2014 NFL Draft: Green Bay Packers’ Seven-Round Mock 1.0
Mocking All Seven Rounds for the Packers
If it wasn’t for the collarbone injury to Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers might have had a much better record in 2013. Instead, the loss of their franchise quarterback for much of the second half of the season cost them significant games, and led to their eventual defeat in the Wild Card round.
Heading into 2014, the Packers need to make sure they fill the holes in their roster while upgrading the depth chart, as injuries and subpar backups also plagued their 2013 campaign.
As we head towards the 2014 NFL Draft, the Packers’ biggest area of concern must be the defensive line. With six players (three defensive ends, three defensive tackles headed for free agency on March 11, Green Bay can’t afford to ignore the position. Even if they address it during free agency or re-sign a couple of their pending free agents, the draft shouldn’t be ignored.
There are other positions they must address as well, though. As of March 11, they will lose their top two tight ends. Offensive line depth was also an issue last season, and the draft is a terrific opportunity to fix that problem. Even a backup quarterback isn’t out of the question with so much uncertainty at the position heading into the 2014 season.
Either way, the Packers must get better this offseason. After finishing 8-7-1 and narrowing coming away with the NFC North crown, there’s plenty to build on, but GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy can’t stand pat and simply hope everything falls into place.
Here’s a look at how the Packers could use their seven current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.
Round 1: Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame
With six defensive linemen slated to hit free agency in a couple of weeks, the Packers are going to need to make some serious upgrades this offseason. If Nix is still on the board at No. 21, there’s no reason why Green Bay wouldn’t run up to the podium to put in their selection. When he’s healthy and going full speed, Nix is one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in football. There’s too much potential in the Notre Dame product for the Packers to ignore – and he fills a gaping hole.
Round 2: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
Barring some unforeseen move, the Packers will desperately need a tight end when the 2014 NFL Draft rolls around. Seeing as they passed on nabbing one in the first round, they take the next best option in Seferian-Jenkins. The former Husky is big-bodied and athletic, with the well-rounded game that the Packers would love to have at tight end. Not only can ASJ be an impact receiver, but he also has the blocking chops to help open holes for second-year runner Eddie Lacy.
Round 3: Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA
They currently have A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones at inside linebacker, but that doesn’t mean either of them will be around for long. There’s some promise in Jamari Lattimore as a future starter, but the Packers need some more long-term potential at linebacker. That’s where Zumwalt fits in. A late riser with a nasty playing style and plenty of athleticism, Zumwalt has the tenacity to make plays all over the field and the ferocious tackling to keep opponents in check.
Round 4: James Gayle, DE, Virginia Tech
Seeing as they’re losing so many defensive linemen this offseason, the Packers again go to the well and grab one of the most underrated defensive ends of the 2014 class. Gayle is a perfect fit for the Green Bay defense, possessing enough size and burst to handle himself as a 3-4 end. While he isn’t the most physically gifted player out there, he makes up for it with determined play and outstanding explosiveness around the edge. The Packers need a bigger pass rush, and Gayle is a clear upgrade.
Round 5: Michael Schofield, OT, Michigan
Largely overlooked while playing on the other side of Taylor Lewan, Schofield is quietly putting together an outstanding pre-draft showing. He dominated the Senior Bowl, and looked good during his Combine performance. While he should be limited to the right side once he lands in the NFL, the Michigan alum has the potential to develop into a starter. He dominates at the point of attack and has the strength to root out defenders against the run. The Packers would love the depth that he could instantly provide.
Round 6: Dontae Johnson, FS, NC State
While Johnson might not be the answer the Packers are looking for at free safety, he can certainly be a versatile backup in Green Bay. During the 2013 season, he played both cornerback and safety for the Wolfpack, showing good zone coverage abilities. There are some physical limitations for Johnson, but his high-effort play and value as a special teamer should be enough to warrant a late-round pick from a safety-needy team like the Packers.
Round 7: Bryn Renner, QB, North Carolina
The Packers are still dealing with the issue of not having a reliable backup quarterback behind Aaron Rodgers. The mid-season signing of Matt Flynn worked out better than expected, but he might not return this offseason and is still a shot in the dark when he hits the field. By drafting a player like Renner, the Packers get a quality arm with solid athleticism. Renner had a down year in 2013, but was one of the most promising college passers prior to his injury and possesses plenty of potential as a No. 2 quarterback.