By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on March 13, 2014
With three days of the 2014 NFL free agency in the books, countless big-named players have already signed deals. Even though there are still several talented players who are available to be signed, most of the excitement has already passed. The Green Bay Packers have been rather quiet in free agency, which is why Ted Thompson could be gearing up to make a big splash in the NFL Draft. Check out Green Bay’s post free-agency mock draft edition.
The Packers have yet to sign a safety in free agency. In fact, Green Bay went in the opposite direction as M.D. Jennings signed with the Chicago Bears. All signs point to Thompson drafting a big-time safety in the first round, and I bet it will be Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton Dix. There’s a good chance Clinton-Dix will be off the board at No. 21, which means Thompson will have to trade up. It worked well in 2009 when Clay Matthews was selected.
Yes, I’m aware the Packers signed Mike Neal to a two-year deal. However, if it’s one thing Green Bay has learned it’s that they need more pass rushers. Mike McCarthy wants defensive players who can fill multiple roles. More importantly, the Packers want a clone of Matthews. Trent Murphy has an endless motor like Matthews, while he also consistently gets after the quarterback. His presence on the roster should create plenty of competition in camp.
Green Bay signed Andrew Quarless to a two-year deal with the hope that he can replace Jermichael Finley. I have all the confidence in the world in Quarless blossoming into an offensive threat. However, the Packers still need to get some quality depth behind him. Troy Niklas is an outstanding blocking tight end who has unlimited potential in the pass-catch game. His high ceiling is exactly what Green Bay needs out of a tight end in the draft.
It might seem crazy to select an offensive lineman in the fourth round, but Thompson always uses at least one pick on the o-line. Since Green Bay’s o-line doesn’t need an immediate boost, they have the luxury to select a player who will be a work in progress. Seantrel Henderson is a mammoth of a man (6’7”, 331 pounds) who has shown signs of being a dominant tackle. He does have some issues off the field, but his upside is off the charts.
I would be shocked if the Packers didn’t upgrade the defensive line in free agency. Regardless, Green Bay must select at least one defensive lineman in the draft. Caraun Reid has shown the ability to apply interior pressure on the quarterback while also being very effective in stopping the run. Basically, he’s everything the Packers need in a lineman. He’s quick, strong and has experience outdueling double teams. He’s a steal in the fifth round.
The Packers need to start thinking about upgrading the inside linebackers. Jeremiah George, who led the Big 12 in tackles (112) last season, has the potential to be the upgrade Green Bay needs a couple of years down the road. He’s consistently gone above and beyond in his career and he’s a player who finds a way to get the job done. He would fit perfectly in Green Bay’s 3-4 defense as someone who will plug the middle.
Green Bay must use the seventh round as an opportunity to grab another pass rusher. Outside linebacker Prince Shembo doesn’t scream elite pass rusher, but he did have 17 quarterback hurries in 2013. On top of that, he’s very strong with decent acceleration. Like Matthews, he will give a full effort every single time he steps on the gridiron, which is something the Packers need on defense.
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