The Pre-Free Agency 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. Draft season is in full swing with the Scouting Combine complete and Pro Days going on constantly. 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 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 Johnathan Cyprien, Safety, Florida International
FanSided analysis: Johnathan Cyprien is a fascinating safety prospect that is getting recognition as the second-ranked player at his position. Cyprien is viewed a borderline first-round prospect, but not every team runs a coverage scheme like the Packers. For Green Bay, Cyprien is a beautiful fit that would solve a lot of their questions at the safety position. Johnathan Cyprien is certainly a name to keep an eye on.
…and he spells his first name a little bit differently too, but I don’t think the Packers go with Mr. Cyprien in the first round. No way. No how. No disrespect intended whatsoever- Cyprien has helped himself immensely with his Senior Bowl and Combine work, but let’s think this through.
In my opinion, the Packers needs do not exclude safety and / or defensive secondary players. We know that Nick Collins’ forced retirement left a hole. Woodson’s release left another one. Now the Packers have definitely helped themselves over the last few drafts with new secondary choices. Some or even most of them look to have been good investments, but going DB in round one this year just doesn’t make sense to me. The Packers need O line, D line, and RB help more than they need a small-school safety with average size and only recent cred as a potential high draft pick. Previously mentioned safeties Eric Reid (LSU) and T.J. McDonald (USC) are both bigger, faster, and played longer in big-time programs. Cyprien may end up going as high as round two, but I don’t believe it will be to the Packers.
In the last mock draft I posted a couple of weeks ago I ran through 7 rounds of Packers draft picks with the players I thought they should take in each round and some alternates. This time around we’ll focus on the positions the Packers need to address and some potential solutions for those needs.
Offensive Line. The Packers most obvious and glaring need is help for the offensive line. You’ve all seen us praise Barrett Jones (Alabama) as the Packers’ preferred first round pick several times. Jones seems to have dropped on some draft boards, but he’s still the guy with the most experience playing multiple O line positions in a winning program. Doesn’t that sound like a guy the Packers want and need? Of course there are other O linemen who could help the Packers. Lots of talented tackles, guards, and centers are coming out.
Tackles: It’s highly unlikely that any of the top OTs make it down to 26 in the first round. Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M), Eric Fisher (Central Michigan), and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) will probably all be gone. That will leave the likes of D.J. Fluker (Alabama), Menelik Watson (FSU), Jake Long (Oregon), and Brennan Williams (North Carolina) as the next few guys in line. I don’t necessarily think any of them other than Fluker (a more natural guard than tackle) are first round material, but any of them would be decent second round picks and steals below that.
Guards: The top guards, like Chance Warmack (Alabama) and Jonathan Cooper (North Carolina) are probably off the board when the Packers pick in round one. Dallas Thomas (Tennessee) and Larry Warford (Kentucky) seem to be the next-best available guards but would be reaches in the first round. Thomas played some tackle but he’s a natural guard. Travis Frederick (Wisconsin) is also a consideration but he’s definitely not a first-rounder.
Centers: The top center…you guessed it: Barrett Jones (Alabama). He’s the only center who is rated a first-rounder by more than a couple of the prospect graders and most believe he’ll be there for the Packers at 26. That’s not to say he’s the only center who could help the Packers, but his versatility sets him apart and I still believe he’s that guy. Other centers who might step in and contribute if drafted in later rounds include David Quessenberry (San Diego State), Dalton Freeman (Clemson) and Braden Hansen (BYU). Travis Frederick (above) is a hybrid C/G.
Defensive Line. The Packers need help on their defensive line as well. There is talent among the big guys now, but that talent is not living up to its billing and too many teams have been running the ball for way too many yards against the Packers D. In a 3-4 defense the defensive line isn’t expected to make as many plays on the ball but in the defense the Packers play 3-4 is a starting point only. Better defensive linemen are out there. Plenty of them.
Defensive Ends: Let’s not kid ourselves. The top five DEs coming out this year will probably all be off the board before the Packers pick. Ziggy Ansah (BYU), Bjoern Werner (FSU), Damontre Moore (Texas A&M), Alex Okafor (Texas), and Margus Hunt (SMU) are not all certain first-rounders but there’s not much doubt among the experts about their draft stock. Datone Jones (UCLA), Corey Lemonier (Auburn), Sam Montgomery (LSU) or Tank Carradine (FSU) might be able to help. None of these guys are rated in the first round though.
Defensive Tackles / Nose Tackles: The list of DTs and NTs coming out is top-heavy (pun intended- lighten up!). Again the best of these guys will probably be picked clean before pick 26 in the first. Star Lotulelei (Utah), Sharif Floyd (Florida), Sheldon Richardson (Missouri), and Jonathan Hankins could all be top 25 picks. For the Packers at 26 to take Jonathan Jenkins (Georgia), Kawann Short (Purdue), Sylvester Williams (North Carolina), or Bennie Logan (LSU) might be a move they would make. Jenkins in particular is a load and would be a great value if available in the second round. My personal favorite is Jesse Williams (Alabama). Check out his back story here.
Running Backs. The RB position has been lacking in Green Bay for many years. Quick- name a Packers running back who has been able to sustain even a consistent performance through an entire season. Can’t do it, can you? Now that’s not all the fault of the RBs who have been toting the rock for the Pack, but it’s a big part of the problem. Yes…the Packers offense is a pass-first scheme. Yes…Aaron Rodgers can win a lot of games without a strong run game. But imagine a balanced offense with Rodgers and a consistent, even above average, run game. Packer Nation beams at the thought!
Running Back: Even the Eddie Lacy (Alabama), generally considered the highest-rated RB in the 2013 draft, could be available for the Packers at 26 depending on whose mock you’re looking at. It’s not Ted Thompson’s style to draft a RB in the first round, but he surprises me every year so I can’t completely ignore the fact that Lacy would definitely be a great addition to the Packers. That said, Joseph Randle (OSU), Montee Ball (Wisconsin), Christine Michael (Texas A&M) and Mike Gillislee (Florida) all have the size and speed combination the Packers lack. Are there any first rounders here? Lacy almost certainly, but does Ted pull that trigger? We’ll see Packer Nation!
Whew! Is that enough to chew on? We know there will be many twists and turns on the road to the NFL draft. The Scouting Combine has made and broken some players. Pro Days will bring redemption for some and scorn for others. Free agency has started and who knows what moves TT and MM will pull off? Not me! Will they land FA RB Steven Jackson? If they do, will that fill the void at RB? 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 good, clean, wholesome fun. Besides…what else is there for a football-starved scribe like me to do this time of year? What do you think Packer Nation? Tell us!
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