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2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions

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  2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#1

Posted: April 02, 2016, 12:53 PM Post
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It's that time of year again! The theme of this year's draft is: two. The Packers needs are pretty well defined, and there are three positions where they will almost assuredly draft two players - DL, ILB, and OL.

Let's get to it:

1st Round: Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana – former TE displayed both his athleticism and power at the combine and Senior Bowl with good arm length and hand size to boot. Has outstanding lateral movement and quickness out of his stance, and is a good run blocker too – there’s a reason Indiana has had big seasons from RBs (Howard, Coleman) during his career. Bakhtiari is average, penalty prone, a free agent after next season, and frankly Rodgers deserves better than average if GB is going to have a shot at another Super Bowl during his tenure. Bulaga can’t be relied on to play 16 games and both guards are free agents after the season; there will be a spot for Spriggs somewhere. (Replaces Don Barclay)
If he’s still available: Darren Lee, ILB, Ohio State – need + speed makes it a great pick but his combine showing may have given him helium like Ryan Shazier two years ago. Lack of three-down LBs may also push the demand for him higher. I think it’s harder to find LTs than ILBs, but I’d be excited if he’s the pick, I'm just not sure he'll still be there. With three 4th round picks I wouldn't be surprised to see TT use his 3rd rounder to move up to get him.
Don’t be surprised if it’s: Vernon Butler, DT, Louisiana Tech – big and strong enough to play NT, tall enough to play DE, excellent athleticism and lateral movement, long arms and power. With Raji’s hiatus and moving Jones to OLB they need reinforcements along the DL.

2nd Round: Willie Henry, DL, Michigan – true junior who just turned 21, he’s still developing and has improved every year. Decent power, big hands, and upside. Behind Guion and Daniels they have nothing but question marks and will need to invest in multiple DL. (Backfills Datone Jones’ move to OLB)
If he’s still available: Le’Raven Clark, OT, Texas Tech – the typical dancing bear, has elite foot quickness, exceptionally long arms, and catcher’s mitts for hands. Started 51 games in his career, lots of experience in pass protection.
Don’t be surprised if it’s: Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State – long and athletic, the former QB/WR reminds a lot of people of Connor Barwin. Played stand-up rush OLB at USU and made over 80 tackles in each of his three seasons as a starter. Even with Matthews moving back to OLB, Peppers is 36, Perry is on a one-year deal, and Jones is on his last chance.

3rd round: Joshua Perry, ILB, Ohio State – thumper at ILB who finishes the job, only one broken tackle in the last two years. Showed at combine he’s more athletic than people give him credit for. Leadership and intangibles are off the chart. Might be only a 2-down ILB, but a very good one. (Replaces Nate Palmer)
If he’s still available: Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech – much more quick than straight line speed, I watched one of their games and he really stood out. Could get to the edge and around guys in a blink. Outstanding jump cut and lateral quickness. Excellent receiver, caught 88 passes in his career, and for a couple of days was the all-time NCAA career TD record holder.
Don’t be surprised if it’s: Tyler Higbee, TE, Western KY – athletic with great hands, can own the seam. Level of competition and knee injury this season makes it tough to evaluate him. Unlike many I don’t think a third TE is a need (even if you take away the Hail Mary, Rodgers was 6th among TEs in TD catches), but Cook is on a one-year deal so even if his hands don’t improve with Rodgers throwing to him Higbee has a year to develop. (see below)
Don't be surprised if it's: Su'a Cravens, S/LB, USC - very productive, but a bit of a "tweener" - is he a big safety or small LB? Marginal workout numbers, but as much as the league is becoming a pass-oriented league a guy who is big enough to tackle RBs but fast enough to cover TEs will be in demand. The Packers play a 4-2-5 as much as anything, and they really liked what Sean Richardson brought as a big safety to be that 5th DB.

4th round (own): Matt Ioannidis, DT, Temple – strong, can match power with anyone on the field and eat up double-teams. No bad weight on him, has room to add weight and be a solid NT, also has adequate height to play DE. Doesn’t offer much for pass rush, but you don’t need that from 3-4 DL. (Replaces BJ Raji)
If he’s still available: Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama – stuck behind Derrick Henry and others, he flashed as a KR and 3rd down back. Could be a sleeper due to the depth at Alabama, and can contribute on special teams.
Don’t be surprised if it’s: Connor McGovern, G/T, Missouri – great strength and good athleticism, played all over the line for Mizzou but short-ish arms will push him inside. With both guards free agents after next season they will need depth with starter potential.

4th round (comp #1): Joe Dahl, G/T, Washington State – played all along the line for WSU including LT the last two seasons but many expect him to move inside. Tough as nails, has been compared to TJ Lang. With both guards free agents next year they will need someone ready to step in. (Replaces Josh Walker)
If he’s still available: Scooby Wright III, ILB, Arizona – how far will he fall? Didn't run well, probably not a 3-down LB, but outstanding production and at this point worth the risk and hope that he's still recovering from his injuries. The last "III" LB the Packers drafted worked out pretty well...
Don’t be surprised if it’s: Javon Hargrave, DT, South Carolina State – dominated FCS and then showed at the combine why with a sub-5.00 40, 34.5” vertical, and 29 reps on the bench. Could be strong enough to play NT, might be a more athletic Mike Daniels.

4th round (comp #2): Joe Schobert, ILB, Wisconsin – doesn’t have the length to stay at OLB, but has the quickness and instincts to move inside. Doesn’t have the straight line speed that some have, but his 20 yard shuttle and 3-cone drill were almost as fast as Darren Lee (.01 faster on the 3-cone, .10 slower on 20-yard shuttle). Adequate coverage skills, can drop in coverage as well as attack the QB. (replaces Andy Mulumba)
If he’s still available: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State – how far will he fall? Tape has been terrible over the last two years with 51% adjusted accuracy (throws beyond line of scrimmage) but how much of that was the beating he took behind a terrible OL? GB needs a 3rd QB, and at this point if he’s there you roll the dice and hope he can develop without the pressure of having to play.
Don’t be surprised if it’s: Joe Haeg, OT, North Dakota State - small school OT who has risen up draft boards, decent athleticism, always a question about level of competition but has held his own. Definitely need to upgrade the depth.

5th round: Cody Kessler, QB, USC – they need a 3rd QB and Kessler, while he has average arm strength, has outstanding accuracy with a career 67% completion percentage. Shorter than desired, but only an inch or so shorter than Rodgers. Huge hands, so fumbling shouldn’t be a problem. (Replaces Scott Tolzein)
If he’s still available: Steven Weatherly, OLB, Vanderbilt – displayed excellent athleticism at the combine and has experience with his hand up and down against tough SEC competition. Can back up at the elephant OLB position and develop to take over for Peppers.
Don’t be surprised if it’s: D.J. Reader, NT, Clemson – with Raji on hiatus and Pennel suspended for the first four games they will need depth at NT. Struggled with loss of his father and briefly left the team, but showed ability to chase down plays at his big size.

6th round: Alex Hansen, OLB/DE, Air Force – relentless motor who posted a combined 126 tackles, 25.5 TFL, and 11 sacks from the DE position over the last two seasons. I watched one of their games and he really stood out, was all over the field. The team’s best defender, he did this while often getting double-teamed. Could develop as the elephant OLB and situational pass rusher. (competes with Elliott/Perry for spot)
If he’s still available: Curt Maggitt, OLB, Tennessee – senior season got cut short with injury, but had big junior season with 15 TFL and 11 sacks. TT has a knack for finding guys late who were under the radar because of injury their senior season, and lack of tape from this past season could push Maggitt down lower than he should be. Leadership and passion for the game are off the charts.
Don’t be surprised if it’s: Nate Sudfeld, QB, Indiana – put up some great numbers at Indiana with a less than stellar supporting cast; like Sunshine he sometimes struggles with accuracy and decision-making but overall has a career 3:1 TD to INT ratio and 60% completion percentage. Prototypical size.

7th round: another DL - Destiny Vaeao, Washington St., played behind Xavier Cooper the last two years but shined when given a starting role with 12 TFL and 4.5 sacks last year. Showed decent numbers and good strength at pro day. Beau Blackshear, Baylor, missed time with injury this past season but had solid junior campaign with 9.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks. Dean Lowry, Northwestern, is another prototypical 3-4 DE who posted 13.5 TFLs this past season, and could easily be drafted well before this spot.


UDFA’s:
Kayembe Matungulu, DT, Western Carolina
Derek Watt, FB, Wisconsin
Michael Caputo, S, Wisconsin
Trevon Stewart, S, Houston
Dwayne Washington, RB, Washington
Kenneth Farrow, RB, Houston
Nick Richter, OT, Richmond
Tanner McEvoy, WR/TE, Wisconsin
Trevor Williams, CB, Penn State
Peter Mortell, P, Minnesota
Joe Sommers, TE/LB, Wisconsin-Oshkosh


Last edited by LouisEly on April 16, 2016, 3:40 PM, edited 2 times in total.

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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#2

Posted: April 06, 2016, 3:45 PM Post
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I've been looking forward to see this post. [smile]

I like the Spriggs pick in the first round. I'd guess that we resign Bakhtiari but move him inside to LG or RG after next year.

Tyler Higbee in the 3rd is also very interesting. He was a sleeper/development TE that could show up big in a couple years.

I'm a homer, so Joe Schobert looks great too. Smart football player. Plus, an interesting way to fill the ILB need by looking for an OLB that doesn't quite fit the NFL role.

Is Caputo really a target for an UDFA? I'm surprised he would fall that far (but I haven't watched). Seems like he should be higher. Certainly a leader, smart player and decent athlete.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#3

Posted: April 09, 2016, 11:34 AM Post
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Tyler Higbee writeup from JSOnline:

TYLER HIGBEE
Western Kentucky, 6-6, 249, N/A

Lowdown: Much like at Stanford, there has been a run of tight ends at Western Kentucky. Higbee, another converted wide receiver, follows in the footsteps of Jack Doyle (Colts) and Mitchell Henry (Packers). Still rehabbing from knee surgery in early December, Higbee did not run the 40-yard dash at the combine or at his pro day. On tape, Higbee runs very smoothly and fluidly, especially in the open field. Spoke confidently and intelligently about the intricacies of blocking schemes at the combine. Large, solid hands that dropped only one pass in 2015. Finished with 38 catches for 563 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing five games. "I think I am a physical tight end who can stretch the seam," Higbee said at the combine. "And if the ball is up in the air I am going to go up and get it."

Projection: Third or fourth round


I really like this guy. The injury will drop him down a bit where the Packers can get him. But just sounds like a guy that develop into a real weapon. Interesting that Henry came from WV too.

Jerell Adams is also kind of intriguing, but TT rarely takes a chance on athlete/non-football types:

JERELL ADAMS

South Carolina, 6-5, 247, 4.64

Lowdown: Adams might be the most physically gifted tight end in the class, though he never seemed to put it all together at South Carolina. He has terrific size for the position, very long arms and ran a blistering, wide-receiver-esque 40-yard dash that was best among tight ends at the combine. Still, Adams never had more than 28 catches in a season in college and turned in just two games with 50 or more receiving yards. Athleticism does not match physical traits. Appears stiff on tape. Surprisingly strong blocker. "A lot of coaches said they didn't think I was as tough as I was that I could hold a block as long as I could," Adams said of his experience at the Senior Bowl. "I felt like I had a great week down there."

Projection: Fourth round


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#4

Posted: April 09, 2016, 10:07 PM Post
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Caputo needs to be an in-the-box safety due to his marginal athleticism, but he is on the small side for an in-the-box safety. I've seen several guys who profile very similarly to him over the last few years and few if any have been drafted. His pro day numbers were very average; he ran a 4.62 40; for reference, Schobert - who is 40 lbs heavier - ran low 4.7's and had a faster 20-yard shuttle at the combine and at the same pro day Joe Sommers (who is 6'2 3/4", 240+) ran 4.64. Most things I see have him 50/50 at being drafted.

Of the two safeties, the one who is likely to be drafted is Brian Randolph. I didn't look up their pro day results before posting, but he just blew it up with both runs sub-4.50 (4.47 and 4.42) and put up a ridiculous 32 reps on the bench. Pretty much a four year starter, but didn't make a ton of plays on passes.

Ted Thompson personally attended UW's pro day, so I would not be surprised to see at least one Badger player in GB's camp, either drafted or signed as a FA.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#5

Posted: April 11, 2016, 9:40 PM Post
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I wasn't watching the numbers closely, I'm surprised. He looks much faster on the field. Too bad, I thought highly of the guy as he seems to just make plays


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#6

Posted: April 12, 2016, 9:08 AM Post
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Oof... talk about your bad timing for getting some really negative press. We can scratch off Tyler Higbee from the TT draft selections. He was just arrested over the weekend on several criminal counts, including second-degree assault, alcohol intoxication, and second-degree fleeing or evading police

Lots of contradicting testimony in the case, but even in the "best case" his stock is going to drop quite a bit. And I doubt TT is going to use a draft pick on him at all. Perhaps as an UDFA, but I'd guess someone else takes a flyer on him sooner than that.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#7

Posted: April 12, 2016, 8:40 PM Post
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The Packers signed Colt Lyerla as a UDFA a few years back, and gave second chances to Johnny Jolly and Letroy Guion. They've brought in a few risks, but I think that's because they feel they have the leadership on the team to keep those guys in check.

But yeah, dude just cost himself literally a million dollars.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#8

Posted: April 13, 2016, 11:12 AM Post
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Yeah, I thought of Colt Lyerla, but couldn't remember his name. An UDFA with a very short leash which ended after training camp. Jolly and Guion were both on the team when they had their flubs, so bringing them back was a bit less risky (the known entity).


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#9

Posted: April 14, 2016, 9:56 AM Post
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LouisEly:

Thanks for the great original post. It is one of the highlights of the Spring leading up to the Draft.

Very unfortunate to see the Higbee situation, regardless of how it affects his NFL status. To potentially have a life changed in a matter of minutes is tragic. No matter what precipitated the incident, injuring a person that badly will likely have lingering effects for Higbee, even if there isn't a criminal conviction.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#10

Posted: April 16, 2016, 4:01 PM Post
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I don't want to seem like a homer with all of the UW UDFAs, but they are guys who fit the Packers needs, they are projected to be late round picks at best, and TT personally attended UW's pro day. It's geographically convenient, but I think TT would rather fly somewhere to watch players he's interested in than drive down to Madison to watch players he isn't interested in.

With Kuhn unsigned, Watt makes a lot of sense given his ability as a receiver. The Packers don't need to draft a safety, but with only four safeties on the roster they will need a couple of guys in camp in case of injury, so Caputo makes sense. The lack of an athletic TE to stretch the seam, along with Higbee's arrest and legal trouble, will make McEvoy an interesting option; he's not an in-line blocking TE but if he can bulk up to 245 without losing much speed he could be that seam-stretching Y-TE. And Joe Sommers ran a 4.64 at UW's pro day with a 36" vertical, so while a little on the short side (6'2 3/4", 241) he might be able to provide some athleticism as well as special teams skills as a 3rd TE, maybe switch to OLB, or even be a 2-way player a la Ryan Taylor.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#11

Posted: April 17, 2016, 1:47 PM Post
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I think the pick has to be OT, LB, or DB. I do like the idea of Spriggs, knowing that they are loosing players on their line in the offseason. The 2 other players i am focusing on is Jarran Reed and Reggie Ragland.

In round 2 i am looking at Jihad Ward or Deion James.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#12

Posted: April 18, 2016, 9:42 AM Post
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I'm still hesitant that ILB is right for 1st round pick. Perhaps Ragland is a playmaker and if so, great to have him. But all things being equal, I prefer to see a OLB, DL or OT come out of our first round pick.

Personally, I think OT is a bigger need than most pundits are claiming for the Packers. Bak is ok at LT, but nothing special. I could easily see Bak or Bulaga moving inside next year to guard of Lang or Sitton leave. And the Pack's history is that they won't resign both and maybe not either player (second big FA contract for both). And its no lock-cinch that Bak returns either.

I would not be surprised to see a OT first round and a G fourth round draft this year.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#13

Posted: April 23, 2016, 8:52 AM Post
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Given the depth of D-Linemen in this draft, I'll be shocked if they don't go there in Round 1. I understand the Spriggs prediction, but I also don't see them letting Bakhtiari go anywhere, and I don't see them moving him off LT, unless they had some kind of surefire replacement. I don't see Spriggs as that guy. I think they end up with one of Jarran Reed, A'Shawn Robinson, Chris Jones, or Vernon Butler. I wouldn't mind them taking a shot on Nkemdiche if he's still there, as I think he's an interesting guy, but there's very little chance that TT would pull the trigger on him in round 1. I do think Ragland is an option at 27, but I think there's only about a 20% chance he's still there.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#14

Posted: April 23, 2016, 9:23 AM Post
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This is walter footballs ideal packer picks

27. Andrew Billings, NT
57. Jihad Ward, DT
88. Jaylon Smith, LB
125. Jordan Howard, RB
131. Anthony Zettel, DE/DT
137. Avery Young, OT


Very interesting that they have smith falling until round 3, the packers would be stupid to pass that up. no OT until the end of round 4. I don't mind Billings at 27, my preference, if he is around is Ragland.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#15

Posted: April 28, 2016, 7:03 AM Post
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I find that McGinn nails the packer 1st round pick at a decent rate, and has the packers taking Kenny Clark (i haven't seen any other mock where he is took in the 1st)

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/ ... 78741.html

if this draft goes as it is, i would take Billings

Secondly i would see if Denver would want to move up to 27 to take lynch, and see if the packers can't solve Offensive and Defensive line issues in the 1st 2 rounds.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#16

Posted: April 28, 2016, 7:27 AM Post
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Location: Green Bay, WI
patrickgpe said:
I find that McGinn nails the packer 1st round pick at a decent rate, and has the packers taking Kenny Clark (i haven't seen any other mock where he is took in the 1st)

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/ ... 78741.html

if this draft goes as it is, i would take Billings

Secondly i would see if Denver would want to move up to 27 to take lynch, and see if the packers can't solve Offensive and Defensive line issues in the 1st 2 rounds.


FWIW, my coworker lives next to Alonzo Highsmith who told him a week ago that "no way" do they take Billings in the first because he's too slow. They want to get faster and more explosive in the front 7, and "don't be surprised if we draft a WR early." But he also said that nobody knows what TT will do, not even him when he talks to him every day.


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  Re: 2016 Green Bay Packers draft preview and predictions
#17

Posted: April 28, 2016, 9:01 AM Post
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Assuming they stay at 27, here's to hoping Green Bay takes the best interior defender from Alabama available (Robinson, Reed at DT, or Ragland at ILB).

Watched Mayock's mock draft on NFLN last night, since he also does a decent job of reading TT. His pick was Ragland to Green Bay.


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