too many good DBs.

I just can’t see Ted Thompson drafting a RB in the first round. Thompson realizes that serviceable backs can be had in the middle rounds. It really doesn’t matter that much how good the RB is though. The offensive line has to block. The scheme has to be RB-friendly. I think at this point the Packers might not have their RB of the future, but they need their LT and C of the future more than a RB given the offense they run and their present roster.

We’re going to go through the prospects every week for a long time leading up to the actual draft in April. Each week we’ll break down the Packers needs from a Packers-centric perspective. This week’s piece is more review than new analysis. Let’s watch the bowl games, see how these guys perform, and then we’ll take a fresh look at their potential for wearing green and gold in 2013.

Go Pack GO!

Don’t forget to check out the entire mock at FanSided NFL 2013 Mock Draft

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