Sunday, April 07, 2013

Packers set to draft...

In the 2013 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers select...

We have no idea. And, really, neither does anyone else. Unless, perhaps, your name is Ted Thompson and you happen to be General Manager for the Packers.

Sure, there are plenty of mock drafts out there. Some agree, some don't. They do make entertaining reading. But are they meaningful? Only in the sense that they get our football juices flowing again. We begin to wonder what impact a particular player may have, especially if he's a first or second round pick. Heck, Randall Cobb came via the third round, didn't he? And as Packer fans know well, our own Mr. T does quite well at picking up gems in the later rounds.

You also have to enjoy those complete seven-round mock draft scenarios. Honestly, when you get past probably the first 60 or so picks, you might as well just throw all the prospects in a hat and start pulling names if you're doing a mock. Who one teams deems as a second-rounder might well be on some other team's fourth-round board. It depends upon need, "best athlete" available, etc. Every team has its own formula.

First round speculation
Having said all the above, who might the Packers pick in the first round?

The names which circulate most often among various mock draft boards you can find seem to revolve around the following:
  • Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  • Datone Jones, DE/DT, UCLA
  • Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  • Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  • Matt Elam, FS, Florida
Among the names which seem to be less-often mentioned, and may be even somewhat surprising as picks (although Ted has been known to be surprising from time to time, hasn't he?) are:
  • Damontre Moore, OLB, Texas A&M
  • Jonathon Hankins, DT, Ohio State
  • Barkevious Mingo, DE/OLB, LSU
  • Sam Montgomery, DE/OLB, LSU
  • Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
For those who value Mel Kiper Jr.'s picks, he has Eddie Lacy coming to the Pack. Here's what he says: "The Packers have lacked top-end reliability and explosiveness at running back, and that's what Lacy can give them. He ran behind a great line at Alabama, and he offers the best combination of power and open-field shiftiness in this draft. He's the guy in this class who can run with power but also break off some big runs. He also catches the ball well and can be a good safety valve for Aaron Rodgers."

Hard to argue with that. While running back has been a glaring need in terms of a constant #1 starter on this team for a loooooong time, it's hard to imagine Ted actually going this way with his first pick, especially if he thinks he can pick up a good back in the second round. It's interesting that in most if not all the mock drafts out there, seemingly no one has an offensive lineman coming to the Packers with that first pick, despite depth issues there. Granted, Ted probably isn't likely to pop a #1 pick there either.

My instincts suggest that Ted will go defense again. Right now, my sense (what there is of it) is that if Datone Jones is available when the #26 pick goes on the clock, that that's the selection the Packers will make. Would I like to see the Pack take Tyler Eifert to be the heir apparent to Jermichael Finley, who is likely one and done after this season? Yes. Would I really like the Packers to commit to a first-rate starting running back (such as Lacy or Ball) rather than running-back-by-committee? You best.

Bottom line? No one knows what Mr. Thompson will do come draft day. But in the meantime, let's enjoy the fun of speculating, of learning about some of the players who may come our way. Let's get those football juices flowing again. It won't be long until OTAs (actually, the first one is April 15), minicamps, training camp and the season get underway. When once again we can say with enthusiasm for the new players and new season: GO PACK GO!!!!