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Packers Draft Targets: The Baker's Dozen

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Packers Draft Targets: The Baker's Dozen

INDIANAPOLIS––If the Packers stay put at No. 28 overall in the NFL Draft in April––and there's no guarantee they will––there's 13 players I've identified that fit the criteria of being available and may interest the Packers.

All but one are on defense.

It's no surprise the Packers need help on defense. Ted Thompson preaches that he'll select the best available player, but with the talent they've accumulated on offense, it's becoming increasingly difficult to envision the Packers selecting a player on offense, even if they do believe one is the best player available.

The one exception might be center if Scott Wells leaves in free agency. And even if that does happen, the Packers might look for a short-term replacement in free agency.

With Green Bay needing help seemingly at every position on defense, there's very likely to be at least one player available that they both like and is still on their board.

Here's my baker's dozen of players that I think one of which will be wearing the green and gold come April...

  1. Peter Konz, center, Wisconsin––Arguably the best center in the Draft. Konz comes from a program known for churning out elite offensive linemen. He's also shown he can be effective on the move with the way the Badgers like to have their offensive linemen pull.
  2. Devon Still, defensive lineman, Penn State––After a tremendous senior season in which he was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year, Still is climbing up draft boards. He had 4.5 sacks as a senior, but even more impressive was his 17 tackles for a loss. Has the ability to be a three-down player.
  3. Michael Brockers, defensive lineman, LSU––He's got the size and athleticism you look for in an elite player, even though at 6-7, he's a little taller than most Packers defensive linemen. He came off the field a little more at LSU than would be expected of a first round draft choice.
  4. Dontari Poe, defensive lineman, Memphis––He's built from the exact same mold as B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, short yet stout players who are ideal for the Dom Capers defensive system. The issue with Poe is, if the Packers draft him, where will the pass rush come from? He's not a sack artist.
  5. Fletcher Cox, defensive lineman, Mississippi State––Cox is slightly underweight at a shade under 300 pounds, but he maximizes his size. He played both the run and the pass pretty well in college, but will he be able to do the same against bigger and better offensive linemen in the NFL?
  6. Jerel Worthy, defensive lineman, Michigan State––Similar to Cox, he's slightly undersized. He was downright dominant at times at Michigan State, but the knock against him is that his motor runs hot and cold. He might be a pass rush specialist until he figures out how to be reliable against the run in the NFL.
  7. Brandon Thompson, defensive lineman, Clemson––Might be the best marriage of run stuffer and pass rusher after Still. He's big enough at 314 pounds to hold up against the run and nimble enough to be a good pass rusher as well.
  8. Kendall Reyes, defensive lineman, Connecticut––Another guy who's slightly undersized and hasn't quite reached 300 pounds, but he's a late riser after a dominating performance at the Senior Bowl. If he can play against both the run and the pass like he did in Mobile, he can probably make it in a 3-4 defense.
  9. Whitney Mercilus, outside linebacker, Illinois––With both Courtney Upshaw and Melvin Ingram likely to be gone by 28, Mercilus might be the next best potential outside linebacker. There's concerns that he's a one-year wonder, but his big-play ability he displayed in 2011 is hard to deny. The 16 sacks and NCAA-leading nine forced fumbles are very impressive. He might be stiff, but he's still young enough to adapt.
  10. Nick Perry, outside linebacker, USC––Performed very well against Stanford tackle Jonathan Martin who's considered a first-round draft pick. The comparisons to Clay Matthews will always be there just because he's an outside linebacker from USC.
  11. Stephon Gilmore, cornerback, South Carolina––There's a lot of comparisons to Charles Woodson, and many of them are valid. Gilmore is a physical corner with size that can defend the slot and still has the speed to cover receivers downfield.
  12. Chase Minnifield, cornerback, Virginia––Has the size the Packers look for in their corners. If he has the speed to match it, he'll be highly regarded. It helps his cause that Virginia's defense greatly improved in his senior season. Son of former Browns corner Frank Minnifield.
  13. Mark Barron, safety, Alabama––Probably the only first-round safety. He's equally good in run support and dropping into coverage. Not afraid to mix it up with bigger guys. He can grab the interception and blitz and also cause havoc on the blitz as well.
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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Lou's picture

I really think that Gilmore would be a stud for the Pack, even though choosing him would make all the TT haters spontaneously combust. If I might be so impertinent, I'd like to add a couple names:
OLB Vinny Curry and OLB Andre Branch.

But overall, I'm thinking either Gilmore or Brandon Thomspon in the 1st and Bruce Irvin or John Massaquoi in the 2nd. Your thoughts?

ebongreen's picture

I remain interested to see what Vinny Curry (Marshall) does at the combine. From what I've read, his motor always runs hot, providing the kind of effort that Packers coaches and scouts love. I also thought he looked good at the Senior Bowl.

If he can perform the agility drills and look good as an OLB candidate, I can see the Packers picking him up, perhaps over Nick Perry though maybe not over Mercilus.

Bearmeat's picture

Yeah - Curry from Marshall and Brown from UNC. They're 2 OLB's I'd love to have.

From McGinn's piece on this it seems there are a bunch of DE/DT types that TT could choose from in rds 1/2.

Here's hoping Collins comes back. Wells is resigned. Sheilds and Tramon get back to form. BJ has a better year. And we get rid of Hawk.

DT/OLB in rds 1-3 baby!!

JerseyAl's picture

I see Brown as a 4-3LB only...

BubbaOne's picture

Would rather take C's Ben Jones in the 2nd or Philip Blake in the 3rd than Konz in the 1st.
Not sold on Perry (lacks passion and prefers playing DE).
Worthy, Mercilus, Thompson, and Reyes are 2nd rounders.
I think Barron after double hernia surgery goes in the 2nd. Some think he lacks coverage skills.

Love Gilmore.

Q's: W/ Stephen Hill running a 4.3 at 6'4" could he be BPA at pick 28? if Cordy Glenn is available at pick 28 does TT take him?

jay's picture

Poe short? The dude's 6'5"...

Oppy's picture

Maybe TT takes a shot at Darius Fleming if he's around in the mid to late rounds?

Seems like he'd be the kind of "value" pick that TT would be willing to go after.

Cole's picture

V. Curry in the first and D. Wolfe in the second. Then trade back up into the second to grab J. Crick.

Lou's picture

I like the idea of Curry in the 1st and a DL in the 2nd, but I think that's way too high for Wolfe. Perhaps someone like Billy Winn or Tyrone Crawford instead? Or a trade-up if Brandon Thompson starts to fall into the mid-2 range?

ted, of bill and ted's picture

wishlist...

brandon thompson in the first

bruce irvin in the second

i have no further wishes

Mojo's picture

Fletcher Cox in the first round. Trade all our other draft choices to move up to get Vinny Curry and Poe. TT can take the last day off. Pack win SB XLVII. Rinse and repeat for SB XLVIII. OK, I can dream, can't I?

sparkyo's picture

Brian, I'm no draft expert, but I wonder why there aren't more OLB's mentioned here. Maybe the DL guys this year have more quality at the 28th spot than the rush linebackers? I do know that bigger guys are typically prized in the early rounds of the draft because "you can't teach size." Maybe this is your outlook?

Still, given the Pack's nearly desperate situation at pass rusher, I might put Melvin Ingram on my list too as there is no guarantee that teams (other than Buffalo) picking prior to the Pack will be looking for OLB's in the 1st round.

Brian Carriveau's picture

These are players I think may be available at No. 28. I don't think there's any chance Upshaw and Ingram will be available then. And I don't think any other OLBs, like Vinny Curry for instance, are worthy of being selected that high.

chris's picture

Great Article! That's the stuff I enjoy reading.

Any position on Defense would be possible and lets not completely rule out middle linebacker as you never know what might happen w/ AJ Hawk. However, I think that OLB or DL is an absolute must in the first round. If they end up going OL in the first round, they better go Defense, Defense, Defense, Defense with the next 3-4 picks.

What I would like to know is what positions on both sides of the ball are considered talent deep or thin this year.

Idiot Fan's picture

I think I might wet myself if we somehow end up with Devon Still.

PackersRS's picture

Good compilation, I'd just mention that, except for Thompson and Worthy, all the other Dlinemen are much taller than what the Packers have looked for since Dom Capers took over as DC. That may be a coincidence, and if not, there's a chance they might re-evaluate their defensive concepts and go for taller, longer DLinemen.

But so far, that has not been the case.

And, according to his bio, Poe is 6'5". Not exactly short. http://www.gotigersgo.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/poe_dontari01.html

Idiot Fan's picture

Justin Harrell was 6'4", which is heading up in the direction of "tall." This probably goes without saying, but a healthy Justin Harrell entering his prime would look really good in green and gold right now. He had the size, and in college he was a beast. Too bad.

Cameron's picture

How about Bruce Irvin from WVU???? 4.43!

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