Green Bay Packers Draft: Pre-Combine Rankings for Positions of Need
By Dan Dahlke
The NFL Combine gets underway this week, which marks the official start of NFL Draft season. While hundreds of players arrive in Indianapolis to showcase their athletic ability to 32 teams, the Green Bay Packers will gather what information they can to build their draft board.
The Packers have plenty of needs on their roster to address this spring. The following is a brief look at the 2016 draft class, arranged in order by positions of greatest need on Green Bay’s roster, starting with inside linebacker.
Need #1 – Inside Linebacker
- Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame (6-3, 240)
- Myles Jack, UCLA (6-1, 245)
- Reggie Ragland, Alabama (6-1, 259)
- Darron Lee, Ohio State (6-1, 235)
- Su’a Cravens, USC (6-1, 225)
- Joshua Perry, Ohio State (6-4, 254)
- Kentrell Brothers, Missouri (6-1, 249)
- Beniquez Brown, Mississippi State (6-1, 238)
- Deion Jones, LSU (6-1, 219)
- Blake Martinez, Stanford (6-2, 239)
The Breakdown: With elite talents like Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack headlining a very good linebacker group and another dozen or so starting-caliber players at the position, it was difficult to narrow down the list to just ten players.
Realistically, Reggie Ragland and Darron Lee will be the first linebackers within reach for the Packers. One of them could fall to Green Bay with the 27th overall pick. And although I like Ragland better as an inside linebacker, there’s a good chance Lee leap-frogs him in the first round if he puts up outstanding workout numbers at the Combine, as many suspect he will.
Perry and Brothers are smart, tough players with excellent football instincts. They’ll both be legitimate starters in the NFL and should be serious considerations for Green Bay at the end of the second round.
I like Brown, Jones, and Martinez as round three options for the Packers. Other guys like Antonio Morrison, Tyler Matakevich, and Jared Norris could also get a look in the middle rounds of the draft, but I couldn’t quite find a spot for them in the top ten.
Most Overrated: Scooby Wright
Wright is the perfect example of box score scouting. A lot of people are high on him because of the incredible production he had as a sophomore in 2014, where he led the nation in tackles and recorded 14 sacks. However, the things that made the former Arizona linebacker successful in college may not translate well to the NFL.
On film, I see a tough player, but I just don’t see a next-level athlete. He’s a major liability in coverage and doesn’t move well in space. He’s primarily a down-hill player, which can be effective in a specific role, but this doesn’t make him the well-rounded linebacker teams look for at the position in the NFL–not to mention his extensive injury history.
Most Underrated: Beniquez Brown
I love what Brown brings to the field. Watch any Mississippi State game and you’ll see Brown in the middle of the action. He’s smart, tough, and athletic–everything you want in an inside linebacker prospect.
He may not make all of the splash plays of the elite linebackers in this class, but a team could select the former Bulldog late on day two of the draft and immediately plug him into their starting lineup.
Next: Need #2 - TE