In Cheesehead TV's fifth annual pre-NFL Combine survey of internet mock drafts, Notre Dame defensive lineman Louis Nix III appeared more times than any other player as being selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 21st pick of the first round, being listed in 18 of 119 such predictions.
Nix is a junior entry for the NFL Draft and a 6-3, 340 lb. nose tackle that was a key piece on the Fighting Irish's 2012 team that played in the national championship game. His 2013 season was ended by a torn meniscus that ended his year after eight games.
In his breakout 2012 campaign, Nix made 50 tackles, 7.5 for a loss, two sacks, broke up five passes and forced a fumble on his way to being named a third-team All-American by CBSSports.com.
Despite missing five games in 2013, including Notre Dame's bowl game, Nix was still named first-team All-Independent selection by the media on the defensive line after making 27 tackles, two for a loss and broke up two passes.
Over at NFLDraftScout.com, Nix is compared to Packers defensive lineman B.J. Raji as the NFL player he most closely resembles, which probably plays into why he's so frequently projected as being taken by Green Bay in the draft. Raji is currently set to become a free agent in March and his return to Green Bay is iffy at best.
Nix definitely has a body and mass on par with Raji, but it's questionable whether his play-making ability is worthy of a first-round draft choice. Raji had 29 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks in three years in college, whereas Nix had just 14 for a loss and 2.5 sacks over the same time frame.
The selection of Nix would seem to fly in the face of the recent report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, who suggested the Packers are aimed at "getting more athletic and versatile along the defensive line."
It almost goes without saying, but take this exercise with a grain of salt. In four previous years of surveying mock drafts, not once has the player linked to the Packers most often been selected.
Just last year, center Barrett Jones was projected as being drafted by the Packers more than anyone else, and he wasn't selected until the fourth round. For what it's worth, running back Eddie Lacy tied for second in our 2013 mock draft survey and was picked by the Packers, but not until the second round after trading down twice.
More often than not, mock drafts have players taken at one of the biggest positions of need, and that's obviously an influence here, as many prognosticators see Raji, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson headed for free agency and the Packers potentially needing to fill the void.
All 119 mock drafts were listed among the database at WalterFootball.com, which included a range of mocks from well-regarded analysts such as Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Daniel Jeremiah and Rob Rang to amateur fan bloggers.
Results of the survey:
- Notre Dame defensive lineman Louis Nix III (18)
- Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro (15)
- Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, Louisville safety Calvin Pryor (10)
- Alabama safety Ha'Sean "Ha Ha" Clinton-Dix (nine)
- North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron (eight)
- Minnesota defensive lineman Ra'Shede Hageman (seven)
- Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert, Missouri defensive lineman Kony Ealy, Florida State defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan (four)
- Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan, Pittsburgh defensive lineman Aaron Donald, Washington tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby, Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier, Stanford linebacker Trent Murphy (three)
- Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandijo (two)
- Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard, Oregon State defensive lineman Scott Crichton, Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin, TCU cornerback Jason Verrett, Florida cornerback Louchiez Purifoy, Tennessee tackle Antonio Richardson, Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack, Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt, Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland, Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward (one)
Previous mock draft survey leaders