This week we featured the fourth installment of our NFL Draft Q&A series by hearing from three talented defensive players in Aaron Donald, Ahmad Dixon, and Josh Mauro. We also heard from early-round tight end Troy Niklas and versatile offensive lineman Anthony Steen.
Each player shared their thoughts with us on their strengths and weaknesses as an NFL prospect, what led them to this point in their lives, and how they believe they would fit with the Green Bay Packers.
If you missed these player interviews, here is a quick recap, but if you’d like to read more about what these players had to say we encourage you to click on the player link and read their entire interview.
Niklas is a tough, physical tight end prospect that excelled as both a run blocker and receiver in Notre Dame’s offense. The California native also is nephew of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews and second cousin to the Packers own Clay Matthews.
At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Niklas offers tremendous size for the position, and as a former linebacker, he brings a gritty defensive mindset to the tight end position. Niklas believes he’s a complete tight end that could develop into a force to be reckoned with at the next level.
There isn’t a bigger hitter in this draft class than Baylor’s Dixon. The former Bear doesn’t fear anything on the field and takes pride in bringing a physical presence to the safety position.
Dixon likes to model his game after great safeties like Ed Reed and Eric Berry, and brings a hard work ethic to training and studying film to better his game. The Texas native also believes he will be a caring, passionate, and respectful leader in the locker room for any team that drafts him.
Donald is the top interior pass rusher in this year’s draft class and could be an option for Green Bay with the 21st overall pick. The Pittsburgh native was dominant in college and was able to showcase his skills at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine.
Donald believes he’s scheme versatile between the 4-3 and 3-4 and would love the opportunity to play for Green Bay and be part of the franchise’s rich history. Donald also looks up to players like Warren Sapp and Geno Atkins, and feels honored to be compared to the Bengals’ Pro Bowl defensive tackle.
Mauro excelled as a 3-4 defensive end in Stanford’s defense. The Texas native believes he’d bring versatility to the Packers defensive line and would feel privileged to play for a franchise like Green Bay’s.
Mauro models his game after NFL 3-4 defensive ends like J.J. Watt and Justin Smith, and the former Cardinal defensive end also believes he’s underrated as a pass rusher. In general, Mauro also wants fans to know he’s willing to do anything to help his team win on Sunday.
Steen is a Mississippi native who grew up rooting for Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers during their run in the ’90s. Steen is a versatile offensive lineman who started three years at right guard for the Crimson Tide.
At Alabama, Steen was part of three national championship teams and blocked for some of the best running games in college football, including one featuring the Packers own Eddie Lacy in 2012.
Steen is also an avid hunter and a country boy who believes he’d fit in well up North in Green Bay.
To learn more about these players or watch them on film read their entire interviews by clicking on their player links.
Next week, we will hear from more talented draft prospects the Packers could consider in May – Louisville safety Hakeem Smith, Wake Forest Receiver Michael Campanaro, Louisville DE/OLB Marcus Smith, Syracuse defensive lineman Jay Bromley, and Boston College DE/OLB Kasim Edebali.