2014 Draft Digest Vol. 6

Some see Eric Ebron bringing his prodigious wingspan to Green Bay.

Some see Eric Ebron bringing his prodigious wingspan to Green Bay.

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

  • Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota
  • Analysis: The Packers spent last year’s first-round pick on a defensive lineman, but that doesn’t mean that Ted Thompson won’t double dip there. B.J. Raji happens to be a free agent, and his price tag is simply too high for Green Bay. Ra’Shede Hageman is one of the top players available and happens to fit what the Packers want to do up front in terms of getting quicker.

CBSSports.com (three mock drafts)

  • Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina (predicted by Pete Prisco)
  • Analysis: With Jermichael Finely a free agent coming off injury, they have to get a threat in the middle of the field.
  • Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame (predicted by Dane Brugler)
  • Analysis: Green Bay loses a lot of their beef up front on the defensive side of the ball to free agency this year, but Nix could give the Packers a replacement for BJ Raji if the nose tackle chooses big money over returning to Green Bay.
  • Ryan Shazier – OLB – Ohio State (predicted by Rob Rang)
  • Analysis: For the second consecutive season the Packers were knocked out of the playoffs by Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers and therefore improvements to the back end of this defense remains a top priority. Shazier, who possesses this draft’s most compelling combination of instincts and explosiveness, would make an immediate impact on this defense.

NFL.com (two mock drafts)

  • Calvin Pryor – S – Louisville (predicted by Bucky Brooks)
  • Analysis: The Packers’ safeties were awful against the run and pass a season ago. Pryor addresses an obvious need, while giving the Packers a presence in the middle of the field that’s been missing since Nick Collins roamed between the hashes.
  • Ra’Shede Hageman – DT – Minnesota (predicted by Matt Smith)
  • Analysis: They tried with their first-round pick last year in Datone Jones, it didn’t work out … yet. They’ll try again with a super freak of an athlete this time around.

DraftTek.com

  • Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
  • Analysis: With Louis Nix snapped up by the Fish, and this spot being too early to reach for Ra’shede Hageman, the Packers must play Sophie’s Choice and decide whether to snub Calvin Pryor or Eric Ebron. In the end, the value Ebron presents at pick #21 is the deciding factor. With Jermichael Finley‘s return unlikely, the Packers need to replace his offensive prowess and ability to open up the field for their wide receivers. Ebron, posessor of 4.6 speed, certainly fits the bill. I worry about his handling of the ball, as he had some issues with drops and fumbles, but in the end, it’s a risk worth taking.

Ourlads.com

  • Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina
  • Analysis: The Packers will also consider the top safeties if any are available. Eric Ebron fills a major need as a receiver and a TE.He lines up wide or in the slot and can beat coverage with strength, athleticism, and quickness. He is equally as skilled catching a screen, crosser, or vertical route.

SBNation.com

  • Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame
  • Analysis: Free agency could take a toll on Green Bay’s defensive line, most notably at nose tackle. Luckily, the top nose tackle in the draft is available this late in the first round. Louis Nix suffered through some injuries in 2013, but if he can return to his 2012 form after losing some weight, the Packers could have a steal at 21.

FFToolbox.com (two mock drafts)

  • Eric Ebron – TE – North Carolina (predicted by Matt De Lima)
  • Analysis: Ebron is the most dynamic and athletic TE prospect in this class. Replacing TE Jermichael Finley improves Green Bay’s already excellent offense
  • Calvin Pryor – S – Louisville (consensus)

Sports Illustrated

  • C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
  • Analysis: The Packers could use help at several defensive positions, but Mosley would provide an excellent — and consistent — presence right in the middle of things. Inside linebackers aren’t generally sexy on tape, but it’s hard to watch Mosley and not get caught up in his command of so many little things. From crashing down into the right gap, to correctly covering the slant and short seam route, Mosley is a true 360-degree player who will improve any defense in need of a play-to-play leader.

FoxSports.com

  • Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame

KFFL.com

  • C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
  • Analysis: Green Bay’s front seven is going through some changes and could use athletic, heady youth injected into the center of it. Mosley would give offenses someone other than Clay Matthews to worry about.
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