Green Bay Packers 7-Round Mock Draft: Post-Combine Edition
Green Bay Packers 7-Round Mock Draft After the Combine
To be a team that is perennially in contention to win a Super Bowl you need to have great players at many positions. The Green Bay Packers have the luxury of having one of the best quarterbacks in all of football in Aaron Rodgers. Some even go as far as to say he is the best in the game when he's healthy. To the Packers' dismay, Rodgers was injured for seven games last year, but they still won the division with a mediocre record of 8-7-1 and got to host a playoff game.
Also to the Packers' dismay, they lost that playoff game 23-20 to the San Francisco 49ers. It wasn't Rodgers who lost them that game. The Packers had the 8th worst defense in terms of yards per game allowed and points per game allowed and 9th worst defense in terms of passing yards per game allowed. Having those bad numbers on defense can more than balance out an offense that was 9th or better in virtually every single statistical category this year. Oh, and did I mention Aaron Rodgers missed seven games?
To their credit, they were also without All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews for five games last year, including that playoff loss to the 49ers. That's a big hole to fill in the middle of the field and an even larger hole for offenses when he's not in the game. To make matters worse for next season, the entire Packers starting defensive line from last year is slated to be in free agency. So, in this year's draft on May 8-10, I think the Packers need to start there and then work their way around the field.
Other spots that need attention on the Packers roster are cornerback, safety, wide receiver, tight end, among others. I'll take you round-by-round and say who the Packers should draft. Until further notice, maybe with trades, they have the 21st pick of each round.
Round 1: Aaron Donald
With the 21st pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select, Aaron Donald, defensive tackle, Pittsburgh. Donald is the Scouts Inc. 25th overall ranked draft prospect. The Packers current defensive tackles are B.J. Raji (free agent), Johnny Jolly (age 31), and Ryan Pickett (age 34). At the very least, they could get younger at the position.
Round 2: Odell Beckham Jr.
In the second round, the Packers should address their need at wide receiver. They have some good ones in Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Randall Cobb and James Jones. But Jones will be a free agent and will draw much attention from many teams. So Odell Beckham Jr. fits in nicely to fill the void, or at least bolster the already strong receiving corps. At LSU, Beckham Jr. made the First Team All-SEC as an all-purpose player and First Team All-American as an all-purpose player. He's only 5-foot-11 but broke the LSU record for all-purpose yards in a season. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash and was third among all wide receivers at the combine in the 20-yard shuttle (3.93 sec.).
Round 3: Will Clarke
The next man the Packers should take is Will Clarke, defensive end from West Virginia. He was named to the Second-Team All-Big 12 last season. He led the team with six sacks and 17 tackles for a loss. His 40-yard dash time at the combine was a 4.77. He put up 22 reps on the bench, had a 32-inch vertical leap and a 112-inch broad jump. He's athletic and can contain runners with his speed off the edge.
Round 4: Bashaud Breeland
Seeing as veteran Sam Shields might leave the team in free agency, the Packers will need someone to step in at cornerback. That guy can be Bashaud Breeland out of Clemson. He only ran a 4.62 40-yard dash but is said to be loose-hipped and very athletic. He had a 123-inch broad jump at the combine and was named to the Third-Team All-ACC last season. If Shields goes, there will be a major shortage at the cornerback position for the Packers, so drafting Breeland wouldn't be a bad idea.
Round 5: Jonathan Brown
Having more run-stoppers has never hurt any team. That forces your opponent to become more one-dimensional and risk more turnovers with having to pass more. Outside linebacker Jonathan Brown from Illinois can help the Packers become a better run-stopping team. He was a two-time Honorable Mention for the Fighting Illini in 2011 and 2013. He led his team last year in tackles (119), tackles for loss (15) and sacks (5). He also had 45.5 tackles for a loss in his career at Illinois, good for the third most in school history. I think that merits enough talent to be a fifth rounder, if not higher.
Round 6: Ahmad Dixon
To help with that secondary that set the NFL record for most passing yards given up in a season just two years ago, adding safety Ahmad Dixon from Baylor would be a good idea for the Packers. Dixon was named to the Second-Team All-Big 12 last year and has great closing speed on opposing players with the ball. He wasn't the best in terms of interceptions while in college but was a sure tackler, something the Packers need to cut down on yards after catch in the secondary. Any new faces that they can add back there should be welcome at this point, anyway.
Round 7: Jordan Najvar
Last but not least comes a little more offensive help for the Packers. Starting tight end Jermichael Finley was lost last season to what can be a career-ending injury. He hopes, and so does head coach Mike McCarthy, that he can play and stay with the team for a few more years. If he can't go, the Packers will have, like they had last year, Andrew Quarless, who only averaged two catches per game last year and reeled in only two touchdowns during the season. Many teams have transformed to more of a two-TE set anyway, so drafting one would help that transition. Jordan Najvar of Baylor was an Honorable Mention in the Big 12 the last three seasons. In the combine he excelled in the 3-cone drill (7.14 sec.) and the 60-yard shuttle (12.02 sec.). Those times show he has conditioned well in the offseason and should be ready to go come training camp.