The NFL Draft is in five days (approximately). Millions everywhere are trying to predict the move their team will make and how that move will effect them in the future and not-so-distant future. Countless mock drafts are out there right now and while each one offers something different, they all offer the same thing: there is no sure thing. The thing is a crapshoot. If you can predict what’s happening, you get mad props. But for now, it’s up to us bloggers to try to predict what’s going to go down. And we’ll do our best.
The Packers find themselves back in the top ten for the first time since 2006 when they selected linebacker A.J. Hawk. It appears with the switch to the 3-4 defense, the Packers will go defense again in the top 10. With Ted Thompson calling the shots, I wouldn’t rule anything out. If I’m calling the shots, I go for Brian Orakpo and pick him if he’s available. It’s no secret (or it would be if I posted more…I apologize) that I love Orakpo. Even if he is a workout warrior, I feel his skill set could transition very well into Dom Capers‘ 3-4 scheme. He gives the Packers a body opposite Aaron Kampman that can do serious damage to the quarterback. He wants the sacks, and he’ll get them. It will obviously take him time to develop, but the defense will need time to develop too, creating a great match.
After Orakpo, having B.J. Raji drop into the Packers’ lap would be nearly as good. Picking up Raji would be great for a currently-overmatched defensive line. Throwing his big body down in the trenches would clog space and free up Nick Barnett and whoever else plays in the middle for the Packers next year (Desmond Bishop? Brandon Chillar? A.J. Hawk?). There is question about Raji’s character and reported failed drug test at the combine which could deter Thompson who loves his high character guys. Also, many mocks have Raji going #8 to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The sexy mock draft pick for the Packers is Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins. It seems like nearly every mock has the Packers picking up the Buckeye with the “Al Harris and Charles Woodson are old; they need fresh blood” reasoning, ignoring the fact Tramon Williams had a great season in 2008 filling in for an injured Harris and Thompson drafted Pat Lee last year. We all remember how everyone had the Packers picking one of a plethora of cornerbacks last year. And what did they do? Traded out of the first round and picked wide receiver Jordy Nelson. I didn’t see that one coming. At all. I don’t really see that big of a reason for the Packers to pick Jenkins. If Orakpo and Raji are gone, then sure, Ted, go for it. But please don’t take Jenkins over one of those two.
If all three of the aforementioned players are gone, I see the Packers taking Florida State defensive end Everette Brown. He’s shooting up draft boards. In the later rounds on defense, Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson is an athletic freak and could definitely be a second round pick if his stock keeps dropping like I hear it is. At defensive tackle, Evander Hood, Ron Brace, and Sen’Derrick Marks are the top picks for the Packers, based on where they are projected to go, as late-first round or second-round picks. Tyson Jackson from LSU has had his name floated around the Packers due to his versatility on the defensive line, while Robert Ayers has been named as a possibility. Although with Ayers, we all remember what happened last time Thompson took a defensive lineman from Tennessee with a high pick…yeah, let’s not go there.
After Orakpo, none of the other highly touted linebackers (USC’s threesome, James Laurenaitis) really seem to fit the MO the Packers want to have their defense to have. Also, the secondary is ridiculously crowded, so I see Jenkins as the only legitimate pickup for that group. All of this being said, if the Packers go defense at #9, they better get a #98 jersey ready for Orakpo.