Nitschke of acmepackingcompany.com projects the Green Bay Packers, with their first round pick, will select …
Jarran Reed, Alabama, defensive tackle
Reed has climbed draft boards this year from being unranked by some early on to now a projected first-rounder (ranked among the top 5 DTs in the draft class). A great fit for the Packers 3-4 alignment, Reed is 6’3″ and 311 pounds with great strength. He simply eats up blockers and stuffs the run, something Dom Capers seems to prefer in his defensive tackles. Reed could very well be the best run-stopper in this year’s draft. He has great instincts and surprising quickness and athleticism for someone of his size, two things which allow Reed to slide out to defensive end when necessary. Scouts also rave about his instincts and balance, especially at the point of attack. The primary knocks on Reed are less than refined pass-rushing skills and a “motor” that isn’t always revving.
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As a believer that the front line dictates the quality of a defense, I like Reed as the Packers’ first-round pick. Reed might not be a stand-alone pass-rusher, but his presence will allow Ted Thompson to pass on re-signing the underwhelming B.J. Raji, and allow Capers more freedom in his use of his linebackers, especially if Clay Mathews makes the move back to the outside as an edge rusher. Reed’s presence would improve the Packers defense, making it more formidable up front.
Lombardiave quick reactions: It’s quite likely the Packers move on from both B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion. Those one-year contracts were put in place as incentives for both those players to prove themselves. Neither were spectacular this past season … but were steady. Ted Thompson may want to invest in younger players along that defensive line, especially in light of the fact that Datone Jones has just one year left on his contract. But then again, Thompson hasn’t been stellar in picking first round defensive linemen. D-line is an important need for the Packers, but does it trump needs at ILB and TE? We’ll see …
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