2014 Draft Digest Vol. 10

 

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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

  • C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama
  • Analysis: The Packers could address the defensive end, linebacker or safety position at No. 21. Of those positions, C.J. Mosley is the best player available despite Charlie Campbell’s report in the draft rumor mill that says Mosley is expected to go much later than most think. Green Bay just needs more speed in the middle of its defense to combat the scrambling quarterbacks it hasn’t been able to stop.

CBSSports.com (five mock drafts)

  • Jimmie Ward – SS – Northern Illinois (predicted by Will Brinson)
  • Analysis: For as dangerous as the Packers are, they’ve got plenty of needs. (Not that Ted Thompson drafts for need; there are plenty of high-end talents.) One of those is shoring up the back end of the secondary. Ward’s got the necessary skills to be a versatile piece in the Green Bay defensive backfield.
  • C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama (predicted by Pat Kirwan)
  • Analysis: A couple of good linebackers to choose from at this point in the draft. Mosley can line up at a number of spots in Dom Capers’ package and be effective. Last week it was Ryan Shazier at this spot and it might very well be him again before May.
  • Ryan Shazier (predicted by Pete Prisco)
  • Analysis: He would add some much-needed speed to the linebackers.
  • Jimmie Ward – SS – Northern Illinios (predicted by Dane Brugler)
  • Analysis: Green Bay has a need at free safety and although it would be somewhat uncharacteristic for Ted Thompson to go safety in the first round, Ward gives the Packers an instant upgrade in the secondary.
  • Louis Nix – DT – Notre Dame (predicted by Rob Rang)
  • Analysis: The aggressive and somewhat surprising addition of Julius Peppers certainly diversifies Green Bay’s pass rush but further reinforcements may be needed on the interior, where the team appears ready to move on from veterans Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett. Nix is built similarly to holdover B.J. Raji, who was brought back on a one-year deal but plays with a more consistent motor.

NFL.com (two mock drafts)

  • C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama (predicted by Mike Huguenin)
  • Analysis: The Packers could use a thumper at inside ‘backer in their 3-4. He’s the best ILB in this draft.
  • Austin Sefarian-Jenkins – TE – Washington (predicted by Daniel Jeremiah)
  • Analysis: Seferian-Jenkins needs more polish, but his combination of size, catch radius and high-point skills will make him an immediate impact player in the red zone.

DraftTek.com

  • Ryan Shazier – LB – Ohio State
  • Analysis: If the draft were to fall this way, I have little doubt Ted Thompson would be looking for a trading partner to drop back and still get the guy they want. If unsuccessful, they’ll just take the guy they want anyway: Shazier. The Packers coaches have not been quiet about their desire for more impact players on defense. Shazier, who had 144 tackles, seven sacks, and 23.5 TFL in 2013, is the perfect antidote to the Packers’ defensive playmaking woes. Whether he would play outside or inside in the Packers’ 3-4, having a guy like Shazier who could run down their recent nemesis, Colin Kaepernick, would be a huge boost to their playoff aspirations. 

FFToolbox.com (two mock drafts)

  • Jace Amaro – TE – Texas Tech (predicted by Matt De Lima)
  • Analysis: Green Bay re-signed Andrew Quarless, yet they still may need a full-time replacement for Jermichael Finley. Amaro can certainly fulfill that role due to his above-average athleticism and great receiving skills.
  • C.J. Mosley – LB – Alabama (consensus)

SBNation.com (two mock drafts)

  • Ryan Shazier – LB – Ohio State
  • Analysis: Shazier’s speed and athleticism give him the ability to cover tight ends and slot receivers, which is a critical factor for the Packers as they like to keep their inside linebackers on the field in sub packages. Though his size is frequently cited as a concern, Shazier bulked up from around 228 to 237 pounds in the offseason and showed no loss of athleticism or speed at the combine or his pro day. Shazier works best when kept clean of blockers, so the Packers’ defensive line will need to occupy their opposing linemen; if they can do so and keep them off of Shazier, his ability to find the ball carrier and close quickly would be a big boost for the Packers’ run defense. (excerpted)
  • Calvin Pryor – S – Louisville
  • Analysis: Safety and inside linebacker are the two biggest needs in Green Bay. Ted Thompson is traditionally a value drafter, so it’s going to be tough to ignore some of the Packers’ needs on defense. Thompson could pass Louisville safety Calvin Pryor off as a best player available pick, though. Pryor is an old-school player in that he is constantly trying to obliterate the ball carrier or receiver when he tackles. The Packers’ defense could use an element of intimidation. But he’s not just a hitter. Pryor has ball skills, too.

Sports Illustrated

  • Calvin Pryor – S – Louisville
  • Analysis: There are a lot of teams ahead of the Packers who could spoil this almost-perfect scenario for Green Bay, but Pryor would be a draft-night gift for a secondary that has lacked a consistent playmaker in the deep middle since Nick Collins‘ exited the lineup in early 2011 with a serious neck injury.
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