The divisional-round edition of the 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, and while we at LombardiAve.com have the end of the regular season and playoffs to worry about, it’s just about the start of draft season for most 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. Unfortunately, following the loss in San Francisco, the Packers are locked into a 26th pick.
According to FanSided, with the 26th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Zach Ertz, Tight End, Stanford
Analysis: Reports have indicated that the Packers are ready to move on from tight end Jermichael Finley, so they would need to find a replacement. Ertz is one of two tight ends that will grade out as first-round prospects. While Eifert may be the more dynamic passing threat, Ertz is the more well-rounded of the two prospects.
I’ve written for weeks about why the Packers won’t be investing valuable resources into the tight end position this offseason. For starters, it’s my prediction that despite rumors to the contrary, Jermichael Finley will be kept for the 2013 season. Even if Finley is out of the picture, Zach Ertz isn’t likely to end up in the Green and Gold. Ted Thompson has demonstrated time and time again that he will not reach in the draft just to pick a particular player or position. Ertz would indeed be such a reach.
Ertz’s greatest asset is his size. At 6-6 and 252, Ertz is a great red zone target as well as a decently developed blocker. However, he does not have Rob Gronkowski size, nor does he have Jimmy Graham speed. While Ertz is probably already a better blocker than Finley, it’s unlikely he’ll ever become Finley’s equal in the passing game. With Andrew Quarless coming back from the IR in 2013, the blocking Ertz could provide should already be there.
As anyone who’s read this column knows, I am a major proponent of Alabama’s Barrett Jones. Neither Evan Dietrich-Smith or Jeff Saturday were ample replacements for the departed Scott Wells, and not even Wells possessed the size and power of Jones. For those clamoring for the Packers to draft a running back, drafting a player like Jones would address the running game as much or more than a new running back, not to mention help Aaron Rodgers stay upright. Jones can also play all five positions on the offensive line, meaning that if he practices well Jones could be fit in anywhere. Fansided had Jones still on the board when the Packers pick at 26.
Another possibility we haven’t discussed is safety. Charles Woodson will be 37 next year, and at $10 million is likely to be asked to take a pay cut. While I suspect he’ll accept, Woodson could refuse and force the Packers’ hand. If that happens, the Packers could consider drafting a safety if the right one falls to them. I want to emphasis that last part again, because with the early success of Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings there isn’t a pressing need to draft a safety high. However, Fansided has LSU’s Eric Reid still on the board when the Packers draft. Over the past two years the biggest loss the Packers have endured, whether it be to free agency or injury, was Nick Collins. Collins provided both ball-hawking ability and a linebacker’s mentality as a tackler. Only Charles Woodson has that kind of ability and he won’t play for much longer. Reid could be the long-term answer at the position.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Lombardi Ave. He has previously written for Hail to the Orange, College Hoops Net, Mocking the Draft, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JBHirschhorn.