November 3, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linesman Barrett Jones (75) against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

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

Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

The Pre-Combine Edition of the FanSided 2013 NFL Mock Draft has been released.

FanSided.com will post a new mock draft every week right up until the actual draft in April. We at Lombardiave.com have plenty of off-season news and information to pass along to our readers. Sometimes it’s like drinking from a firehose. But we all know that draft season is in full swing with the Scouting Combine beginning on Feb. 23. Many of the players we’ve mentioned in previous mock draft posts will be working out and we’ll get a good opportunity to eyeball them and see how they’ll perform.

We Green Bay 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. 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. Buckle your seat belts!

Jan 7, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy (42) runs the ball against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half of the 2013 BCS Championship game at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

According to FanSided, with the 26th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Eddie Lacy, RB/Alabama

FanSided Analysis: I’d love Barrett Jones here as he fills an immediate need but Lacy fills an even bigger one. The only knock on the Packers offense over the years has been the utter absence of a running game and the Alabama hammer can fix that right up. Running back is one of the most popular skill positions for fans to pull for and Lacy will help make the Packers offense even more dangerous than it already is. Besides, if you think Alex Green and Cedric Benson are the answer at running back for the Packers, please review the Packers 2012 running game and then check out how well Lacy ran in a devastating offense with the Crimson Tide.

I’m sorry Packers Nation. I like how the analysis starts … but it goes south in a hurry. I just can’t see TT drafting a running back in round 1. Yes … the Packers need a running back. However, the team needs more than a just good RB. There is simply no escaping this one fact: Without a good O line to run behind (like he had at Alabama), Eddie Lacy won’t be anywhere near as successful in the NFL as he was at Alabama. Montee Ball, Joseph Randall, Giovani Bernard, or Kenjon Barner won’t either.  Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, and Cedric Benson won’t.  Therefore, I still believe TT will go O-line with the first pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. I actually hope he goes O-line with several of the picks.

The Packers haven’t drafted a RB in the first round since Brent Fullwood in 1987. Ted Thompson has never drafted a RB above the second round.  Brandon Jackson (second round in 2007) and Alex Green (third round in 2010) are the highest picks he’s used for a RB. Historically he’s just not a first round RB guy. The Packers just don’t seem ready to buck that trend in the 2013 draft. Please make no mistake about this though – if the Packers can find a way to get a quality RB after they fill a couple of other urgent needs there will be great rejoicing throughout the land.

One other concern I have with the Lacy pick is that Lacy played at Alabama. How would he handle the weather in Green Bay and on the road this coming season? The Packers will play Chicago twice outdoors, along with Detroit, Minnesota, Atlanta, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Baltimore, San Francisco, Cincinnati, and the New York football Giants once each. The only indoor games they’ll play all season will be at Detroit, at Minnesota, and at Dallas. Ball security will be vitally important and backs with experience in nasty weather will be required. Would Montee Ball be a better option? Anyone?

We here at Lombardiave.com have promulgated OL Barrett Jones as the Packers’ first round pick for weeks. And assuming Jones doesn’t tank at the Combine or Alabama’s Pro Day, I still think he’s that guy. If Jones isn’t available at 26 in the first round then I believe TT will go after the best player available (you’ll see this material again), but Jones makes so much sense for the Packers I wouldn’t even rule out a trade up to get him. I might even encourage it!

Ted Thompson has demonstrated a willingness, even a propensity, for trading later picks to move up in order to get players he covets. It’s my belief he will do so again this year. So which other players might TT want to wheel and deal to get? There are plenty of them. I listed a bunch of them in the last mock draft I posted a couple of weeks ago. This time around we’ll focus on what I think the Packers should look for in the draft and some alternatives in case things don’t quite go the Packers’ way.

1. (26) Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama. Jones would be the heir apparent to whatever O line position needs immediate attention just because he plays them all. Very well. If Jones is already gone then I think the Packers might go after TE Zach Ertz from Stanford, T D.J. Fluker from Alabama, or maybe even DT Jesse Williams from Alabama. If not Jones then Best. Player. Available.

November 3, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers safety Eric Reid (1) against the Alabama Crimson Tide during a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

2. (55) Eric Reid, S, LSU. Reid is a big, tough, fast guy who can help fill Nick Collins’ big shoes. If Reid is gone and the Packers didn’t get Jones, C Travis Frederick from Wisconsin, CB Xavier Rhodes from Florida State, or S T.J. McDonald from USC might come into play in round two.

3. (88) Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin. Ball might be gone by the time the Packers pick in the third round. If TT doesn’t trade up to get him, then he might stand pat at 88 and consider taking a back like Joseph Randle from Oklahoma State or Mike Gillislee from Florida. He could also look at somebody like OT Kyle Long from Oregon or OT Ricky Wagner from Wisconsin.

Dec 1, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Monte Ball (28) dives into the end zone for a touchdown past Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Alonzo Whaley (45) during the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

4. (119) Chase Thomas, OLB, Stanford. Thomas can play ILB too. If Thomas is not there then I think the Packers might look hard at ILB Kiko Alonso from Oregon, ILB Kevin Reddick from North Carolina, OLB Dion Jordan from Oregon, or maybe ILB Nico Johnson from Alabama.

Oct 6, 2012; Lubbock, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Kenny Stills (4) warms up before the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Jones AT

5. (153) Kenny Stills, WR, Oklahoma. This seems like the right place to take a WR. The Packers still have the best three-receiver rotation in the NFL, but with the departure of Donald Driver and the likely departure of Greg Jennings, the Packers will have to strengthen their WR corps to stay in the top overall receiving groups in the NFL. I also think TT might look at WR Marcus Davis from Virginia Tech or maybe Marquess Wilson from Washington State. If not then perhaps a big run-blocking TE like Michael Williams from Alabama.

6. (184) Quinton Dial, DE, Alabama. OK … so there are a bunch of Alabama players in my mock. Get over it. They had a team that was chock full of good players and bunch of great ones. Dial could help with run D, which is another obvious need for the Packers defense. Other potential picks here include DT Kwame Geathers from Georgia, DE Joe Kruger from Utah, or even LT Jordan Mills from Louisiana Tech.

November 3, 2012; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Quinton Dial (90) against the LSU Tigers during a game at Tiger Stadium. Alabama defeated LSU 21-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

7. (215) I figure this one’s probably been traded or turned into several picks by shrewd draft-day dealer Thompson. However, if the Packers are still on the board here I think they look at another CB. Woodson’s departure, even with the influx of talent from last year’s draft, will leave a hole. I think they might take steps to fill it with a CB like Brandon Lee from Miami, Marc Anthony from USC, or even a safety like DeVonte Holloman from South Carolina.

Ahh … conjecture. Gotta love it! I just named 30 players the Packers might take with 7 picks in the 2013 NFL Draft. Mathematically I stand almost no chance of getting more than even one of these picks correct. This might be the one I go back to in April and see how close I was. What do you think Packers Nation?

There will be many twists and turns on the road to the NFL draft. The Scouting Combine will definitely make or break some players, and we’ll be watching closely how things develop.  After the Combine there will be scores of Pro Days and individual workouts. 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. It should be fun. Besides … what else is there for a football-starved scribe like me to do this time of year?

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.

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