With the 28th selection in the first round of #MockFour mock draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
If you don’t know what #MockFour is, I highly suggest checking out their website. In a nutshell, it’s a collection of 32 bloggers and Twitter personalities representing every NFL team taking part in an entire seven-round mock draft through Twitter by following the hashtag #MockFour.
For the second consecutive year, Zach Kruse and myself are happy to be representing the Green Bay Packers, making selections as if we are playing the role of general manager Ted Thompson and the rest of the Packers braintrust.
What makes it really exciting and really an honor is the other great NFL Draft analysts taking part in #MockFour such as Russ Lande of the Sporting News representing the Oakland Raiders, Chris Steuber––director of player personnel for the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League––representing the Philadelphia Eagles, Cecil Lammey of ESPN Radio in Denver representing the Broncos, Cheesehead TV’s own Andrew Garda representing the New York Jets, Michael Schottey, Sigmund Bloom and Matt Miller all of Bleacher Report representing the Lions, Steelers and Chiefs respectively. And that’s just to name a few.
Getting back to the selection of Hightower, we thought he fit the bill of the “best player available,” a philosophy the Packers stick to almost religiously to procure new talent.
Hightower played primarily inside linebacker for the Crimson Tide and was a captain for arguably one of the best defenses in NCAA history in 2011, one that also won the national championship.
To add to his versatility, Hightower also was utilized as an edge pass rusher for Alabama and performed well enough to suggest that he could have a future as a 3-4 outside linebacker in professional football.
Whether he’s a better inside or outside linebacker is something the Packers would have to find out once they bring him into town and see what kind of talent they have on their hands.
Hightower was simply too good to pass up. If the Packers do end up drafting him, it could be a case of “Pick him now, see where he fits in later.”
We were ready to select South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore, but he came off the board one pick before the Packers selected at 27th overall by the New England Patriots.
The other players we considered taking were Boise State outside linebacker Shea McClellin and Connecticut defensive lineman Kendall Reyes, but in the end, we didn’t think either was as solid as Hightower.
The Minnesota Vikings offered us the seventh pick in the second round (39th overall) and the third pick in the fourth round (98 overall), which we considered because the Packers actually would have come out significantly ahead in the trade value chart, but we didn’t think we’d get nearly as quality a player at 39 as we would have with Hightower.
The Packers still have major needs to fill on the defensive line, safety and perhaps even outside linebacker if Hightower plays only on the inside. Hopefully we’ll be able to address those needs later in #MockFour.