NFL Draft: Q&A with Draft Guru Tony Pauline

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South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7). Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

 

Q. What are your overall impressions of the 2014 draft class?

Pauline: The top of the draft is going to be offensive heavy. You got one potentially spectacular prospect in Jadeveon Clowney, and you got a bunch of good offensive tackles and a bunch of good junior quarterbacks.

Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack are up there, but I think they’re going to be underdrafted. I think Barr in any other year is a top-four choice. Clowney’s probably going to go not as early as he should either because of the fact that everybody needs a quarterback and he didn’t play too well last year.

After Clowney, the defensive end position really drops off. It’s a decent defensive tackle draft, but it’s not great at the top. It’s not a good draft in the secondary at all, but there’s tremendous depth at the receiver position. Overall, I think it’s a solid draft class. I don’t think it’s special, but you’re going to have to wait and see three years down the road to really know.

Q. Let’s turn to the Packers. Many fans want Green Bay to get another defensive playmaker in the draft. Do you think they can find one in the first round?

Pauline: Well, they need a pass rusher, interior defensive lineman, and safety. Your interior defensive lineman would be Louis Nix III, and if he gets back to playing [at] his 2012 form [he] is going to be a very good player. But he has to get his weight down and he’s got to get a little bit stronger at the point of attack. I think that would be a good guy to fit their system, and I think where they’re selecting is probably where Nix is going to go.

If they want to trade up and get a guy like Khalil Mack, I don’t know what the asking price is going to be, but that’s something they should look at because I think Mack has been a tremendous player for three years. If you go back to his sophomore film he was basically a pass rushing defensive end that terrorized players and then they had him stand up as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He’s really developed as a complete defender, but you would have to move up to get him.

The reach at No. 21 would be Calvin Pryor of Louisville. There is a lot to like about him. He’s a three down safety. He can play in zone, and you could put him over the slot receiver. You could use him as a traditional center fielder, but he’s not as polished as Nix and he has a lot more downside than Mack. So those are three options for the Packers in the first round.

Q. Do you think Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley could be a good fit for the Packers in the first round?

Pauline: Mosley could play in the Packers system. He is a very good, solid linebacker, but he’s not spectacular. He’s sort of a better version of Demeco Ryans. The advantage is Mosley is a three-down defender who can line up inside or outside.

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Tags: Green Bay Packers NFL Draft Tony Pauline

  • Luke Mills

    Fantastic article. Thank you for doing this. Really interesting stuff. The only guys I would also like Tony’s input on was Christian Jones and Kenny Ladler. I like them both in rounds 2-4.

    • Dan

      I know, Luke. I would have loved to have sat there and asked Tony about every single player in the draft. He is so knowledgeable about this stuff. You could try asking Tony on twitter @TonyPauline about his thoughts on Jones and Ladler. He’s pretty good about answering fans’ questions.

  • Mark Lampitoc

    Awesome read, hopefully we find the right guys for OUR system!

  • Peter Maiz

    Really comprehensive and Pauline really knows his stuff.

    • Dan

      He really does, Peter. Pauline has been watching and taking notes on these players since they were redshirt freshmen. His scope is impressive.