Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports photograph

The Packers Address Defense in FanSided's Latest Mock Draft

FanSided‘s NFL draft site, NFL Mocks, just released their latest mock for the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

It has been a recent trend in mock drafts around the internet that the Green Bay Packers will select a tight end with their first pick in May, but Erik Lambert of NFL Mocks believes the Packers may go in a different direction with their top pick.

With the 16th overall pick (draft order based on current standings), Lambert has Green Bay taking Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.

The offense seems to be getting along just fine without Jermichael Finley.  On the other hand their pass defense could use more help.  Though he’s third coming off the board, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is an explosive corner who can make quarterbacks pay if they attack him too often.

Lambert makes a great point that the Packers offense seems to be fine, especially when Aaron Rodgers returns under center. It’s been obvious this year that defense is a far greater concern going into next season.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) breaks up a pass intended for Virginia Cavaliers running back Khalek Shepherd (23. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) breaks up a pass intended for Virginia Cavaliers running back Khalek Shepherd (23. Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback could be a position of great need if the Packers fail to re-sign Sam Shields in the offseason or if they decide to release 31-year old Tramon Williams to save cap space.

Ekpre-Olomu is one of the better cover corners in this year’s draft class. Currently, NFL Draft Scout has the junior out of Oregon as the second-ranked corner going into the draft, behind only Michigan State’s Darqueze DennardBleacher Report ranks Ekpre-Olomu as the third best defensive back currently in college football.

Ekpre-Olomu is a second-team All-American and an all-conference first-team choice by the Pac-12 coaches the past two seasons. This year, he finished second on Oregon in tackles (78) and interceptions (3), and has been used all over the field, whether it be lined up on the outside against the competition’s top receiver or in the slot to be used in run support.

River Cracraft (84) is tackled by Oregon Ducks cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) and linebacker Tyson Coleman (33) and linebacker Derrick Malone (22). Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports photograph

At 5-10, 190 pounds, Ekpre-Olomu doesn’t have ideal size for an NFL defensive back, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in aggressiveness and sound technique.

Ekpre-Olomu is one of the best tackling corners in this year’s draft class, has decent speed (4.52), and is effective in either man or zone coverage. He’s one of the more well-rounded players at the position and will be an asset to any team that drafts him.

The knock on Ekpre-Olomu is that he doesn’t make a lot of big plays, like Oklahoma’s Justin Gilbert, for example, or have top-end speed, like Ohio State’s Bradley Roby. But Ekpre-Olomu also doesn’t give up a lot of big plays or miss tackles and is a very reliable and smart player.

Even if the Packers keep their cornerback position largely intact going into next season, drafting a top-tier defensive back in the first round is never a bad idea. You can never have enough players that can cover and are sure-tacklers in the modern NFL.

Green Bay also may look at addressing safety, inside linebacker, or defensive line in the first round. Basically, they should draft the best defensive player available in the first round because they need depth at every position on this side of the ball.

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