It’s nearly impossible to predict how the draft will unfold. Every year provides plenty of surprise selections, last minute trades, and teams reaching to fill a need, and ultimately, screwing up everybody’s draft boards.
All we know as Packers fans is that Ted Thompson will select the player best available on his board. This should provide us some reassurance. Our team is in good hands — even if we don’t completely understand the science behind his methods. However, Thompson’s approach does make it difficult to conduct a feasible Packers’ mock draft, but alas, we try anyway.
Instead of being concerned with trying to get this one right and pinpoint who Thompson may select in each round, let’s do something different. Let’s pretend this year’s draft works out perfectly for the Packers. Everything falls their way and the players they target high on their board come right to them at the end of each round.
What would this draft even look like for Green Bay? This is even difficult to figure out, right?
But let’s give it a shot anyway — and with the caveat that this is just my best guess based on reading experts’ analyses of these players and where various mock drafts around the Internet have these players placed.
Round 1 – Datone Jones , DE, UCLA, 6-4, 283 pounds
What’s not to like about this pick? Jones played 3-4 defensive end in college and was very productive his senior year, recording 19 tackles for a loss and 6.5 sacks. Jones has great length and size to play on the edge and played very well against the run throughout college, and he has the frame to add a little more weight and bulk up without losing any burst. Jones also offers some inside pass rush ability, giving Green Bay an every-down defensive lineman (something they’ve been desperately missing since Jenkins departed). With B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett entering contract seasons and Jerel Worthy likely missing a significant amount of next season due to injury, the Packers’ top priority heading into this draft is strengthening their defensive line. Here is an instance where need and value meet and the Packers get one of the top 3-4 defensive ends in the draft.
Round 2 - D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina, 5-10, 208 pounds
Swearinger is electric. This guy really packs a punch, and his high-motor makes him a ball of energy on the field. He could bring a physical presence to the Packers’ defense they were desperately missing last season. Swearinger lacks ideal size for a safety, but he makes up for it with good agility and quickness. He’s a solid tackler, can play in the box in run support, and knows how to deliver a hit (check out some of his college highlights). His coverage skills are also solid, and if he was only a few inches taller, he would most likely be a first round pick. This could be the steal of the draft.
Round 3 – Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford, 5-9, 214 pounds
Here Green Bay gets their running back. A disappointing NFL Combine has dropped Taylor significantly on many draft boards. He posted a slow 4.76 40 time, which led many to wonder if Taylor has the explosiveness to be a productive back in the NFL. However, Taylor did improve his 40 to 4.63 at his Stanford Pro Day, and his production in college speaks for itself—rushed for 1,530 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior. Taylor also looked like the best back at the Senior Bowl, and his college game tape shows a back who has a natural knack for finding holes and making quick cuts. Taylor won’t wow anybody with his explosiveness and he isn’t great at any one aspect of the position, but he does do everything well and is a balanced runner. He is one of the best pass blocking running backs in this year’s draft — one reason I think the Packers will target him — and he can also be productive as a receiver. At the third round, Taylor will provide great value for Green Bay and his balance will compliment Dujuan Harris’s explosive running style.
Round 4 – David Quessenberry, OL, San Jose St., 6-5, 302 pounds
Quessenbery is one of the more versatile offensive linemen in this year’s draft. He spent most of his time at San Jose State playing left tackle, but Quessenbery is projected by some scouts as a guard or center in the NFL. Many see Quessenberry able to play any of the five offensive line positions, which would be a huge asset to Green Bay. Maintaining offensive line depth was one of the major struggles for the Packers last season and really came to hurt the team when Bryan Bulaga went down halfway through the season. Drafting Quessenberry would give Green Bay a player who could provide depth at both tackle and guard positions.
Round 5a – Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall, 6’3’’, 210 pounds
Maybe Dobson won’t be here at the end of round five, but if he is, the Packers would find a lot of value this late in the draft (something Thompson is known for). Dobson’s tall frame makes him a good candidate as an outside vertical receiver in a pass-oriented offense. Dobson didn’t post great college numbers, but he possesses the physical tools to be a real weapon, especially down in the red zone. Dobson would provide a different type of receiver than is currently on Green Bay’s roster and would add depth to the roster after losing Jennings and Driver this offseason.
Round 5b – Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss, 6’3’’, 250 pounds
The Packers need to add depth at outside linebacker. I still believe Nick Perry can do well starting opposite Clay Matthews, so this is why I have the Packers waiting this long in the draft to select another pass rusher. Collins doesn’t strike me as an every down outside linebacker. He struggles holding the edge against the run and lacks the strength to break through double-teams. However, Collins is quick and plays with energy. He can get to the quarterback and would make a great pass rushing specialist and situational player. The Packers could rotate him in on third downs to provide some extra juice in the pass rush.
Round 6 – Ryan Otten, San Jose St., TE, 6-5, 230 pounds
Otten was a productive receiver at San Jose State and would give the Packers another receiving option at tight end. With Finley entering the final year of his contract and his future status as a Packer in question, it would be a good idea for Green Bay to find another receiving threat at the position. Even if Finley stays with Green Bay beyond next season, Otten would enable the Packers to utilize more two tight end sets in the passing game.
Round 7 – T.J. Johnson, South Carolina, C/G, 6-4, 310 pounds
Johnson has a good frame, but lacks athleticism to be a starter in the NFL. Johnson would add good depth at the interior line and could be a player Green Bay develops over the next few years into something more than just a backup.
There it is. Let me know what you think. Where did I get it wrong? Where did I get it right, in your opinion? Offer any suggestions on picks you would change. It will be interesting to see next week if any of the picks hit close to home.