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Packers Draft Mailbag: Donte Moncrief Is Great Combo of Size & Speed

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Packers Draft Mailbag: Donte Moncrief Is Great Combo of Size & Speed

In the run-up to the NFL Draft, we are publishing a weekly “Mailbag” feature here at Cheesehead TV.

If there’s any question you’d like answered, tag your queries with the hashtag #PackersDraft on Twitter.

I'd have to agree, Vince, that Donte Moncrief is also one of my favorite wide receivers outside of the first round. He's the total package of both size and speed, which isn't something you see in many players. In a lot of wide receivers, you'll see either short and fast or tall and slow (relative to other elite athletes, of course). Moncrief had the third-fastest 40 time among players at his position at the NFL Combine, clocking in a 4.40 seconds despite being 6' 2" and 221 lbs.

What you also have to like about Moncrief is there's still plenty of room to grow. As a junior entry into the NFL Draft, he's just 21 years old and should benefit from some next-level coaching and quarterback play. During his time at Mississippi, Moncrief never worked with an NFL-caliber quarterback. If he's paired with a QB like Aaron Rodgers and a position coach like Edgar Bennett in his pro career, look out.

From a pure talent standpoint, you could argue that there is a very steep dropoff from North Carolina's Eric Ebron to the next tier of tight ends that includes Texas Tech's Jace Amaro and Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins, among others. As a player that averaged over 15 yards per catch last season, there are very few tight ends that offer the receiving threat that Ebron presents. Something you don't hear a lot about are the character concerns that Ebron may or may not possess as suggested by well-connected NFL Draft analyst Tony Pauline in his latest podcast, citing sources that say Ebron is a "high-maintenance" and me-first "primadonna."

The reason don't hear a lot about such concerns is because no coaches or teammates want to go on record talking poorly about someone from their program. It's up to the Packers to determine if these conerns are overrated or if accurate, his talent trumps any baggage he might bring. In many ways, Ebron could very much be a Jermichael Finley clone, from both a talent and personality perspective. For what it's worth, neither Amaro nor Seferian-Jenkins are choir boys either. Both have been suspended in college. More on the safety position in the next question.

Sometimes I wonder if the Deone Bucannon questions I receive a self-fulfilling prophecy of being such an outspoken advocate for him. If you're a regular reader of this column of follow me on Twitter, you know that not only do I not think there's a dropoff from Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to Bucannon, I think the Washington State product is the best safety in this year's Draft class. He's the best combination of hard hitter and ballhawk of players at his position, and very worthy of being the first safety off the board, if you ask me.

C.J. Mosley is a very difficult player to get a gauge on because of the injury rumors, which may or may not have merit. Mosley has denied that there are any "red flags," but you wonder whether it could be a situation where if there's smoke, there's fire. You can bet all NFL teams, including the Packers, put Mosley through a thorough medical examination and have access to any X-rays and scans they could possibly want. Only they know the truth. If truly healthy, Mosley is also worth the 21st overall pick in the Draft.

My answer to the question, as its stated, is neither. While Packers coach Mike McCarthy seems to enjoy the challenge of developing young quarterbacks, I think there's other options in this year's draft class that don't have the bust potential of Thomas. As a three-year starter at Virginia Tech, Thomas had ample opportunity to improve over the course of his college career and just seemed to stagnate. While he has some impressive physical traits, I think Thomas will continue to struggle at the NFL level.

As for Taliafero, being a late-round or perhaps undrafted prospect, I suppose you can't rule anything out. But I know we have him listed as a running back in our forthcoming NFL Draft guide, and that's where I'd venture to guess he fits in the NFL. At 6' 0" and 229 lbs., Taliafero is on the heavy side but based on his 40 time of 4.58 seconds at the Combine, he would seem to have the speed necessary to stick at halfback.

Yes, safety is definiltey No. 1 with no clear-cut starter opposite Morgan Burnett, but it's far from the only need in Green Bay. They could also use an upgrade at inside linebacker as A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones just seem to provide a consistently pedestrian level of play.

On the offensive side of the football, the Packers stand to give Aaron Rodgers another weapon on the offensive side of the football, which could come in the form of either a tight end or a wide receiver. And with Evan Dietrich-Smith departing in free agency, center has emerged as a need too.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RC Packer Fan's picture

If you can compare Donte Moncrief to a current NFL WR, who would you compare him too?

Another WR I like is Jordan Mathews. He'll be in the 2nd round mix. He kind of reminds me of a Jordy Nelson.

Stroh's picture

Just my opinion, but I think a Jordy comparison makes a lot of sense. He's very similar size, slightly better speed and athleticism but also a physically imposing WR. Like Jordy he has to refine his route running and some other skills. But he has #1 WR ability. Maybe not quite that of Megatron, Andre Johnson or Marshall, but just a level below that kind of elite #1 WR ability, which is where I put Jordy.

If you've been paying attention I've been pushing Moncrief pretty hard as a possible Packers draft pick. Was thinking possibly in the 3rd, but that now seems unlikely. I would not be at all upset if Thompson took him in the 2nd with our own pick. If he is in an advantageous position on a good team he has Huge Upside.

I would rather have Moncrief over a few of the 1st rd WR's and I would take him over any of the 2nd rd WR in this draft. Only WR I would take before Moncrief are Watkins and Evans. CBS thinks he might be a better player than Watkins or Lee. Not quite as explosive but a better overall player. High praise indeed.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I know you have been high on Moncrief for a while. I haven't seen enough of him yet to make a full comparison.

I like everything I have heard of him. I really do. I just haven't seen him enough yet.

CBS has him as the 11 best WR, and 67 overall.

I wouldn't have a problem in taking him with the 2nd round. If they want a WR in the 2nd-3rd round they should be able to find a good one.

gbslapshot's picture

After watching his highlight video my first impression of Moncrief is he reminds me of Andre Johnson.

Stroh's picture

That was kinda my first impression to, but I didn't want to go overboard. Figured Jordy was good as far as talent level and upside, but Moncrief's size, speed and athleticism does bring Johnson to mind.

RC Packer Fan's picture

What have you been hearing on Bucannon? I love him. However all the mocks and ratings that I have seen, he is in the 2nd - 3rd round area.

I would love it if the Packers could get CJ Mosley in the 1st and Bucannon in the 2nd.

4thand1's picture

Everyone would love that. If Ebron is there at 21, TT will take him.

MarkinMadison's picture

Eh, we don't know that yet. Finley was a 3rd. Jordy and Cobb were both obtained in the 2nd.

4thand1's picture

Yes, but Ebron won't make it to the 2nd or 3rd round.

Stroh's picture

According to JerseyAl who has a packer site, Ebron is a TOol. Worse than the original TO as far as attitude. Take him out of consideration in Rd 1 if that's the case.

RC Packer Fan's picture

What's funny, is I haven't heard anything about him having a bad attitude or anything until this week.

I would have thought if he had that bad of an attitude we would have heard it before recently...

Stroh's picture

Seems its just starting to surface now... This is the 2nd time I've heard it tho, so I'm taking it more seriously each time. 1st time I just stored it away, but hearing it again is making me take notice.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, that is interesting. This is the 2nd time I have heard it as well..

Its just interesting that its mostly just coming out now though. If it was that bad I would have thought we would have heard more before.

PackerBacker's picture

Look where he's coming from, though. When you are at a smaller school and you are a phenomenal player you can get away with crap that you couldn't at a larger school where you aren't the star. Dayne got away with a lot of crap at UW because he was a Heisman talent.

My guess is that TT or his guys interview him and get a feel for his personality. They've talked to enough draft picks to see if a guy is a douche.

RC Packer Fan's picture

We were talking about Eric Ebron. He played at North Carolina. I wouldn't classify that as a small school.

CaptainLou's picture

Is it me, or is OT a sneaky big need? Both Bulaga and Sherrod will be FAs after this season, and I'd be hesitant to give either of them a contract given their injury histories (particularly Bulaga). Plus, Barclay is a great #6 OL but he's not starting-quality on the outside. So is one year's time, is could be Bakhtiari and nobody else at OT. I'm thinking we should use a 2nd- or 3rd-rounder at that spot for the RT of the future. What do you think?

4thand1's picture

Health is the key. There will be plenty of cash available next year too.

Jordan's picture

OT probably is a need. But you can't keep having do-overs in the draft.....otherwise you can't get the other positions--like safety, ILB, TE, NT, WR, CB.....unless you do it through free agency. And TT doesn't like going to free agency unless he has to.

If for some reason Bulaga or Sherrod don't really warrant a big contract----TT may have to resign one of them anyway and perhaps overpay. It's unfortunate when you use 2 first rounders on OT and there's uncertainty with both of them.

I think the other needs outweigh the need at OT this year. Maybe take a flyer on a 5th round OT, but rounds 1-4 really need to go elsewhere as the Packers have needs for 2014...imo.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

GB has an option on Sherrod after this upcoming season. They can exercise the option for 2015 by paying the average of the 3rd through 25th highest paid tackles (not sure if that means all tackles or just right or left tackles, depending on where he plays). I did the math on the option some time ago using last year's figures for tackles and I posted it several months ago. It comes out to between $5 and $6 million depending on whether its for all tackles or just left tackles. Sherrod would have to blossom or at least play pretty well for the option to be a factor, but it might be leverage if he plays really well in negotiating a long term contract, as the packers could use it the way teams use Franchise or transition tags. If he busts, it wouldn't matter. GB can always try to negotiate an extension too.

That being said, I agree with you, and note that on many big boards there are a lot of ROTs rated as top 100 prospects (Drafttek has 11 ROTs listed in the top 120 prospects). It's a deep draft for ROT, apparently. I was a bit more concerned when I thought GB would re-sign EDS, since GB would be paying good sized $ to EDS, Lang, and Sitton with Bulaga in a contract year.

This article also provides some supporting evidence as to why trading down in the 1st might make some sense. Trading down to 35 with Cleveland might net their pick #3 in the 3rd round (#71 overall). Some friends of mine have argued that GB might still get Shazier, Fuller, Tuitt, etc., at 35, and still have pick #s 53, 71, 85, 98 and 117, etc. That would make it easier to draft a Deone Buchanon, or Donte Moncrief, Mewhort or some others without reaching. I myself think that one of a group of players that includes Ha-Ha, Mosley, Nix, Gilbert, and maybe Ebron will be available at #21, and maybe one falls to #26, 28, or 29 should TT be able to swing a trade back just a few spots later and net a pick in a 90s or so. It would be hard for me were I the GM to pass on Ha-Ha or Mosley, maybe Nix too. Fortunately, GB has TT, not me, making these decisions. (The last sentence is practically an invitation to criticize this post: Go ahead! Have fun!)

HankScorpio's picture

I would never argue with adding protection for Rodgers. There is nothing more important for the Packers. If there is value in drafting OL when the Packers are on the clock, they should jump on it.

However, there are more pressing needs right at the moment. So I sure wouldn't force it.

Stroh's picture

I've been pushing Moncrief HARD on comment boards here and another. I LOVE Moncrief and like the article he is my favorite WR in the draft! I wouldn't take him in the 1st but I would rather have him than a few of the 1st rd WR that might be available. Personally I don't see Thompson drafting a WR in rd 1, and I would even be surprised if he does in the 2nd. But I would not be upset if Thompson jumped on Moncrief in the 2nd either.

IMO he's got a lot of Jordy in him. Similar size and slightly better speed. Big, strong vertical deep threat. Needs to work on route running and refine his game but his upside is that of a very good #1 WR.

Getting Moncrief in the 3rd would be a steal. Last week CBS had Moncrief right behind Aberderris at about 100th overall, which IMO was much too low. Now has him #67 which is still a little below where I would say he fits.

Go Get Moncrief Thompson! Love to see him in Green and Gold!

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yup, I know you have liked him for a while.

I don't think Thompson will draft a WR in the 1st, however what if this happens.
Ebron, Clinton-Dix, Mosely, Pryor are all gone. Thompson tends to take the best player available with an eye on need. If Marqise Lee is available at 21 and he is the best player available. I can see him taking him.

I don't think they will draft a WR in the 1st. He knows he can find good players in the 2nd and beyond. I just see a scenario where they could draft a WR in the 1st.

Stroh's picture

I would still take Shazier or Hageman at #21 over Lee, then take Moncrief in the 2nd. I don't like him much. Probably just me, but he just doesn't interest me.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I would take Shazier. Hageman, I just am not sold on him. Also with them signing Peppers and Guion, I don't see them going DL in the 1st this year.

Another option would be Dee Ford. He is an explosive Pass rusher and they need more pass rush.

When I watch Lee, something about him to me feels like a Thompson type of WR.

Basically though, I was just saying that I can see some scenario's where they would possibly take a WR in the first.

TommyG's picture

I wonder who is going to play safety?

PackerBacker's picture

Lord, isn't that the question on everyone's mind.

PackerBacker's picture

Other than Burnett, I'd think they go into camp with a competition between Richardson, Hyde, and a draft pick. But I wouldn't mind them picking up a cheap(er) FA like Clemmons (Dolphins) for competition.

RC Packer Fan's picture

What is the story on Clemons? No one has signed him yet to my knowledge. He hasn't had a lot of visits either from what I have heard.
Why hasn't he signed with anyone yet?

packsmack's picture

Give me Jordan Matthews 8 days a week. I'd take him over any WR in the draft.

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