5 Potential First-Round Scenarios for the Green Bay Packers in 2014 NFL Draft
5 Potential First-Round Draft Selections for Packers
Despite the fact that the Green Bay Packers won their third consecutive division title in 2013, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The Packers must use a mixture of building through the draft and signing quality free agents in order to find their Super Bowl swagger. There’s no question the team has what it takes to go the distance, however, that will only happen once the organization strengthens some weak links. Those weak links can be mainly found on defense as Green Bay ranked 24th in the NFL in opponent passing yards (247.3 per game) and 25th in opposing rushing yards (125.0 per contest) last season.
Packers general manager Ted Thompson selected six consecutive defensive players to kick off the 2012 NFL Draft. The reason was of course because Green Bay’s defense clearly held the team back. Only one (Mike Daniels) of those six players has shown any sign of becoming something special, while two other players were injured in 2013. That being said, defensive end Jerel Worthy and cornerback Casey Hayward should be ready to rock it next season.
I’m not saying that Thompson should draft six straight defensive players this time around, but there is a definite need on the defensive side of the ball. Both safety positions graded out as the worst in the league, which means there has to be an immediate change.
Make sure to click through the slideshow to see five potential first-round scenarios for the Packers in the 2014 NFL Draft. Also, don’t forget to comment below on who you would like to see Green Bay select with the 21st overall pick.
5. Eric Ebron Tight End
I know I preached about defensive being important, but the tight end position is also an area of need. I would be surprised if Green Bay re-signed free agent Jermichal Finley. On top of that, even though Andrew Quarless showed a lot of potential when given enough playing time, the Packers still need to find some quality depth.
So many teams utilize the tight end in a great way, while Green Bay is stuck using the position as more of a safety net. The main reason for that is because Finley never morphed into the player he should have been. North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron could change all of that. He’s a game changer who would make Green Bay’s high-powered offense incredibly lethal.
The truth is Aaron Rodgers can never have too many weapons. With that being said, the Packers could still get a decent tight end in a later round.
4. Louis Nix III Defensive Tackle
The Packers really struggled against the run last year. Heck, they had issues all over the place on defense. The idea is to improve the pass and run defense at the same time, which is really the only way to do it if Green Bay wants to reach the Super Bowl.
Enter defensive tackle Louis Nix III. The 6’3”, 357-pound defensive lineman is considered the top nose tackle in the draft. With B.J. Raji most likely departing via free agency, Green Bay must stack the position immediately. Free agency is one way to go but it would be expensive. A first-round draft pick is more likely, especially since it worked out for them last time around.
Nix’s large size and athleticism makes him ideal when it comes to clogging the middle. He’s also capable of getting after the quarterback when given the chance. However, his prime focus in Green Bay would be to take up space, something he does very well.
3. Ra’Shede Hageman Defensive Tackle
Ra’Shede Hageman is strong enough to play defensive end as well as defensive tackle in the NFL. The good news for Green Bay is that they need quality at both positions as soon as possible. Hageman is an athletic workhorse who would instantly become the strongest player on the defensive line for the Packers.
Green Bay has been searching for someone, anyone to help Clay Matthews put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The fact is the secondary can only do so much. Without quarterback pressure, the defensive backs will get eaten alive. Hageman is someone who has proven ability to record sacks. He may not do it right out of the gate, but look for this guy to go beast mode in the latter half of year one and all of year two.
2. Calvin Pryor Safety
By far, the biggest need for the Packers on defense is at the safety position. And if you don’t know that, you weren’t watching the same games I was in 2013. M.D. Jennings and Morgan Burnett put forth horrific performances. There will definitely be an open competition, but I have to imagine Burnett isn’t going anywhere. Either way, Green Bay really should select a safety in the first round.
Calvin Pryor is a physical enforcer who is capable of making big plays all over the gridiron. It doesn’t matter where he lines up on the field because he will consistently make his presence known, something the safeties for the Packers struggled mightily with in 2013. More importantly, Pryor is dominant in pass coverage, which is where Green Bay will need a safety to step up his game.
1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Safety
I understand that there’s a good chance Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will be gone long before the Packers are on the clock. However, stranger things have certainly happened. Whether Clinton-Dix falls to Green Bay at No. 21 or the Packers move up to select him, the organization must find a way to get him.
He’s NFL ready and has the ability to be an impact player for Green Bay in his first season, which is very encouraging. He’s a big-time hitter, can defend the pass at an exceptional level and knows what it takes to make big plays on the ball. Even better, Clinton-Dix understands what’s necessary in order to win championships.
The Packers selected one Alabama player in the first two rounds last season and it worked out pretty well. There’s no reason to believe it can’t again.
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