2013 Draft Digest Vol. 9

The Packers picked Ahmad Carroll first in 2004.

The Packers picked Ahmad Carroll first in 2004.

Every Tuesday between now and the NFL Draft, we’ll take a look around the Internet at what some of the experts are saying about the Packers’ first round prospects. Here’s what they’re saying this week.

WalterFootball.com (two mock drafts)

  • DeAndre Hopkins – WR – Clemson
  • Analysis: Greg Jennings is gone, while James Jones will be a free agent next spring. The Packers don’t have to draft a receiver this year, but they’ll definitely consider one if a talented wideout is available at No. 26. DeAndre Hopkins, who has been compared to Roddy White, is one of the top players on the board.
  • Menelik Watson – OT – Florida State
  • Analysis: The Packers have to improve their offensive line. Watson could move inside to guard if Derek Sherrod and Bryan Bulaga lock down the tackle positions.Scouts have told WalterFootball.com that Watson is a really smart kid and good on the chalk board. Considering he is from the United Kingdom, he wowed teams at the Combine.Watson is a tremendous athlete who also has a lot of power to his game. He had an impressive 2012 season and was one the Seminoles’ best run-blockers. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder is a former basketball player. That can be seen in his excellent feet and agility. He was a JUCO star and is originally from Manchester, England. Watson could require a little more development, but he has huge upside.

CBSSports.com (six mock drafts)

  • Matt Elam – SS – Florda (predicted by Rob Rang)
  • Analysis: The Packers saved money by releasing Charles Woodson but could miss his leadership and playmaking ability. These are two of the traits scouts like most about Elam, a highly physical defender with a knack for making big plays in big games.
  • Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame (predicted by Dane Brugler)
  • Analysis: Tight end isn’t a primary need, but if a talent like Eifert is available, the Packers shouldn’t pass on him. Jermichael Finley is entering the final year of his contract and could even be a draft-day deal option with Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams on the Green Bay roster but better as complementary options.
  • Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame (predicted by Pat Kirwan)
  • Analysis: Some believe Jermichael Finley’s days in Green Bay are numbered. But how about teaming Eifert up with Finley for a package similar to the Patriots with Gronkowski and Hernandez?
  • Sylvester Williams – DT – North Carolina (predicted by Pete Prisco)
  • Analysis: They have to get better inside against the run.
  • Damontre Moore – OLB – Texas A&M (predicted by Clark Judge)
  • Analysis: Rewind the videotape of the Packers’ loss to San Francisco, and see why the Packers must find someone, anyone, for outside contain.
  • Jonathan Cyprien – SS – Florida International (predicted by Will Brinson)

NFL.com (two mock drafts)

  • John Cyprien (sic) – FS – Florida International (predicted by Daniel Jeremiah)
  • Analysis: Cyprien is one of my favorite players in the draft. He is physical, instinctive and productive. Most evaluators have him going in the second round, but he could sneak his way into the bottom of the first.
  • Justin Pugh – OT – Syracuse (predicted by Bucky Brooks)
  • Analysis: The Packers are looking to upgrade both lines, and the versatile Pugh can play both OT and OG.

FFToolbox.com (two mock drafts)

  • Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame (predicted by Matt De Lima)
  • Analysis: The Packers don’t usually spend high-value draft picks on offensive playmakers. Eifert is the clear-cut best option in this class and could contribute immediately as a receiver.
  • Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame (predicted by Ben Standig)
  • Analysis: Running back remains the Packers top need, again, but isn’t everyone down on taking one in the first? Next need is arguably offensive tackle and I could also see a pass rusher here, but with Jermichael Finley no lock to return next year, Packers could get great value taking the best TE in the draft.

DraftTek.com

  • Eddie Lacy – RB – Alabama

NationalFootballPost.com

  • Tyler Eifert – TE – Notre Dame (predicted by Russ Lande)
  • Analysis: Jermichael Finley has never become the premier offensive weapon that many expected early in his career, so they draft his eventual replacement. Eifert is a smoother athlete with better receiving skills and should give the Packers an impact receiving threat to complement their receivers.

BONUS: NationalFootballPost.com catch up drafts!

I somehow neglected to include the very reputable National Football Post in my mock draft posts. I will remedy that by posting all their previous predictions here. All predictions are by Russ Lande.

April 3, 2013

  • Eddie Lacy – RB – Alabama
  • Analysis: The Packers have a number of holes that need to be filled, but they have struggled to control games with their rushing attack once they get a good lead. Lacy is not a premier running back prospect, but he is a strong and physical runner who can wear down defenses with his running style.

March 27, 2013

  • Johnathan Cooper – OG – North Carolina
  • Analysis: After signing Jeff Saturday to fill in at center for the short term, the Packers grab Cooper here with the plan to play him at center. A top athlete with quick hands and good strength, Cooper has everything it takes to be a quality starting center in the NFL.

March 14, 2013

  • Menelik Watson – OT – Florida State
  • Analysis: With Aaron Rodgers constantly under pressure in 2012 the Packers offense struggled with consistency. Watson is a rare athlete with excellent natural strength and could well turn out to be the best tackle taken in this year’s draft.

March 1, 2013

  • Johnathan Cooper – OG – North Carolina
  • Analysis: Not only do the Packers have issues figuring their offensive tackle situation, but their interior offensive line needs work. Cooper is athletic enough to start at guard or center and should be able to challenge for a starting job as a rookie.

February 11, 2013

  • Alec Ogletree – ILB – Texas A&M
  • Analysis: After drafting Nick Perry in the first round last year, the Packers continue upgrading their defensive speed and play-making ability by selecting Ogletree. Although not as well known nationally as Manti Te’o or Kevin Minter, Ogletree is the most explosive and athletic inside linebacker available in the 2013 NFL Draft and would add a dimension to the Packers defense that they have been lacking from their inside linebackers.

 

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