No matter what position the Green Bay Packers select in the first round (26th overall pick) of the 2013 NFL Draft, it must be on the defensive side of the ball. To narrow it down, Packers general manger Ted Thompson must draft a defensive lineman.
The only reason for Green Bay not to select a defensive player in the first round is if a talented playmaker is available when it is their turn to pick. Even if Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy falls to the Packers, I still believe Thompson must consider all defensive options before making the selection.
I personally believe that Green Bay’s top priority should be a defensive lineman who can help stop the run while also being a factor in the pass rushing game. Several players come to mind when thinking whom the Packers should select. Defensive end Datone Jones, defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams are all worthy of wearing the green and gold. Which player will have the bigger impact, and more importantly, which player will be available once the 26th selection rolls around?
All three defensive linemen have the chance to be available to the Packers on Thursday night. In fact, I would be very surprised if all four men were taken off the board before Green Bay had their chance to make a selection.
Jones is capable of stopping the run and chasing down an opposing quarterback. He is an ideal defensive lineman to play in a 3-4 defense, especially since that is what he ran at UCLA. He recorded 57 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season. Jones is the perfect all-around player to help Green Bay strengthen two major weaknesses.
Lotulelei may not be an immediate impact player, and his inconsistency on the field could cause some major problems. However, there is no question his strength and acceleration off the snap will be utilized to its fullest potential. Lotulelei recorded five sacks, 11 tackles for loss, four passes defended, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. His numbers prove that he is a very versatile lineman that fits the Packers perfectly.
Williams could very well be long gone by the time Green Bay’s number is called. However, if he is still on the board he is someone the Packers must truly consider. He is another very dangerous lineman who is capable of great accomplishments at the professional level. He is quick off the line and is guaranteed to bring down any playmaker within his grasp. His 42 tackles, six sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss say everything there is to know about the versatile player. His only glaring weakness is that his work ethic may not match the talent. However, this is something that gets taken care of real quick in Green Bay, the land of the champions.
It does not matter which one of these three players the Packers select. All three would add quite a bit to a struggling line that needs all the help they can get. If one of these lineman is chosen by Green Bay, the first round can be considered a success.