The Pre-Super Bowl version 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. While we at LombardiAve.com no longer have the Packers playing in the post-season to write about, draft season has already started for all but two 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.
The Packers are locked into the 26th position in the 2013 draft. There is no more mystery about that. The only unknowns left are which player the Packers will draft at 26 overall and what moves Ted Thompson might make to trade up or down.
According to FanSided, with the 26th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Barrett Jones, C/Alabama
FanSided Analysis: Aaron Rodgers was abused last season and that’s one of the reasons the Packers struggled. Go back to the Seattle Screw game and you’ll see why the Packers didn’t pull away from the Seahawks. Usually Green Bay runs as many receivers as they can, but they had to pull them off the field at numerous times in 2012 so they could add extra blockers for Rodgers. Jones plugs up a huge hole in the middle and becomes Rodgers new right hand man on a powerful offensive unit.
I absolutely cannot argue with this pick Packer Nation. Most of you agree. The results of our poll on LombardiAve.com show Jones with a comfortable 65% lead as your choice for the first pick out of the top O linemen we think will be available when the Packers hand in their card to the Commish.
I put Jones out there as the Packers first round pick weeks ago and I think I’ve mentioned him in every mock draft piece since then. My respected colleague Jason Hirschhorn has as well. Jones has the mix of experience, skills, and potential the Packers need. He plays, and plays award-winningly well, each offensive line position. Perhaps more importantly, he will likely be the best player available when the Packers pick at 26. If he is still available at I think TT drafts him and puts another #1 draft pick on the Packers offensive line- a line that needs talent badly.
The prospect of Jones coming in and helping to solidify the Packers offensive line definitely has some good juju around it. I am concerned about a couple of things with Jones though. He played injured (ankle / lisfrank) during the BCS Championship game and required surgery soon thereafter. Jones’ recovery from that surgery will bear scrutiny. While he’s the player I think can make the biggest immediate difference on the O line the Packers definitely do not need another pre-injured draft pick.
I also haven’t heard or read anything about any kind of mean or nasty streak in Jones. Indeed, the pundits and draftniks all believe he’s a great kid with a bright future and I agree with all of them wholeheartedly- especially if that future is with the Green Bay Packers. But I would argue that perhaps Jones will need to cultivate and embrace that nastiness when he regularly lines up against the talented D lines in the NFC North. If the Packers do get him in his rookie season he’s going to be playing against both conference champions and most of the other playoff teams from 2012 too. One can be a great kid with a bright future while being mean and nasty…can’t one? UPDATE: I have been reminded by a friend or two that indeed Mr. Jones did display some fire when he became a bit infuriated on one particular play in the BCS Championship…but he directed his ire in the wrong direction- at his own quarterback. He’ll learn quickly enough that Green Bay is Mr. Rodgers’ Neighborhood.
I think Packer Nation, and I know I, would like to hear the analysts describe the Packers offensive line as “dominating”, or “scary”, or a “team strength”, instead of a “concern” or a “weakness”. I think all one has to do is look at the teams playing in Super Bowl XLVII to realize that a team can never have enough good offensive linemen. Barrett Jones could probably step in at LT and immediately improve that critical position. He could eventually take over the center position too. He could fill in at any other position with little or no drop-off. Let’s be honest though. Jones wouldn’t make the Packers offensive line a “team strength” all by himself. But the bottom line is that he would probably give the line an instant boost in the respectability department. A badly needed boost.
So if the unthinkable happens and TT can get Alabama’s Barrett Jones at 26, what are the other team “needs” and when might TT address them in April? Let’s see what we can see in the next couple of rounds.
I think the Packers need a larger, more physical safety to come up and make tackles close to the line of scrimmage. T.J. McDonald from USC could still be available in the second round. He’s tall. He’s fast. He can hit. He tackles. He can cover and he has a knack for being around the ball. I think McDonald would be a good get for a defensive backfield that has some talented rookies but still no clear-cut successor to Nick Collins. I would really hate to see Charles Woodson and the Packers part ways, but McDonald would be a great addition with or without Woodson. Ted Thompson’s 2012 draft added several defensive contributors who could turn into bona fide stars over the next couple of years. You can’t ever have too many of those.
If the Packers are looking at LBs, especially ILBs, there will probably still be some good ones available in the third round. Kevin Reddick from North Carolina could be a good fit. He goes 6-3 and 240 with 4.6 speed which gives him the ability to cover TEs as well as effectively blitz inside. He hits and he tackles. Reddick is being pegged as a late second / early third rounder so he might not be there for the Packers, but there are some other talented ILBs. Niko Johnson from Alabama and Kiko Alonso from Oregon will probably be available later. Either way I think another good ILB would do nothing but help a team who might lose one of their mainstay ILBs in A.J. Hawk and whose other ILBs are health risks and mostly unproven. The Packers defense improved in 2012, but there is room for another big jump to get back up to the elite level it enjoyed during the Super Bowl season just two years ago. Another solid ILB could help make that next-level leap a reality.
I have to believe TT will look at the D line somewhere in this draft. Jesse Williams from Alabama might bear watching. He’s a load at 6-4 and 320. His reputation as a run stuffer would seem to make him an intriguing prospect for a team that gave up so many rushing yards in the late season and playoffs last year. Williams comes from Australia and is one of those guys who didn’t play American football until he was 14 or so. He’s strong at the point of attack. He played a couple of seasons in Community College before cracking Alabama’s roster. Sound familiar Mr. Rodgers? Williams has done some strong work at Alabama and any member of a BCS National Champion team should get some consideration- provided he can help in the NFL. I think maybe Williams can, and might get a chance to do just that.
There are some other positions, namely OLB and OT, the Packers will likely try to bolster with picks in the 2013 draft. We’ll look more at those and other positions in the months ahead.
Sadly I lack the mathematical proficiency (but not the apathy) to attempt to calculate the odds of getting each and every pick in a mock draft correct…especially before the Scouting Combine and whatever individual workouts are conducted at the schools. I’ll guess they’re pretty much astronomical though. Perhaps Randall “Cobbernicus” Cobb can figure them out. We’ll just have to see how things shake out over the months ahead. 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. Since the Packers draft position is now set at 26 we’ll be able to narrow things down more effectively. It should be fun. Watch LombardiAve.com for weekly polls this offseason. Many of them will be draft-related.
Go Pack GO!
Don’t forget to check out the entire mock at FanSided NFL 2013 Mock Draft