At least, that's what a survey of 84 Internet mock drafts tells us.
Every year around this time I tabulate a sampling of mock drafts to see who they have the Packers selecting using the database on WalterFootball.com.
The name appearing most often was Cox who was listed as going to the Packers in 10 of the 84 mocks.
Cox is a 6-4, 295 pound defensive tackle coming out of college after his junior year. He was a disruptive force at Mississippi State who had 56 tackles, 14.5 for a loss and 5.0 stats this past season, but the question is whether he's 3-4 material.
There's no doubt the Packers need help along the defensive line, especially from a pass rush standpoint. But compared to starters B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett who run 340-plus pounds, Cox isn't anywhere near their size.
By the same token, the Packers don't need all of their defensive linemen to be size of Raji and Pickett. Cullen Jenkins is listed as being 305 pounds, albeit that's currently 10 pounds more than Cox.
What the Packers do need, however, is a first-round defensive lineman to be equally effective against both the run and the pass. Can Cox be an effective two-gap player that can engage offensive linemen in the run game? I'm not convinced, at least not yet.
Some might argue that Cox's pass rush is good enough to overcome any shortcomings against the run. But the Packers aren't usually a team to select a player with such flaws––or one that doesn't ideally fit their system––in the first round.
They'll take players with flaws on the second and third day of the Draft. Indeed, every player has flaws on the second and third days of the Draft. But they minimize risk in the first round.
If the Packers were to select Cox, it would be notable for being the second year in a row they took a player from Mississippi State in the first round, following offensive lineman Derek Sherrod a year ago.
The player appearing in the second-most mock drafts was Whitney Mercilus, a defensive end from Illinois that might play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense in the pros. He's also a junior entry into the NFL. He appeared in eight mocks.
To be sure, most of the people creating these mock drafts are not so-called experts, although a few high-profile mock drafts were included in the database, such as one from Wes Bunting of the National Football Post.
One purpose I think this survey does accomplish, however, is to get a rough idea of who might be around when the Packers select late in the first round.
Take all this information with a grain of salt. Here's last year's survey in which the majority selection was defensive lineman Cameron Heyward. Only a single mock draft had the Packers taking Sherrod in the February time frame.
In all, 30 different players were listed as being drafted by the Packers with the 28th selection in the second round. It's notable that 23 out of the 30 were defensive players.
Here's the breakdown:
- Fletcher Cox, defensive lineman, Mississippi State (appearing in 10 mock drafts)
- Whitney Mercilus, outside linebacker, Illinois (eight)
- Ronnell Lewis, outside linebacker, Oklahoma (seven)
- Andre Branch, outside linebacker, Clemson (six)
- Nick Perry, outside linebacker, USC (six)
- Zach Brown, inside linebacker, North Carolina (five)
- Melvin Ingram, outside linebacker, South Carolina (four)
- Jerel Worthy, defensive lineman, Michigan State (three)
- Michael Brockers, defensive lineman, LSU (three)
- Mark Barron, safety, Alabama (three)
- Lamar Miller, running back, Miami (three)
- Cordy Glenn, offensive lineman, Georgia (three)
- Those appearing in two mock drafts are: Jared Crick, Janoris Jenkins and Chase Minnifield
- Those appearing in only one mock draft are: Dre Kirkpatrick, LaVonte David, Vontaze Burfict, Dontari Poe, Peter Konz, Ryan Tannehill, David Wilson, Vinny Curry, Courtney Upshaw, Devon Still, Dont'a Hightower, Brandon Washington, Mike Adams and Quinton Coples
Photo courtesy of the Mississippi State Athletic Department.
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