Round 4, Pick 133: RB Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Other possibilities: John Kelly, Akrum Wadley.
The Packers will likely take a running back before this group goes. The Packers like their Pac-12 prospects and Ballage has better size than Kelly and better history as a receiver.
I’m a huge fan of what the Packers have going on in their backfield right now, even if that makes me a minority. A healthy trio of Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams has everything covered and can produce at a high level. The idea of adding Ballage to this group is something I didn’t want to miss in this mock.
Ballage would be asked to do some of the things Montgomery does. Catch passes, move out of the backfield and potentially return kicks. I think Montgomery can be above-average at those things if used properly and Ballage can be a nice spell in that role. If the holes at receiver aren’t filled and Montgomery has to move back there for more snaps then Ballage can become the main pass-catcher out of the backfield without a problem.
The Packers showed their offensive line was a strength last year. Right now they need to get as many young backs in as possible (guys they like, obviously) and develop them while the line is still this good.
Ballage has a game that can become a true weapon if he pans out. He has very little risk at this point in the draft and a great opportunity to be a steal.